The honeymoon is over. I can’t believe we’re already talking about it in the past tense. After just a couple of days back in the UK, it’s starting to feel a bit dreamlike. Did we really do it? Did it really happen? (Although that may just be the jetlag talking…)
Our honeymoon was not a relaxing, lying-on-the-beach-watching-the-sunset kind of honeymoon. It was a non-stop, crazy three weeks in Japan, travelling to nine towns and cities. It involved early mornings and late nights, as we tried to make the most of every single second. It was filled with gorgeous cherry blossoms; beautiful temples; breathtaking scenery; intense cities; cosy ryokans; bullet trains; sushi conveyor belts; dogs in kimonos and an island full of rabbits.
There were certainly a fair few Lost in Translation moments, plenty of what-are-we-supposed-to-be-doing moments and that one time we had to break into our own hotel (long story).
It was everything we dreamed it would be, and more, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Ok, maybe I would change the fact that we arrived in Japan without my luggage (thanks Air China). But while I was a snivelling wreck at the thought of starting my honeymoon without even a toothbrush, my husband was a superstar, waking up early the next morning to wash my clothes so that I’d had something clean to wear on my first day in Tokyo.
And that was one of the things I loved about our honeymoon, that it reminded me how well we travel together. Mr A is the organiser, the one who makes sure we get from A to B; the map reader (thank goodness, or we’d never have left Tokyo); and the quick decision-maker in a crisis. Meanwhile I’m the one who will start conversations with strangers; the one who can spot a good local restaurant a mile off and who, we discovered, can somehow make Japanese grannies understand me through sign language and arm waving, while my husband stands next to me without a clue of what’s going on.
So aside from luggage-gate, we loved every moment of our trip. In a way it was nice that we’d had our nice relaxing San Sebastian minimoon, because Japan is a country where you want to experience every minute of it. You want to get up early to beat the crowds at that must-see temple, but you also want to stay up late to watch the streets of Tokyo come alive. We travelled quite a bit as we wanted to experience the contrasts between the huge, hectic cities and the tiny, calm, mountaintop hillsides. We wanted to capture every moment we could, to get to see the side of Japan we’d imagined and discover the one we hadn’t.
These are the memories that have intertwined to become the fabric of our honeymoon: waking up early to snow in a mountaintop village; watching Geisha perform in their annual springtime performance in Kyoto; slurping ramen noodles at a six seat counter bar in Tokyo; holding hands under the cherry blossom surrounded by hundreds of other couples; and sharing special moments with some of the nicest, kindest people we have ever met.
And what I’ll never forget is the countless times where Mr A and I caught each others’ eyes and grinned like fools as we experienced yet another amazing thing about this country we both fell in love with: we did it, and this is the coolest thing EVER.
I’ll be writing a lot about our honeymoon in the next few weeks, but if there is anything about Japan that you are particularly interested in then let me know below and I’ll try to include it in one of my future posts.