I have come to visit my daughter Amy, who is an English teacher in a small Japanese town, made famous for its black bean harvest and wild boar hunting. Amy began last August, and has just renewed her contract for another year. When her Granny Edwina John heard this, she decided that she needed to visit her granddaughter. So at 88yrs old, she instructed Jenny and me to accompany her on a Japanese adventure.
The trip to Osaka (with a stop in Dubai) took us 24 hours. Amy met us at the airport, and got us back to her home, via a bus shuttle into the city, an hour’s train trip north-west into the country, and a car ride from the station to her home. Needless to say, we were exhausted, and slept for the next 12 hours. Which takes me to the shopping excursion.
There I was patrolling the shelves while Jenny, Amy and Granny did the real shopping. (You understand that men browse for interesting, and often ‘off the list’ things, while women buy the necessary stuff that keeps us alive).The problem was that I did not know what I was looking at. The shelves were full – but incomprehensible. The labels were in Japanese. Then, just as I was getting desperate, I saw a label I recognised: Nestlé . It was with relief that I confidently approached the shelf in search of coffee.... only to find that while the brand was recognisable, the rest of the writing on the bottle was Japanese! So I have come back to Amy’s home clutching a bottle of インスタントコーヒー.
And I am happy.