Japanese Hospitality

We’ve sailed over 25,000 miles in the last 4 years, with stops at 15 different countries and 199 different anchorages (yes, I do keep track of them all), and there has not been a warmer reception than what we have received in Japan. The graciousness and friendliness of the people here at Tannowa Yacht Harbor continues to amaze me. Today our friend Yoshida-San came to the boat again with more lettuce and fresh flowers from his garden, travel brochures so we know what places we want to visit when he gives us a tour of Osaka, and two lovely Japanese teacups with drawings of cats on them (they all love that we have a Salvadoran cat onboard).

At times I feel a little overwhelmed with all the attention, particularly last Sunday when I was instructed to be at the Yacht Club at 5:30 for a reception in our honor. It was a marvelous gathering (although significantly short on women), with lots of drinks, fresh sushi, and yummy homemade food. Later I found out that the Japanese, much like the rest of us, just like to have an excuse to party. It’s customary whenever they go to another harbor with their club that the hosting club throws a shindig like the one last Sunday night. And they do this for every visiting yacht that arrives here.

Tomorrow morning I’ll meet the yacht club commodore (Ichikawa-San) at his boat and join with his wife and daughter on their weekend cruise with the other Tannowa Yacht Club members. Luckily Aika, his daughter, spent 2 years at the university in Vancouver so her English is good. I’m surprised at the limited English here in this part of Japan, but we are in a remote suburban area and the average age of the Yacht Club members is 50, so likely we’ll find different when we go into the city. Tomorrow we’re going to Wakayama, where reportedly there are some wonderful onsen (hot springs) in the area. We’ll spend the night in a hotel and sail back to Tannowa on Sunday. Rob will be home on Tuesday, and next weekend we are invited to the home of Ichikawa-San, who will give us a tour of Nara before we set out to visit Kyoto.

We’re both busy this week sorting out issues surrounding our return to the Pacific Northwest (like jobs, moorage, social plans, etc.), while still trying to enjoy the last of the cruising life and travel to wonderful foreign ports. Undoubtedly, the amazing hospitality of the Japanese people will leave us with an eagerness to return to cruising, even before we begin our passage back home.