Travelling the world as we have done for the past 5 months or so is an amazing experience which give you a taster to what life is like across the green and blue ball that we call home.
There is another way of seeing what the world is like beyond the borders of the place you call home. Something that changes the taster to a full on degustation menu. Change the place you call home permanently.
Before our parents have a heart attack thinking we are dropping a bombshell on them via the media of a blog, we are not talking about us (at least not yet). Instead I am talking about an old friend that we got to visit for a few days.
Tom is someone I have known on and off since our very first day at primary school. In other words a long time ago. Life, as John Lennon once said, is what happens to you when you are planing other things. I think Tom’s journey from a Shaw Gawby to part time Japanese farmer is as good an example of that I have ever seen.
In the 12 years since he moved to these shores he has built a life. He has his own business, a wife, an quite unbelievably photogenic family (seriously they make the kids from the Gap adverts look like Pug from The Bash Street Kids), and as hinted at, some land that he tends in his spare time.
In a fascinating but unfamiliar country, after months of hotels and hostels, we spent a wonderful and relaxed few days in the Southern Japanese countryside being made to feel incredibly welcome by Tom, his wife Izumi, and the two boys Ken(to) and Hari(to). It has been wonderful to meet and spend time with someone normally so far away that we utilise the medium of FaceBook and blogs (Tom’s is here http://kitchengardenjapan.wordpress.com/) to feel like we are still friends. A wonderful modern invention that ultimately pales next to actual time with people.
The three days with Tom, Izumi and the boys feels effortless and yet we seem to cram a huge amount into them. Quiet 5 storey pagoda’s without tourists, bonkers restaurants with talking pens and food delivered by model bullet trains, a CosPlay convention, a haircut and eating BBQ bamboo roots we harvested ourselves.
It was a wonderful few days that sadly came to an end as we were chauffeured to the station to catch a bullet train (though we still had time to hear Tom’s sultry tones as a jingle artist on the local radio).