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Time to go East Again Blog 7: Fuiji and Tokyo – Hi’s and Highs

July 21, 2016

Well now I am finally feeling better after being told I am not dying of some dastardly disease, I can continue writing my blog.

 

7th to 10th of July Japan

After all that teaching, Emiko let me have a day of rest.  I did try and do some of my blog.  But on the 8th of July we set out for yet another trip.  There is no way I am going home from here without seeing Japan, if it is up to Emiko my our guide.  This time we headed for Mount Fuji and Tokyo.

“The draw of this mountain is felt worldwide” and yes I am reading from the brochure, but it does kind of feel like that too.  A real volcanic mountain that might do it again at any point.  Scary hey?

I have been to Vesuvius in Italy and was aghast by its size and obvious strength of destruction.  Mount Fuji held a similar fascination.  That is in fact if we get to see it.

The weather has clo20160708_190522.jpgsed in, and wait for it, Japan is at the end of a Typhoon!.

This one named  Nepartak, is currently hitting the coast of  Taiwan.  In reality we were not expected to see much disruption, except torrential rain and we got it and alas Mount Fuji was in the mist.

The nicest thing was that we were to stay with another of Emiko’s midwife friends in yet another Midwife house.  I actually got to sleep in a delivery room.  I have not done that for years since we had staffing issues in a UK maternity unit and I stayed overnight.

Sleeping together in the same room brought back memories for Emiko and I. We usd to share a room during our studies together. Her in the bed me on the floor.  I laughed. Her friend had put me in the bed and her on the floor. Justice at last!

 

 

Her house was lovely and reflected every essence of the midwife whose house it was.  She just is very motherly and kind and oozed calmness.   She met us off the bullet train.  Oh yes, oh my goodness.! We went on the bullet train!

It is amazing how much you forget when you just go from one day to the next. I  do keep short notes but when writing sometimes it just gets out of sequence. But maybe that’s the way its meant to come out, as I remember it.

 

Oh yes, bullet train or the Shinkansen.  Beautiful bit of Japanese engineering.  No one in Japan calls it the Bullet train by the way, so don’t ask for it. Look for Shinkansen signs.

You can actually feel the difference when it reaches its higher speed.  But the higher speed does depend on which Shinkansen you are on, so be aware that you do not want to be disappointed.

There are 3 levels  Shinkansen Kodoma, Shikae, and Nozomi.  Nozomi being the fastest as stops at least stations.  At full speed you can reach 300km/hr. Yes, I am getting this from the guide book. You expect me to remember after a bout of Gastroenteritis?

 

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It was however an unforgettable experience. The Shinkansen lived up to expectations. I have never in my life had so much leg room anywhere travelling. It was like being in first class on an aeroplane. Only done that once.

 

The seats were very comfortable and despite Emiko’s concern we might not get a seat initially, we walked straight on to two together. My advice – book seats.  It gets very busy and this was the rainy season. My personal parking and seat finding fairy was looking after us.

 

 

 

 

Alas at the end no Fuji to greet us. But we did have Kazue.   We went for noodles of course and then onto her house which was delightful.  Again as with the others already seen on this trip the emphasis is on the family, not just the woman.  It was about bringing a new life into the family.

 

She had arranged a little party to say hello with her fellow midwifery staff and I got to hold a Kazue baby born at the house the previous year.  They had some English and thankfully I had Emiko we had a lovely tea party.  We had great discussions about Japanese mainstream midwifery care and local midwifery care.  Midwives houses are very similar to Birth Centres in the UK but much smaller more intimate and with fewer staff.

 

Apparently to do a proper Japanese tea party you need to be trained which takes ages and then you get a licence.  Kazue has a licence and so it transpired does my friend Emiko.  In Manchester we just mash the tea and have done with it. Ha.

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This by the way is a Mt Fuji bun.  But we thought might be useful when discussing breastfeeding. Ha ha.

 

We did get to the Shiraito waterfalls at the foot of Mount Fuji.  Lots of steps, lots of water but wonderful scene despite the rain.

Ah well I thought I might get to  write about Tokyo in this chapter but alas not to be.  See the next installment for Blog 7 Part 2. The highs of the Tokyo Sky Tree.

 

 

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