Wednesday 9 April 2014

Rise and shine

Day 9 - aboard the Xinjianzhen, approximately 33°N, 128°E, 2553km traveled (note the *correct* spelling - Julian)
I awoke this morning to an impressive roar. I guess more accurately I reawoke: I had first been roused at 6:30 by our cabin mates stirring and it took a while to get back to sleep while trying to block out the sounds of someone retching in another room. Whether it was brought on by seasickness or alcohol mixed with too much karaoke I'm not sure; we left the shelter of the Seto Inland Sea around midnight last night but the sea is still calm. We're still near the islands west of Nagasaki but the next land we see will be China.
So I awoke again to the sound of an angry mob, people having a shouting argument, a crowd cheering on a sporting match, and a rowdy game of charades all rolled into one. Or so I thought. What other explanation could there be for the level of noise being generated this morning by our fellow passengers? When I got up to have a look though, all I could see were people sitting round tables, chatting away, and waiting for breakfast.
Determined to get some more sleep--it was only 7:30 and there's no need to make a long day on a boat even longer--I stuck my earplugs back in (honestly, they barely helped) and... the public address system kicked in. Long message in Mandarin. Long message in Japanese. Finally, the message in English: "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Information Desk is open. You are welcome to use it." At 7:30 in the morning?
As my head hit the pillow again, the system crackled back to life and we were soothed awake by a 20 minute medley of elevator, classical, and music box music. Right, let's get this busy day started then, shall we? :-)
Ruth and I are working our way through our Japanese themed literature at the moment: Eric Lomax's The Railway Man, Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being, and James Clavell's Shogun, all based on recommendations from friends. I have the advantage, having already finished Clavell's gripping 1000-page novel about Samurai culture last year. I think Ruth's currently trying to read two books at once. I think we've found all three have been interestingly informed by our week in Japan and vice versa, actually: Shogun added to our appreciation and understanding of Bunraku performance in Osaka.

No comments: