Thursday, September 28, 2006

Back! Back!! Back!!! Etc.

I've been back in the UK for a little over thirty six hours.

What are thirty six hours? That sentence makes no sense to me, just a bunch of numbers.

Twenty four hours does not a day make. We chased the sun for all of that time, seeing no night, only the sun. The extended day, the changing of the hands on the face of my watch going back, then further back and trying to work out what time my body thought it was punched a hole right through my head, made my stomach churn, turned my legs to jelly and my feet to water-filled balloons.

I am glad to be back, really I am. I just wish I could have missed out the entire return journey. In honour of that journey, a journey which seemed to turn everything on its head, I will begin to recount my all-Nippon-holiday from the end. Backwards is sometimes good. It certainly feels good today.

We woke up just before six am, though it could have been half past five, I'm not sure, on the final day of our three week trip to the land of the rising sun. I hate early mornings, but managed to get up out of bed without too much fuss. Having been to a Sento the night before, we didn't bother with a shower (dirty pigs, I know), just got dressed, took the cases downstairs had an English breakfast (a cup of tea and a fag), said goodbye to Alan and Junya before hitting the road.

Making our way to the airport via local trains and the Narita Express was not fun. The Japanese race has a world-wide reputation for politeness. It's all quite true. They are very polite. But not all of the time. Their politeness and selfishness thresholds may be higher than other people from the West, but once they cross that line, it's everyone for him or herself.

There are markers on all platforms in Japanese railways stations. Passengers know where the train is going to stop and form an orderly queue where the doors are going to open.

Until the doors open.

Depending on how busy the station and/or train is, passengers will either leisurely make their way onto the train or pretend they are in a rubgy game; heave people out of their way, push in line, stamp on toes, elbow people in the ribs or simply shove other passengers onto the train. Japanese people, in the main, do not apologise or excuse themselves if they drop their case on your foot or whack you in the face with their bag. There are many, many words for sorry and excuse me. Just think about the nature of the Japanese people, their culture; their adoration of formality, good manners and etiquette. Yet they are loathed to use such terms. They could come across as arrogant. The only counter measure is to remember that these people are differnt. They look differnt to me, they act differently to me. Their alternative behaviour does not necessarily make them rude. At least that's what I kept telling myself.

Perhaps one should look at the Japanese landscape and see how overcrowded the very few flat areas of the country are to understand why the Japanese people behave in the way which they do. Personal space is limited and so excites other forms or behaviour, quite different to practically every other country in the world.

The flight to Copenhagen was horrendous. Cattle and other farm animals have more right to space in transit than human beings do. At least there was in flight entertainment. What a shame, though, that it was all shit. I had two brief naps of about ten minutes each. I spent the vast majority of the rest of my time staring into empty space. No wonder I'm going md.

A four hour wait in Copenhagen airport was not long enough to utilise by taking a trip into the city and too long for the airport alone to entertain us. As last time, we spent about twenty minutes simply travelling along the travelator. It's a great alternative to tapping your fingers on a desk, biting your nails or twiddling your thumbs.

On arriving in Edinburgh, with our sight of the sun finally lost, after almost twenty four hours without sleep, we were home.

I felt like death.

My eyes felt like they'd been stung by gnats and were painful to keep open.

Typically, the taxi driver taking us from Edinburgh airport to our home was chatty. Call me a bitch if you must, but I let Ian do all the talking. Well, it's not that I let him. I was actually physically unable to do anything else.

A quick shower... We were in bed by 22:00 and asleep a few minutes later. I slept like a baby, waking at a reasonable 08:00 the next day. After a small breakfast of Weetabix, coffee and orange juice, I had a wash, got dressed and we made our way to Muiravonside to get the puppies!

My sleep pattern isn't back to normal yet. I was in bed and asleep by 22:30 last night, which is early for Minge, but wide awake at 05:00. Perhaps I'll have a better night tonight.

It's good to be back.

Things I miss about Japan:
Things I don't miss about Japan:
It all seems so long ago now, dear reader.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great to have you back! I got your postcard last Friday.

Curry donuts?!?

Minge said...

Yes, curry doughnuts. And I thought it was going to be custard, so saved it for the end of my breakfast (usually consisting of four cakes/pastries). I could have cried.

I've taken a photograph of my new muffin top and will post it soon.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back.
And thank you for my postcard :)

Long flights suck.

alan said...

Wilkommen, eh, back!

Minge said...

Danke und Danke!

Long flights utterly suck.

Minge said...

Everybody's gotta learn sometime.

RIC said...

... And I thought 7 hours across the Atlantic were something like medieval torture... I feel for both of you.

Blogging for scraps... said...

good to see you back!

Brian said...

Oh, yeah, just the thought of curry doughnuts is going to make me upchuck for days to come. Bleagh!

We missed you.

Anonymous said...

WELCOME BACK!!!! I'm glad you and Phyllis had a fun time and made it back safe and sound! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh....and in regards to my NY post, what does "bumming" mean..? :)

Andrea said...

So glad to see you back!! Thanks again for the postcard. :))

Lex Ham Rand said...

Welcome back!! Sounds like you and Phyllis had an amazing time.

Looking forward to more posts about it!

PJS said...

Welcome back! I was so excited to get home last night and find your postcard waiting for me... ALL the way from Japan!

Moncrief Speaks said...

WELCOME BACK!!

Thanks for the three postcards!!

dan said...

Glad you're home safe and sound guys :D Sounds like utter torture on the journey home, but not much you can do except let it become a memory.

Hope your bodyclock catches up soon!

Anonymous said...

Hey! So glad to see you putting up some news posts. Thanks for the postcard BTW. I'm looking forward to hearing (and seeing?) more on your trip.

stickola said...

Thank-you for the postcard and glad you're both home in one piece. Been missing this blog like mad...even more so since Alan's has been taken off-line due to his emails and blog being screened whilst he's in Dubai (think he got his wrists slapped), he's home next week then off to Dublin so normal service should commence soon! xxx

gab said...

oh dear the old jet lag and curry soniuts i can jsut imagine......

Moncrief Speaks said...

Was wondering about Alan here. Glad he's all right.

gab said...

i meant donuts but i cant type

Enda P said...

He's back, baack, BAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!

PS: I'm coming to Edinburgh next Friday. If you have recovered from your amazing journey, we could meet for a drinkette, perhaps/

Juggerpix said...

Welcome back! Glad your safe and sound.

Curry doughnuts... ewwwww.

Juggerpix said...

Welcome back! Glad your safe and sound.

Curry doughnuts... ewwwww.

Juggerpix said...

Welcome back! Glad your safe and sound.

Curry doughnuts... ewwwww.

Minge said...

I'm glad to be back, too!

A curry doughnut is the devil's food.

Bumming is anal sex.

Poor Alan. I hope he never has to visit an Arab country again. They're a bunch of cunts.

Tom Gaylord said...

welcome back minge:) I cam back to blogland too, irresistable it was - and I was wondering what happened to Alan's blog, I'm glad he wasn't arrested and flogged!

stickola said...

Arn't they just...he cant even send an email containing any sort of rude words at all...utter pants!

Moncrief Speaks said...

I imagine Alan will give us the mother of all rants once he returns to civilisation.

Minge said...

And the sooner that this happens, the better.

Enda P said...

I'll be hitting bonny Scotland next Friday (6th)! How thrilling....

Minge said...

Can we get together? I really wanna be with you.

eguinan said...

Do you believe that we can change the future?
Do you believe I can make you feel better ?

Minge said...

I hope you feel the same way, too...

Sadly, 6th Ocotober is the day I go down to Bournemouth...

:(

Gggrrr!