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04 Apr 2009: Five Years On

A picture


Aki's parents picked us up at the airport and it was fairly long drive back to Tokyo.

As we hurtled down the Higashikanto expressway, I was taken with the surroundings, familiar, seemingly unchanged as if I had not been away. Kanji and kana signs, Japanese advertising, love hotels shooting past like strange lighthouses.

We disembarked at Kiyosumi-shirakawa, where our hotel resided. I was still lost in the sights and sounds. This was not my country but, bizarrely, I could not avoid feeling it was a home away from home, a place that had held me in its cradle for several years.

The hotel room was tiny as we were quite tough with our budget (a consequence of interest rates being pushed down to near oblivion is that the sterling FX rates are in the toilet as well). Once we'd moved our three suitcases, four bags, rented car seat and pushchair into the room, we weren't sure how any people were going to fit into the room. And shockingly, the washlet on the toilet did not have a heated seat!

We went for a walk with Kai to survey the neighbourhood. Kiyosumi-shirakawa is nothing special, it's proximity to central Tokyo and Aki's family was the reason we chose to stay there. There were a good few shops nearby though and, of course, several were 24 hour places. If we needed emergency food rations at 3am, we were sorted.

The view from our room on the 10th floor was surprisingly good and reminded me of a certain flat in Nakano-sakaue.