When I arrived in Tokyo on 26th August 2012, at around 6am, unwashed, and in the midsummer Japan sun, I hugged my wife hello – my wife has all embracing hug, the kind at the end of which, you feel deprived of oxygen. I’ve always enjoyed them. I was driven away from Haneda through Tokyo all the way through Shinjuku, with one overriding thought on my mind – I was safe.
I was incredibly jetlagged, so my memory of that week is a bit sketchy, although that day itself I can recall quite clearly. After the bear hug from my wife I was driven through Tokyo by friends, whom I had bought duty free cigarette for as a thank you. We passed Tokyo Tower, and I recall seeing so many soft drink vending machines, a sight I was to learn was common in Japan. Finally we arrive in Ome, a city in western Tokyo which was to be my home for the next seven months.
I would later learn that Ome was a city formed in the 50’s , although it was a town before, the ‘Omekaido’ the Ome road being formed, or so the story goes, when a Prince, in 1603, walked from Edo to the city, living off and selling plums along the way – Ome means plum or Japanese apricot. This plum also gave Japan Umeshu – Plum Wine, a drink I enjoy, and am in fact drinking as I write this.
Why safe? It was a few months since the attack described in my last post, but only a week since the last time I was attacked. I was black and blue, and took a shower, hiding the worst excesses of my attacker’s gifts from my wife, at least until tomorrow. Tomorrow I would explain. Lying on the futon at about 10am, trying to sleep, resident card still in hand, I had one thought. Today I am safe, today, I am free.
I slept well.