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Fuji-San surprise / 16 April 2011

Turtles pile upon each other to bask in the sun. Photo © Gini

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Luck hurtles down the river;
twirls around the feet of
feeding cranes; swirls
into little peaceful ponds.
Luck skips along the ground;
settles into drifts to lay
blush-pink carpets and
petal-soft pillows.
Luck flies through the air;
brushes my cheek, my lips,
decorates my hair;
creeps into my clothes.
Kyoto air is heavy with luck
and Fuji-San responds with
a surprise revelation.

Today we leave the peace of Kyoto and return to Tokyo where the earth still shakes and reminders are frequent. The day is warm, but overcast. I choose my favourite items from the breakfast buffet including the fish custard and pumpkin mash.

We pack and store our luggage at the hotel before setting out for a last look around. I photograph the odder things we come across; Japan is also a country of contrast and surprise. The wind is quite blustery and cherry blossom swirls everywhere, prompting smiles and laughter.

We buy nibbles for the journey: mini Japanese cheesecakes and a box of something that looks like folded handkerchiefs; collect our luggage from the hotel and check-in at the station. I get the usual helpful response that I believe is given to all wheelchair-travellers.

Trains are delayed today; Shinkansen is ten minutes late and we are escorted to a waiting room by a helpful man eager to practice his English. He returns five minutes before the train is due and it arrives precisely ten minutes late. We are helped on board.

We have what amounts to a private room. It has a bench seat that is also a fold-out bed and a spare seat is hanging on the wall; there is plenty of room for my wheelchair. Shinkansen windows are small, like aircraft windows, but there is a good view out.

On the other side of the door is the accessible loo and a small curtained alcove with a basin. All very civilised. We settle to enjoy the journey; the sun has come out and it is now a beautiful clear day. Our nibbles, in shades of green, black and white, are a pleasant surprise.

Suddenly we become aware of the great presence in the landscape; clear and extremely impressive, Fuji-San is revealed in all his glory. We sit with our noses pressed to the window; what luck! All that cherry blossom must have worked.

We get this spectacular view for quite some minutes and attempt photographs; I'm so keen I lean from my wheelchair and fall out, laughing so much I miss a last look at the beautiful mountain. Fuji-San has a reputation for hiding in the mist and I had been wondering about the possibilities of seeing him. Such a great surprise, such a gift.

Back in Tokyo I have the change in Ginza to worry about. We try to find alternatives, but this time the station staff are uncommunicative and sticking to the regulations. At Ginza they want to manhandle my wheelchair and me, up the escalator. I dig in my heels and refuse.

Two staff escort us out of the station, down the road for what seems like miles, and into an escalator. We're all a bit grumpy, but this works better for me. From here it's easy and we are soon home.