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Saturday, October 25, 2003

Travel blah, blah, blah

Travel Diaries of a Fatman (Part the Last)

Day Nine (cont'd)
Dinner was in a restaurant that was hidden so that virtually everyone was late. It is at this point of the journey that I felt fear for the first time in quite a while. My mum's mentor in the world of fish was Tozawa-senei, a 64-year old gentleman who talked, acted and looked like an old school yakuza gang boss. Everyone seemed to be on their best behaviour. The waitresses were nervous. Even I was flinching. He is the kind of person that, if he sent you fish in the mail you would never be quite sure if it was a gift or a threat (For those who don't know what the hell I'm talking about, rent 'the Godfather'). It was time to out-think, out-drink, out-play.

Day Ten
Didn't wake up with a horse's head next to me (or anyone else for that matter) which I take as a good sign that Tozawa-sensei didn't feel obliged to 'cap' me for 'dissin' his ''tache'. Unfortunately had to visit the fish markets on about two hours sleep. It's an incredible place. People yelling at each other, forklifts elegantly dancing around one another and guys with hooks jabbing at bits of seafood lying on the ground. Breakfast was un-believable. It's the freshest goddamn sashimi on terra firma, you'd seriously have to swim in the ocean and take a hunk out of a passing shark to get close to the taste. But that would be very, very stupid.
I meet up with this guy, Sato, who has his own seafood biz later on that day, and he gives me a whole box full of live scallops to give to relatives in Koriyama.

Day Eleven
Koriyama. Box of scallops go down a treat. When my cousin (I'll use the word cousin for every relative from now on. I'd not want to get bogged down on any more details that I absolutely have to) told me how to get to Kori-yama via train he apologised for the 'primitive' mode of transport. You have to press a button to open the doors, he's telling me, embarassed. When I inform him that in Melbourne we wrench the doors open with our hands, there is a short pause as he searches for the right words of sympathy, pity. Incidentally I'd like to point out right now that according to Miss. Stacia Saunders, in Brisbane they have automatic doors as well.

Day Twelve.
Nothing and not much. Although I almost got into a fist fight with a useless interpreter.

Day Thirteen.
Hang out with more relatives. There's a story involving samurai swords and death.

Day Fourteen.
The End. It's time to get on the plane and get back to Australia.

Day Fifteen.
' This is your Captain speaking. Hope you had a fantastic sleep on this flight, I know you didn't. Those of you in economy class will have creaking joints and sore necks- maybe you'll think about coughing up a few more bucks on your next journey. Me? I had a lovely time lying here in this hammock with a nice martini, while a computer steers the plane to the destination where I can meet up with my mistress and have fun with the vast amount of money I'm making. Also I'd like to say a quick 'hello' to the passenger in seat 55-J who would have had an absolute ball in the toilets while we got slammed by multiple turbulence.'

Epilogue. Thus the journey comes to a close. Two weeks, a wallet that's bulging to the brim with name cards and not much yen, elevator doors that slam with such ferocity that people lose fingers and assorted limbs, hi-tech toilets where the sink turns itself on, yakuza fishermen, inept interpreters, trains, relatives, ninja mansions, a half a ton of raw fish. But I'm glad to be back.

You KNOW it,


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