Sunday, July 11, 2010

Home In Britain

I'm back in Britain! It's so strange to be back! But of course it's lovely. I arrived at Heathrow yesterday and my family picked me up. It was such a nice reunion. We went to a restaurant and had a British roast dinner, which was amazing. It was exactly what I'd been craving - oven cooked food! And despite what the world may say, traditional British food is amazing.

Pretty much everything went smoothly for my last day, except for the beginning and the end. I got up at 5am to leave in time for my 6.30am bus from Kichijoji, which is 10 minutes by train. Wynne, Katy and Hime-chan came with me, and Rob got up to wave me off from the guesthouse. But when we got to the station, we found that there was a 55 minute delay on trains going into Tokyo! It said "Accident", but it's common knowledge that that usually means suicide.

So I had to get a taxi to Kichijoji station, and had a quick but sad goodbye to the girls. It really didn't hit me that I was leaving them. It took about 15 minutes to get to Kichijoji, but cost Y3,000 (£20) so I was very unimpressed!

I met Rei, the leader of Soul Run who had come to wave me off, at the station. He waited until my bus was out of sight to stop waving, which was really nice of him. It hit me then how much I'm going to miss everyone.

It took about an hour and 40 minutes to get to Narita Airport, and there I paid the rebooking charge for my flight. It was very easy to do, I just went to the JAL Ticketing Counter and showed them my e-ticket, and then paid the Y15,000 for it. After that I could check straight in at the check-in counter, and that went smoothly as well. Even though I had two pieces of hand baggage, and my suitcase was 3.5kg overweight, the woman who checked me in didn't say anything about it, and just chatted to me about my time in Japan and about ICU. I was really grateful, she must have known I'd have more luggage than the average passenger, having been in Japan for nearly a year. Even though I sent stuff home with my brother when he visited I still had a lot of things to bring back.

Then the flight went fine, until we were coming into land at Heathrow, and were about to touch down when the plane pulled up suddenly and started to circle the airport! They announced that there had been a plane on the runway that hadn't moved yet, so that could have been nasty! But we landed safely 10 minutes later.

Then immigration and baggage claim went very smoothly, and I was reunited with my family at arrivals. It was so nice!

We drove to a nearby pub and had our roast dinner, and then drove back to Birmingham. Everything was exactly as I remember it, and it was a very nice feeling when my house came into view.

It's weird being back, because everything is the same, and everything feels the same. Seeing my local area isn't special now, because I've come and gone so many times it just feels normal. Which is good - I suppose that means I'm growing up!

I haven't really reflected back on my time in Japan yet, I'm too tired! But it's already nostalgic, and I miss my friends and just being in Japan. I have lovely memories of that trip to Japan, and I know that it was one of the best times in my life so far. Let's hope that there are many more in the future!


Anonymous said...

Hi Miles. I haven't been following your blog as you wrote it, but I did stumble across it and read some of it from 2008 to now. I had a question about Gaba, but I don't want to derail your 2010 blogs with unrelated comments - is there any way to contact you (obviously I don't need your real email, just an alt that you can reply to)? Thank you and cheers.

Miles said...

Yeah sure, you can email me at if you have any questions!


Jamie said...

Hi Miles,

First of all, congratulations on your time spent in Japan and your exam results! I'm sure you're very proud and i wish you the best of luck in your 3rd and 4th year.

I'm moving to Japan in a little over a month (North-west Tokyo, Ikebukuro/Saitama area) and was wondering if you could provide some crash-course essential survival tips? If you don't fancy making a random blog comment/post, feel free to email me at

Thank you!


Anonymous said...

Dear Miles,

Thank you so much for the advice about universities in the U.K. in the earlier post :)

As it turns out I have happily received an unconditional offer of acceptance to the University of Leeds for this autumn term. I'm getting a bit anxious about the placement tests (if I need to take one) -- as I haven't been focusing on studying Japanese due to moving back home, packing and repacking, and family gatherings.

I was wondering if I could call upon your knowledge again to ask about housing in Leeds, and if you had any advice there. I have been looking via the Leeds website and obviously there are differences in what an undergraduate and a postgraduate can apply for in housing - but if you have any advice I would be greatly appreciative. I won't be able to arrive in the U.K. until Sept. 16th at the earliest, so I feel classes may almost be upon me before I'm "settled".

Again, any advice would be appreciated.

(Right now I'm looking for *cheap housing, obviously, but not too far from campus, and preferably, though it's probably asking a lot, somewhere near "nature"... like woods, gardens, or a park...) Right now I'm considering the following that were listed on the university accommodation part of the website (for postgrad, but sometimes also for undergrad):
52 Clarendon Road (close to campus)
Montague Burton Flats (close...)
27A Cumberland Road (near some woods? visible on Google-maps)
Grayson Heights (near a train station?)

Miles said...

Dear Lizzy,

Sorry for my very late reply, I have been working non-stop since I got back to Britain and I can barely find a minute to myself!

Out of the accommodation you sent me, the only one I'm familiar with is Montague Burton. I went there several times because lots of Japanese exchange students are placed there. So that would be a bonus for you!

It is close to a park, about 5 minutes walk down the hill, and the Meanwood Valley Trail (which is really beautiful) is about 15 minutes walk away.

As for the place near a train station, the bus links are much more convenient than trains in Leeds, so I wouldn't let that sway your decision too much.

I would go for Montague Burton flats if it's possible. But the houses may provide a more "adult" lifestyle than student halls...

Hope that helps! Let me know if you'd like to know anything else.