I set off early to school this morning, half expecting to being forced into walking the 4 miles or so because of reduced train services. I took comfort in the fact that my mother used to have to walk twice this distance every day when she was a child, even in the snow, which of course was ubiquitous back in those days. I was almost at the station when I received a phone call from the school telling me that today’s test was cancelled, and that the school would be closed for the day. Presuming that the test would be re-scheduled for Wednesday I headed back home to get on with some revision. After half an hour or so of this there came a knock at the door, and who should be there but my landlord, carrying a hot sweet potato and asking to be let in. He had come round the other day to check on me after the quake, and now here he was again, only this time with a hot root vegetable in a brown paper bag. After inviting him in, we sat around and talked for forty minutes or so about topics ranging from Spaghetti Westerns to the presence of Buddhism in Japan. Although as I understood less than 20% of the conversation (mine or his), we could very well have been talking about the need for Japan to tighten its foreign immigration policy, and his love of Italian cuisine. Even so, it was a lovely interlude, and yet another reminder of the warmth and genuine affection shown by this wonderful nation.
I later received a call telling me that school was off for the rest of the week, and that as next week was the start of our planned holidays, the test would be rescheduled for next term. In a way it was a bit frustrating not to be able to get it out of the way, but it is probably for the best. Whilst I am not particularly worried about the current situation here in Tokyo, the utter relentlessness of it has left me feeling rather worn out, and as I struggle to understand even basic instructions at the best of times, I don’t think that I would have been able to cope Professor Aoki’s wife and her exploits in a supermarket that looked like a horse’s face. The afternoon was thus spent with the computer off, strolling in the park, going for a long run in the beautiful sunshine, and spending time with friends. Richard and I went for a potter round Shimo, where I bought a new shirt, as well as some muesli and raisins. Quite where the ‘Tokyo has run out of food!’ stories are coming from I don’t know, because as Richard put it, ‘A New York housewife would be happy with that.’ I somehow refrained from telling him that I had longed for the day when I would be compared to one of Manhattan’s finest.