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The Roads to Sata

This one is definitely worth a mention. Any similar experiences?

…the woman at the ryokan door stood twisting her apron about in her fists.

"Are there any rooms free?" I asked with an encouraging smile.

"Well, yes, there are, but we haven’t got any beds. We sleep on mattresses on the floor."

"Yes, I know," I said. "I’ve lived in Japan for seven years."

"And you won’t be able to eat the food."

"Why, what’s the matter with it?"

"It’s fish."

"I like fish."

"But it’s raw fish."

"Look, I’ve lived in Japan for seven years. My wife’s Japanese. I like raw fish."

"But I don’t think we’ve got any knives or forks."


"And you can’t use chopsticks."

"Of course I can. I’ve lived in Japan for…"

"But it’s a tatami-mat room and there aren’t any armchairs."


"And there’s no shower in the bathroom. It’s an o-furo."

"I use chopsticks at home. I sit on tatami. I eat raw fish. I use an o-furo. I’ve lived in Japan for seven years. That’s nearly a quarter of my life. My wife…"

"Yes," moaned the woman, "but we can’t speak English."

"I don’t suppose that will bother us," I sighed. "We’ve been speaking Japanese for the last five minutes."

The Roads to Sata: A 2000-Mile Walk Through Japan, Alan Booth