My travels took me on to Yokohama this week, and it was a day of absolute discovery for me. Japan, after being pretty much flattened in the Second World War, has done an extensive and brilliant reconstruction of their lovely country. It’s been fascinating for me to wander the streets in my comfortable role of ignorant foreigner, always looking for something new to learn.
A gorgeous day on the Yokohama Seafront
Yokohama is an ultra-modern port city, second only to Tokyo in population in all of Japan. The waterfront is a wonder of soaring towers and sail-shaped hotels, and feels light years away from its origins as a tiny feudal fishing village. I spent most of my time along the water, filling in my mental picture for a scene or two that will be set here in the new novel. I walked for miles, and stumbled upon a few things that will surely find their way into the story.
Japanese Coast Guard Museum
Yokohama is not only home to the CupNoodles Museum [yes, the entire place is devoted to its namesake!], but also a completely fascinating museum devoted to the Japanese Coast Guard.
As an island nation, Japan takes the sovereignty of her waters very seriously, as is evidenced by the rusted remains of a North Korean spyship. Captured after a gunfight at sea in 2001, the ship blew herself up and sank, and was later retrieved and mined for information by the Japanese Coast Guard.
The retrieved corpse of the bullet-riddled spy ship
I knew nothing of these events, nor of the still diplomatically tense abduction of a number of Japanese citizens in the 1970’s and ’80’s, so I left Yokohama with my cup of noodles — and my brain — overflowing.
Visiting Japan has taught me so much, and I am so grateful I’ve had the opportunity to see some of the wonders this beautiful country has to offer for myself.
But this whirlwind of a journey takes me onward. Can you guess my next destination?