Kay, it's 8.30pm where I am even though where my body clock is, it's midday. I'll just debrief you on what I did so you'll all know I'm still alive and kicking in the Land of the Rising Sun. So, off to Heathrow at 3pm. My flight only took off at 7.35pm but given the 2 hour check in time and the possibility of traffic jams, Lou and I thought it wise to be too early rather than too late. There were no 'real,' snail-crawling pace traffic jams and I arrived Heathrow in record time; 45 minutes. settled to wait for Lou and read Case for Christ. People around me were forming an ant-like trail with brightly and not-so-brightly coloured luggages and I wondered whether God saw us and thought we looked like ants in both our microscopic form (to God) and our human instinct; not really knowing where we were headed to but going with the flow anyway. A Japanese girl in a black and white striped dress with black leggings kept on walking by me. Reminded me of the 'lady in red' featured in the first Matrix. Lou arrived and we went for a bagel high-tea (possibly the last of our Western delights for some time besides the Ritz crackers I took onboard) and I had a Heavenly Bacon Bagel. I am hopeful that Heaven will taste better than it did.
In the plane I got the middle seat between Lou who had a window seat and a Japanese lady. Never had the middle seat before and 12 hours later I know why. With a window seat, you can lean into the window to sleep. With an aisle seat, you can lean into the aisle (kind of) to sleep. In the middle, you are truly stuck. I nearly took to sleeping on the floor but there just wasn't enough room. My legs weren't long enough to give me support to sleep comfortably so my body kept sliding down into the seat when I drifted off, hurting my back in the process. But I was too tall (too tall??!!??) to curl into a ball. I didn't get a very good night's rest but I did manage to sneak in a few winks here and there with Rod Stewart singing into my soul. Watched Failure to Launch and part of Ice Age 2. Failure to Launch starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughy(?) was typical relationship hoo ha stuff. Ice Age 2, despite it being a kiddie's cartoon had more depth to it, even though the only romantic tension was strung between two woolly mammoths, and is definitely better than Ice Age 1.
My first glimpse of Japan was at 2.57pm Japan time and I quote Lou, "It's very green." A few seconds later the plane landed. Immigration proved no hassle and at 4.30pm we were waiting for the train to take us to Ichikawa where we are now spending the night. From the train, one could be fooled into thinking that Japan was Malaysia. The trees look the same except for the odd conniferous peeping from over the top of the canopy and jungle vines cover both to make it look like a giant mound of green. However, Malaysia is rainforest and Japan is not. It feels good to be able to see familiar sights in Japan as I would in Malaysia. Zinc roofs, a Jusco supermarket and house structure and design are all typically Asian. Add wet padi (rice) fields by both sides of the track and roads teeming with familiar Asian brand cars such as Toyota, Hyundai and Honda and less Vauxhall, Peugeot and VW and you've got a very non-London setting but pretty much a Malaysian one. I did see a brown Sussex spaniel though :)
I haven't gotten into any serious miscommunications and managed to ask a guy (in Japanese) if he could take a picture for us. Tomorrow is another day and then another week and then another and then another but for now we're loving it and hope to continue being blessed and to bless others living in this country. One other thing that struck me, although this could be purely coincidental, was that on the plane there was an article and pictures about Mongolia and in our bedroom in the OMF Guest Home, there's a picture of a Mongol riding a horse in one of the country's anuual celebratory races. Perhaps that will be the next foreign country I will go off to but for now, I am in Japan and Japan is where I will labour.