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.
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.)
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…