I am very grateful that so much essential travel information is in English, and find it hard to imagine the response would be very positive in England if the case was made for us to translate our signs, announcements and tickets into another language for the ease of foreigners. In Europe I find even my basic Italian often gives me some assistance since it is so close to the Latin roots, but to be somewhere with very little common ground, offers a very new experience. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult Martin’s first trip here mush have been, and I have a new respect for my Victorian character Minerva Powtalotte, a Japanologist loosely based on Isabella Bird who travelled all over the world, including to Japan in 1878, just after the borders were reopened in 1868.
I am sat on a train whizzing to Higashine, so have a while to reflect on the journey to Japan from England. For me it was remarkably easy, in no small part to Martin who helped everything run smoothly. You may (or may not) know that several years ago I fell off a horse, smashing my right elbow and it has never fully recovered. This causes me constant pain and makes normal traveling difficult, since the shoulder and arm can’t take much weight. However, not one to pack light (How else can I ensure I have an outfit for all occasions?!), Japan was causing me somewhat of a problem. Feeling a little foolish, I admitted my worries to Martin, which he of course found hilarious, before insisting that I pack however much I like, even using space in his own suitcase if I wanted. Reassuring me that it would provide him with a good opportunity to exercise, he said that as long as I could carry my side bag (which in reality he often carried too), then he would deal with my suitcase.
The flights themselves were thankfully unremarkable, and the stopover in Beijing a pleasant break. Whilst there I took the opportunity to try my hand at calligraphy. It took roughly 25 hours from leaving home to arriving, but what a great opportunity!
An adventure loving historian with a soft spot for armour and motorbikes.