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Full Circle

Day 23: Vladivostok to Toyama

Toyama, Japan 
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On the Sado Island Ferry.
Michael Palin - Full CircleThe customs area is immaculate and empty, like an operating theatre awaiting its first patient. Toyama is a provincial airport and they are not used to dealing with British film crews, especially ones coming from Siberia. My bags are politely and thoroughly searched. I have to mime the function of every pill in my toilet-bag. After a particularly graphic portrayal of the reasons for taking Immodium, I am politely, but firmly, waved through.

So we pass from Russia to Japan, from the land where everything is difficult to the land where everything is easy; where there is a machine on every corner dispensing drinks hot and cold, and snacks, hot and cold, twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year; where restaurant windows sport not just menus but spotless acrylic models of every dish on that menu; where packaging is an obsession yet litter virtually non-existent. A free, open, affluent, sophisticated society in which, according to a recent poll, eight-seven per cent of the population wants to look like everyone else.

At the hotel I make the mistake of ordering a particularly revolting cocktail called 'Around The World In Eighty Days' and take to my bed with a severe case of culture shock.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 23
  • Country/sea: Japan
  • Place: Toyama
  • Book page no: 47

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RELATED LINKS

  • Japan
  • Day 51 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 52 
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  • Day 53 
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