Sakura: cherry blossom in Japan

Twelve days in to my time in Japan and everything feels familiar.  Tokyo bustles on amid skies painted pink with sakura – the cherry blossom that signifies the start of spring – and memories of my time here over the winter and spring of 2011/2012 are full and vivid. It seems like forever ago that I was trying to persuade the airline folk on the Emirates desk at Gatwick that, ‘Surely free sports equipment carriage should include something other than just golf clubs and golf shoes?’ ( Incidentally they didn’t buy it that my oars could be used for golf…) And that choked hug from Mum telling me to come home safely before we turned and walked through Security feels like an age ago and a world away.  The balmy weather  has certainly made the transition an easy one, and the wonderful hospitality of friends has made me feel truly hugged.

It's all go to fit in somewhere!

It’s all got to fit in somewhere!


My time has been a mixture of business and pleasure – it was lovely to spend some proper time resting to recharge and decompress from the madness of my final weeks and months at home and the emotional energy of all the cheerios.  Last week I visited three of Tokyo’s international schools and enjoyed the barrage of eager questions, especially tickled by the enthusiastic response to my answer to the ‘How do you wash your hair ?’ question from a hall full of  girls. They loved the idea that my ‘Adventure Soap’ can be used to wash my hair, my clothes, the foodstuff and just about anything that needs a spruce.  And I always love the reaction to the toilet question. (For those who don’t already know – it’s a bucket.)

Shibuya Scramble, Tokyo

Shibuya Scramble, Tokyo

And she of the socks?

Meanwhile, the ocean gets closer, albeit in teeny steps, day by day. Happy Socks arrived safely last week and has since been waiting patiently in her container in Tokyo port. The paper trail to Choshi (and our reunion) involves rather a lot of faff through Customs protocol. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a delivery on Thursday afternoon, whereupon shore support Tony and I shall get to work with getting her ready to row. Then it’s a case of getting my game face on and waiting for the window to open with a clear patch in the weather.

Watch this space…


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19 Responses to Konichiwa

  1. Gigi Walentiny says:

    Watching and waiting along with you…

    ~Gigi in Va. Beach

  2. Janice Small says:

    Wonderful, exciting,energy, butterflies, nervous, anxious, Wish I was with you.

  3. Shelagh says:

    Watching and waiting from Canada too (along with the beach pebble that I didn’t get to you in time!).

  4. Guy says:

    Great stuff! I’m glad to hear you’re trying it again – best wishes! My son, who is now a year older, and I will be looking forward to seeing you paddle into Vancouver!

  5. tom Bickel says:

    Do you have a Japan Rail Pass? How’d you like to spend a couple of days in Shizuoka prefecture?

  6. margaret says:

    I met you at the Bute kayak event. Go for it girl!

  7. Team Tony says:

    Dora! Feeling very excited for you. Arigato for your updates , keep enjoying Japan. Everything in Bris is tightly crossed for you? X

  8. TERRY BRADLY says:

    ” HOORAH !!!! Knew you,d would be back , with you all the way , waiting to be on the ocean with you again

  9. christina watts says:

    Lovely to hear of your meeting with that Cherry Blossom again ~ it looks very inviting ~ as you must know we are in a very cold windy snowy Spring here in the UK !!!
    Enjoy the rest of your departure preparations and keep talking to us.

  10. JUSTINE says:

    Me and the Adventure Duck are SOOOO excited for you! Wadda wadda whoop whoops all the way – and see you on the other side in Canada!!

  11. Heather and Cameron says:

    hi Sarah. Glad to hear all is well in Japan and Happy socks has arrived safely.Hope the window in the weather comes soon and you get a good start on the next stage of your journey. We are with you in thought. As we write this we are sat in a cafe in France, sunny but cold!!
    xx Heather and Cameron

  12. Pam Stocker says:

    Thanks for news. Amazing how something and somewhere that was so foreign at first becomes so familiar and so much like home on the second visit. Trusting the Ocean will be kind to you this time and prove itself an ally.Thought you might like to know I got my accreditation. And also I found a very drowned and fireless little dragon by the canal in the snow. So I’m writing him a story. His old best trick was lighting birthday cake candles – but he is lost and has no idea how to get his fire back. He sits by the logs by the fire, or gazes at boxes of matches. I have a storng suspicion at a dragon’s fire comes back from inside not outside . And I guess an Outey-Toot knows something of that story. Love to you and all yours, including Happy Socks (is ‘she’ a he or a she? I didn’t like to make assumptions in this age of gender equality!)


  13. Susie Hewson says:

    WOW Sarah I have missed a huge chunk of stuff between Rutland and Japan! Great to see you on top form and smiling – happy to be back on the front line. Good luck to you with getting all that stuff in the boat…. and leave enough space for chocolate. xxxxxx Susie

  14. Tony F says:

    Fingers crossed that the admin will be worse than the row!

  15. Ray Girard says:

    WORRY ….is what wears you down and saps your energy. Concern and thought are always good, but put worry in it’s place. Bet on your skill, your strength and your adaptability. Your good mind will rescue you when your body can’t. Just live. Everything else will just fall into place.

  16. Chris Maylor says:

    Glad to hear your back in Japan and getting ready for the off, once again.

    Good luck and best of British!


  17. Robert Bert and Sujuan Yao . says:

    We will be watching again from Melbourne , Australia , the worlds most liveable city , you are always welcome to drop in for a cuppa should the current bring you this way ha ha , goodluck and God bless you on this 2 nd attempt .

  18. Linda, Cambridge says:

    I see you and Happy Socks have now been reunited – happy day indeed! Now here’s hoping for good weather………

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