For years I’d dreamed of travelling vast distances overland. Whilst aeroplanes were convenient and relatively cheap, I disliked the lack of connection I felt with the distances travelled. I’d simply get in this metal tube. Sit down. Watch a few mediocre movies, and make polite chit-chat with the person sitting next to me.
One day, I decided to live my dream, and travel overland from Tokyo to London. The trip would take me 28 days, and see me cover over 9,000 miles by train, car, bus, boat, on foot, bicycle and horse.
The first leg of the journey was one of the most beautiful – the ferry from Osaka to Shanghai. The crossing took two days, the initial 20 hours of which were spent gliding through one of the most beautiful parts of Japan – the Inland Sea.
Having read Donald Richie’s well known book on his travels in the area, expectations were high – and I was not disappointed.
However, it wasn’t all plain sailing…
As we journeyed west so some interesting cloud formations appeared
The atmosphere on board was great – all strangers at first, but with cheap beer in the cafeteria it wasn’t long before we were all talking.
Our journey took us under the three main bridges that link the southerly island of Shikoku with Japan’s mainland, Honshu.
It wasn’t all unpolluted beauty – the coastline near industrial town was coated in a yellowish smog
We passed numerous boats on our journey, some hopping from port to port, others heading out to the East China Sea,
After hours of calm, storm clouds loomed on the horizon
We saw the heavens open up ahead of us, torrential rain gushing down to the sea – could we skirt around it?
There was no escaping it. Suddenly, the boat was engulfed. The deck flooded in seconds, everyone on board screamed and laughed, running for cover.
The downpour, whilst torrential, didn’t last long – looking back we saw a beautiful rainbow arching across the sky
A trip across the East China sea is the perfect opportunity to do a bit of painting.
Remember – in case of emergency don’t get excited!
The sun sets over the Inland Sea