Japan Trip 2023 – Day Eighteen

May 21th

Another tea and mixed nuts breakfast.

Suitcase is now packed.

Possibly still room for a bottle or two of sake.

Time to begin making my way to the airport.

Now sitting on the outside observation deck at Terminal 3, Haneda airport, a small child is laughing so uncontrollably it is difficult to see how it has not infected the whole space, but no one is joining in.

Exit from the ryokan was seamless, they ordered a taxi for me, which took only minutes to arrive. The taxi driver, forty years younger than me could barely lift the luggage. It is heavy, but not that heavy.

Arrived at the bus terminal just as the bus was leaving, so an hour’s wait till the next one.

A lot of people here are very serious about photographing planes taking off and landing.

Been at the airport since around eleven, it is now five thirty, plane leaves at nine.

Found a place that sold vegan burgers. It was bland and overly salty.

Laughing child has connected with another of the same age and they are running amuck. Only sign of life here.

Tanwyn rang earlier, which helped fill in the time, thank you.

Zoe is texting me very bad jokes, thank you, I think.

Thought there would be a gift shop where I could purchase some sake to bring home. There is not.

Shops inside the terminal

Is five-thirty five.

All around these people photographing rigid cylinders of human construction that fly largely by brute force, are small birds manoeuvring and flying with speed, dexterity and intuition, that is light years away from anything human pilots or engineers can even begin to approach.

Have progressed to the gate, awaiting boarding.

Immigration barriers were relatively smooth and painless; no one felt the need to grope me this year.

The journey to the gate was full of too many people and too many up market shops.

Stopped for a beer at a café, 900 yen for an Asahi in a cardboard cup.

Tanwyn has taken over from Zoe in texting me mum jokes, these all based around various philosophers, not all accurately.


Watching sunrise from the plane, very beautiful.

One hour from landing.

Managed to sleep some, so flight has not been so arduous.

Again, no record of my vegan meal request. There was a plant based option of perhaps the worst pasta I have ever eaten, but the mushrooms were nice. The attendant who served me said they were themselves vegan and would ensure I had something to eat for breakfast. This turned out to be some fruit and a bowl of muesli with oat milk. Not my normal preference, but the gesture was appreciated. Muesli was very sugary.

About to descend into Brisbane.

Kai Cho

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