The familiar sounds of Stevie’s classic are grounding and re assuring (in an unfamiliar way) as I enter the Starbucks located inside Tsytya book store, here in Minatomirai.

I’m in the queue and ask myself “Where are the Uber eats drivers?” Are they absent just in this neighbourhood of Minatomirai, or has the craze not taken hold of this island yet? They always look so pushed, pressured in a perpetual race against time.

I pick a spot where I can watch the world go by on the High Street outside, and settle in.

He didn’t want me to walk with him to school this morning, and that’s fine. I’m proud of him doing his own thing. He’ll be back at 3pm. I’ll be ready. Man City won 3-0 last night, and we can check out the highlights. Maybe that’ll be the right time to share some of the Heinz Baked Beans I’ve brought with me.

The store opposite is called CRISP Salad Works. I feel like they probably don’t sell crisps, and for some reason I get an instant hankering for those purple packeted Worcester sauce flavour walkers, what happened to them?

Probably just over priced salad. Might be tasty tho’. Will check it out. 

There’s an older guy, approx 75 years of age , he’s tied his cream poodle dog to the bench and is wildly swinging his arms in the air. It’s 8:13 am on a busy High Street filled with commuters. No one blinks.

He’s doing his necessary stretches. I love this country for their acceptance of body stretching. You see yoga-esque moves everywhere, people waiting at pedestrian crossings, bus stops, in lifts. It doesn’t need to be done in private – the phrase ‘stretch your legs’ means exactly that – get that down dog cookin’.

Now he’s finished and he’s taking photos of his dog, who appears to be posing for the camera.

Most of yesterday didn’t happen. I woke up to a sweltering 23 degrees of heat accompanied with a severe weather warning due to extreme winds. I looked out of window to see trees bowing to almost street level under the pressure, the kind of situation we are so rarely faced with in the UK. I had breakfast with Taiga and had every intention of shopping for ingredients and making soup, but jet lag had other ideas. I spent the day dreaming.  

By the time I I eventually surfaced it was evening, and I attended a training session for Taiga’s football team (he plays for Liverpool FC Academy here in Tokyo). I met his new teammates, including his new best mate TC

TC came to England earlier this year on a football training camp organised by Liverpool Academy. His main takeaway from this first visit to the UK was the bathroom situation. Japanese people can’t believe we have a toilet in the same room as the bath. It’s partly down to the fact they like to scrub their bodies pre shower or bath and so a toilet takes up the space to that would allow for this. As the conversation developed I revealed that some people in the UK have carpet in their bathrooms.

Minds blown! My work was done.

Another of his football team mates has arrived, and I look out for his Dad who I remember spoke some English and we used to chat about the premier league. But tonight the boy has travelled alone. A 30 min journey from home that takes in 2 trains and a walk either side of the station. I find it interesting, and remarkable, that a 9 year old boy is deemed mature enough to take this on. It’s great the way they foster this kind of independence, and it makes me feel there’s a real warm sense of community spirit here.

I’ll move on now to the supermarket. I must make soup today.

Soon enough I’ll check out the Bay. See what she’s got for me. Never let me down in the past, and I look forward to reuniting. The water ripples and pushes right up to the seawall. Folks congregate to think, talk, escape the frenzied buzz of the city.

Ideas float in the air there, all you gotta do is tap in, log off and tap in….

See you down there x