I was out in the big wide, Japanese world today. I got up early, and crowbarred my goods into my big black case, leaving two pairs of £10 shoes in the hotel room bin. Yet somehow my wash bag still didn’t fit, so that dangled from my backpack, like a snail with an outhouse.

Armed with my Japanese train app, I felt fairly sure of which trains I needed. Good thing I knew, as they are seldom shown on the boards in English. Thankfully, I was right. Tokyo was busy today, but I still strolled through the station with confidence, and my 3 bags.

I was getting a train to Kobuchizawa, a small country station. What would it be like, would there be taxis, or would I be sitting at the station, the wind whistling, as if I’ve arrived in a Cook Town, Australia?? … where there are no taxis.

But, all was good. I thrust my piece of paper, with Japanese address, at the taxi driver, and he nodded with a nod that gave me confidence. I hopped in, onto the net curtain covered seats. The driver also wore net curtains offcuts on his hands.

I was deposited at the Neo Resort, where Suntory’s trial display would be. I spotted the mass of petunias straight away, so knew I was safe!!

This part is censored, as I don’t want to give trade secrets away, but “I saw lots of nice flowers”, some were sunflowers…! 😉

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It didn’t take me long to look around the trial, as I couldn’t speak to anyone. I went back into the resort, and a guy that used to live in Ramsgate helped me order my onward taxi. As I was ahead of time, I assembled a European picnic in the reception (salami, no less!), and drained their wifi downloading the One Direction video and some Made in Chelsea episodes.

Mr Ramsgate gave the onward taxi the address. He seemed confident. Yet, at the end of the drive he spent ten minutes googling. We arrived after a few red herrings. I was now at the Sakata trial, where Mr Miura greeted me. The whole greenhouse stopped to look at this western guy who had just turned up with 3 huge black bags.

I had a tour of the trials. No detail. But…

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But, what was this?? I could sense westerner. And, by Jove, it was someone I knew! So, me and a “well-known begonia expert from England” had a chat. He was only out for a few days, he would be catching his own jetlag doing that!!

I finished at the trial, and a taxi appeared, the taxi driver again wearing net curtain gloves. I was taken to my hotel in chino, where I had a little rest in bed, with my wifi goodies. I later asked where to find some food in the town, and was given a map in Japanese. I had a wander, and was too terrified, so I bought some snacks, and cold sake, from the station cafe.

Also of note, Chino town has loud speakers playing classical music through the day and night. Also,my room is travelodge size.

The sake sent me to sleep, as I watched One Direction discovering Tokyo on their recent tour.

I’m sat in reception now, having just had breakfast. As I was led down to the basement, I had no idea what was going on. It wasn’t the usual buffet. After a few moments, a tray appeared, with all sorts of unusual goodies on!

I tipped my raw egg over my rice, but was too busy taking a photo, so it spilled all over the tray! I tackled a pearl barley like dish, which was super stringy like mozzarella cheese, so made a mess across my tray, and beard. I slurped my miso. Oh no, that’s alright, actually! My tray was left in a right mess, either way.

I’m now writing this blog, surrounded by dried flower displays, wearing slippers (that’s okay here). The waitress from breakfast has just come up to reception laughing, possibly at my raw egg covered tray. I must go and check my beard.

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