We (Adrian, Lizzie and I) arrived in Choshi last night. A restaurant close to the hotel provided some much needed sustenance after 24 hours of airport and airline food and, despite our inability to speak Japanese (and the waitress’s inability to speak English), the basic requirements for food and beer were understood and duly delivered. Relief…
This morning we ventured down to the marina. We had only been there a few minutes, long enough to say “Hi” to Mitsuru “Shin” Shingyoji, when we were introduced to Kaz Ebata. I’ve been in touch with Kaz recently, thanks to Mick Dawson & Chris Martin (successfully rowed (into the Guinness World Record Book) as a pair, from Choshi to San Francisco in 2009, taking 189 days). Kaz is a particularly interesting and kind man, who has been assisting Ocean Rowers since they first started using Japan as a starting point in 1991.
Kaz whisked us away almost immediately from the Marina to visit various authorities. After visiting both the Choshi Weather Bureau, the Customs and the Coastguard, Kaz took us to meet the Chief of Police, where gifts were exchanged and the word “crazy” popped up several times. Over lunch, Kaz produced a folder…a folder he is very proud of. The folder contains newspaper cuttings of previous Ocean Rowers who have departed from Choshi, including Dom Mee & Tim Welford and more recently Mick Dawson & Chris Martin.
So, with the authorities met and plans made, I now await the delivery of Blossom from Tokyo to Choshi (I heard last night that Blossom is in Tokyo!)… “Free Blossom!”