Day 22 | Tokio - Singapore - Brussel

The early bird catches the worm, so we get up early.

Another trip to the post office for Vladimir. In the meantime, I’ll do some housework (like putting the mattresses back). Then I’ll have a leisurely breakfast.

I checked in yesterday, so everything should be fine - I think. Always nerve-wracking, the plane and the paperwork. I’m dreading the long flight ahead. Hopefully there’ll be an empty seat next to me, like on the outward journey.


I take a few more photos. I try to keep busy until Vladimir returns and we can take off. I’m so glad I brought this camera with me, I could go on and on taking pictures here.

At the post office it’s taking a while. I check out and wait in the hotel lobby. This is a special construction to prevent the luggage from getting wet in the rain.


We trudge towards the bus station. We still have some money, are hungry and have time - so we have a bite to eat in the restaurant on the fourth floor of the NewWoMan. It’s full of beautiful young women. Often with small children. Interesting. Hence the name ‘Newwoman’, I suppose? We leave Japan like everything else here, with a ‘soft touch’ or in bokashi. With a smooth transition. No chopsticks, but western cutlery and western food in a Japanese way.

Check-in goes smoothly. No problems with our luggage. I spend the last of my Icoca-card money at the Lawson familymart. Snacks and a cookie for the plane - and for my kids. We get dinner on the first flight. Another dinner and breakfast on the second. I’m really looking forward to breakfast!

See you tomorrow! Wave xxx


The first flight goes well. I’m sitting next to a boring English couple, the woman making comments every time she gets something to eat. Her husband watches one film after another. His headphones never come off. I understand why.

Vladimir sits behind me and I hear him chatting to a couple from Somerset, the man a former printer and the woman a trained artist.

As soon as the plane comes to a halt, we both jump up to get out of the plane as quickly as possible. In order not to waste any time, I’ve been ready for ten minutes with my Kodak and my handbag. It won’t be easy in Singapore. We only have 50 minutes to catch the other flight. Our seats are at the back of the plane, and by the time we disembark there’s about 30 minutes left.

We run along the moving walkway, passing travellers walking leisurely at Shinkansen speed. We walk towards the shuttle bus to Terminal 3. We get off and run to Gate B1, the check-in. “For Brussels here”, the scanner man shouts. I throw everything in the machine. It beeps, they scan me and I can go through.

Vladimir doesn’t make it through the gate - then I see him standing there in his socks. Oh, they better not make a fuss now.

They let him go. I really need to pee, but there’s no time for that now. We run to the empty counter. There are two people there. Boarding pass and passport are checked again and we rush into the plane.

It’s a spacious plane. There’s more room than on the previous flight. Next to me is a young French-speaking couple. In front of us and around us is a group of older Flemish people. The man in front of me is charging his hearing aids. His friends have to repeat everything three times loudly for him to understand what the hostesses are saying. “CHICKEN or FISH?” The French couple repeat it laughing.

I am watching [Analogue], a Japanese film. Watching a Japanese film now is something special, I can imagine the places and the atmosphere.

They also drink a lot of coh(f)ie. Now I understand why Asaka-san said “goh(f)un” instead of ‘gofun’. We hadn’t actually heard that before.

Vladimir wants to see a film with Juliette Binoche, but follows my Japanese suggestion. And just like me, he’s in tears at the end ;)

We’re about to arrive in Brussels. A day on the road. It’s been a long journey, hardly any sleep.

But none of that is important right now. Almost home.