We left Japan on 6th June 2007. From the Park Hyatt, Tokyo, to Narita airport by limousine bus. How a bus has anything to do with a limousine, I don't know, but that's not for here.
I was very sad that morning, and being tired always exaggerates emotion. Leaving is never a delicious experience and saying cheerio to Alan and Junya the previous evening made this one of the longest good-byes in history. Painful and not at all nice.
As the bus pulled away from the hotel, I began thinking about all the things we'd seen and done in our short stay. And the things we hadn't done: the fish market, an oxygen bar and a visit to an onsen. Also, I was sad to have to leave Marie (my birthday gift from Dan and Masumi) behind at the hotel. There would be no chance of me being able to take her on the aeroplane. But I had a plan so that she might live. I removed the cord from her neck and let her float up to the ceiling. Surely, the cleaners wouldn't look up. And the next inhabitants of room #4909 might adopt her.
More sad than leaving Marie, I was upset to the point of tearful at leaving Alan and Junya. Even now, after this short time, they feel lost in the mists, not only of time, but of the Orient, like another realm, another planet, another reality. Distance is a horrible thing. Email, blogging and telephone calls don't make up for physical contact; a brush of ones hair, a hug, a kiss. Or first hand vision of a beautiful smile. They are lost. For now. But I do feel, honestly, someday I'll find them.
Leaving Japan was much easier than entering. Were it not for the lack of cheering, I might have imagined they were glad to see the back of us. On the passenger side, it was time to seek out a toilet, café/restaurant and shop - in that order.
Having tiddled, we sat and watched the Airbus A380 manoeuvre around the apron and then took our traditional yet untypical Japanese breakfast of coffee and cakes, this time, courtesy of Starbucks. An area was set aside for the consumption of purchased goods, shared with other establishments. I noticed a couple of menus. Not exactly engrish, but delightful nonetheless, one asked me if vegetables were enough, another offered the dreaded curry doughnut which haunted me during 2006.
Breakfast over, we headed, with haste, to a shop selling electronics and watches. Yes! I was after a new watch. Impressed with Alan's, I'd decided to bag a Japanese Fossil for myself, though had not seen any up until then. Thankfully, all that changed in the shop and I purchased a fabulous timepiece for myself. Every time I look at it, I'm reminded of my time in Japan, not only this year, but in 2006 and 2004.
On our way to the gate, we passed a couple of daft American women, asking a Japanese man for directions to their aeroplane and seemingly unaware of where they actually were, asked, "Do you know where we're at?"
I can be quite rude at times, hen, and, rather loudly, I tutted and commented on her poor grasp of grammar.
Where we're at? At?
Lord, preserve us.
Our journey home was far from fabulous. Lufthansa aeroplanes are scruffy and old. Their cabin crew are at best, rude. At worst, a bunch of humourless cunts. The food is dreadful and the entertainment a disgrace. We were cold, hungry and ignored.
Frankfurt airport is equally vile. Dirty, scruffy, old and in dire need of a lick of paint and some smiles on the faces of the workers there. I was keen to get away on our flight to London.
Luckily, our flight from London to Edinburgh was provided by British Airways. How fabulous to travel with an airline with morals, who believe in new aeroplanes, cleanliness and the occasional smile! And food, to boot! Good food. And copious amounts of booze!
So before long, we were back in Edinburgh, back in our wee house. Japan, thousands of miles away.