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Dr John Hawkins

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First day in Japan

Posted on 2005/05/03 02:09:28 (May 2005).

[Monday 2nd May]
So, we arrived at Kansai airport, on an artificial island made of rubbish off the coast from Osaka, just before 9. We went straight out and got on the now familiar Haruka line to Shin-Osaka, from where we then got the Shinkansen to Hiroshima. My stomach had been feeling really unsettled whilst on the plane, and this had become particularly bad just after landing. To begin with I'd put it down to not eating and sleeping properly, and just general stress. After leaving the airport I started to feel a bit better, and on the Shinkansen on the way to Hiroshima I was more or less OK... but then towards the end of the journey it started to get worse again, and I began to think I had something more like food poisoning. Our flight had been delayed because of a "problem" with the catering, and I began to wonder exactly what that problem was. They'd said it had something to do with the salmon, which I hadn't eaten of course, but I had the definite suspicion that the "problem" wasn't just limited to that.
When we got to Hiroshima, we met Chie's mum at the station, who had a few errands to carry out, so we had to kill some time wandering around the city centre. I realised more than on previous trips just how much I stood out in a crowd of Japanese people, and became quite sensitive that I was being stared at a lot. By this point I was starting to feel really ill, and, not to go into too much detail, became rather familiar with the toilet in a Hiroshima department store. This seemed to be the pinnacle of all the stress I'd been suffering in the run up to coming to Japan, what with the mammoth undertaking of finishing off my thesis, packing up and moving out, and everything else. That stretch of time spent in Fukuya's toilet is a strong contender for the most miserable half an hour or so I have spent in recent history. We went straight back to Chie's family's flat after that, arrived some time around 3pm, and I basically went straight to bed. To hell with all that nonsense about trying to beat jetlag, I'd just had enough.

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