Lyle and Sumire live on the 11th floor of an appartment block at the end of the Nambuko metro line. When I arrived late Sunday evening I was just too tired to appreciate the convenience of their location, just a 5 minute walk to Shimo Statio where they can both take the fast metro line into the centre of Tokyo to work. Lyle’s previous commute involved the Ginza line where the train guards literally push passengers onto the train, it’s that crowded.

The next morning I was left to my own devices as both my hosts had to go to work. I enjoyed exploring their space, which is small so being tidy is essential. It’s no wonder Marie Kondo’s best selling title, the Magic of Tidying was so successful here in Japan and around the world.

I was most impressed with their gadgets including their washing machine which weighs your clothes before telling you how much washing liquid to use. Sumire hangs the washing on circular hangers, fascinating to watch them spin around and with the air temperature right now in Tokyo at 32 degrees, clothes dry fast. I also loved their wall mounted screen so when someone rings the door bell, you can see the visitor on the mini TV and even talk to them!

On the ground floor, close to where people park their bikes is the waste room. So organised, huge bins, one for plastic, one for bottles, one for burnable rubbish. So tidy, no smell and spotlessly clean. Just like my impression of Japan.d

That first day I decided visit one of Tokyo’s famous gardens, Rikugien. I could see the high walls of the park but couldn’t work out how to get in. I had to walk the perimeter of the garden’s high wall to find the way in but I was determined. It was on this walk that the Japanese mosquitoes found me and took great delight in feasting on Welsh blood. The Azeri and Dubai bugs weren’t interested but here in Tokyo, the insects were super excited. I really couldn’t believe it especially as I wasn’t near any water. But thank goodness for the station pharmacist who with just sign language and the word mosquito, sold me some mosquito patches to ease the pain and itchiness. They worked like a miracle, I wore them for 4 days and had none of the discomfort I normally get from insect bites.

I’ve really enjoyed my first week in Japan. I’ve been cooking meals for Lyle and Sumire so they can relax when they get home from work. I’ve only had a few disasters, like buying what I thought was coconut milk for a Thai curry which turned out to be a can of weird cubes of transparent chewy coconut jelly! And being sold sparkling water when I’d asked for tonic, especially frustrating as I took the guy to  bottle of gin and said Gin & Tonic.

My mistakes are the best bit of my Japanese life.

Sayonara for now