Go Nihon-go

Apparently suffering a midlife crisis, husband has organised an 11-week trip to Japan in Spring 2017. Not just for him, oh no. He will be accompanied by me and our two children, aged 9 and 6. This blog will share with you our adventures and discoveries… And my bafflement.

Most of my own personal fear was put on hold as I battled the chaos of Christmas, but now we’re into the New Year and have nothing better to do other than prepare for the trip, the fear has returned…

Fear? Why? God, there are so many people now who travel regularly. When I was a student there were hundreds of gap-year folk who travelled the world with nothing but a backpack and (totally misplaced) faith in their indestructibility.

I didn’t travel. Didn’t have the money. Didn’t have the motivation. Didn’t have the courage, to be honest. And then I thought that all those travelling folk, on their return, were pretty insufferable in their smug recounting of the wonders they had seen. One bloke, sitting next to me in a bar in Covent Garden, even said he thought travellers were superior to people like me, as they were more open-minded, more tolerant, more knowledgable… I hit him over the head with my wine bottle.

I didn’t, of course. But I did turn my back on him. I genuinely thought he was representative of all travellers. Which isn’t true of course. I have another friend who has travelled the world literally alone and unaided, armed only with her ability to speak six languages fluently. I was, and still am, in awe of her. Even now, as a single mum, she takes her daughter all over the world, the two of them inspirational women explorers of this beautiful, crazy, unpredictable world.

Anyway, where was I? The fear. Yes. So I am currently a little trepidatious about the trip, only because I have never travelled outside Europe. Am I wrong to feel that Japan, a country almost the other side of the world (it isn’t quite. I checked that on the children’s globe), one with its own very different culture, traditions, food, fashion and formalities, will take some getting used to? Am I being narrow-minded? Because I tell you what, that is my greatest fear – narrow-mindedness.

So. As I run through my to-do list (get decongestants, contact friends of friends in Tokyo, research home-tutoring materials for the children, practise Japanese, clean the house for the house sitters), my resolution is to go with open arms, an open mind and nothing but enthusiasm for everything I see and learn.