I go to Hiroshima on Monday afternoon and come back on Tuesday afternoon.
This is a boarding confirmation. If you can see the small print you will see, “Please be at the gate 10 mins before departure.” I am still amazed how the Japanese can board a hundred or so people onto a plane in 10 minutes, but they do. One thing is that they are very responsible about carry-on bags. No one tries to bring on big bags – they check them in the knowledge that they will pick them up on the carrousel very soon after arrival. Then there is the greater happiness is more important than the individual happiness syndrome that is so prevalent in Japan. Anyway I love and respect the way Japanese get on planes.
I have to rush back to Okinawa and having done my thing I set off on a great voyage to Fukuoka airport. Hiroshima University drive me to Higashi Hiroshima station where I get on a Shinkasen to Hiroshima main station. As I wait for my train to arrive, Shinkasen are ripping through the station at amazing speed. It is very exciting.
I take my train to Hiroshima and then catch another Shinkasen to Hakata, which is the main station that serves Fukuoka Airport. This is not the time for paranoia. I do not know where I am, I only have a name as to where I am going, I have no geographical idea of where it is. If I make any mistake the whole trip is blown and I have major complications.
Anyway I make it to Hakata and emerge into an, er, bustling Japanese transport hub. There are about a million people, all blessed with an understanding of where they are going. I do not. I have to get a subway to the airport and let me tell you friends this was not easy, there is no English signage and no one that I stoppeth in Ancient Mariner style spoke English. But hey I am in Japan and I should speak Japanese. The little I have, was sufficient to guide me to the right platform. I made it to the airport and flew back to Okinawa.
I actually like the fact that banal travel assumes the mantle of Burton and Speke.