Whose Water?

Nicholas Quirke was not stopping moving when 20 February 2020 arrived. He had planned to go to Japan to meet up with Peng in Tokyo  and it was disappointing that this would not now happen. But he had traveled so far along the route to Japan he was not going to halt the caravan now. He had a ferry ticket and would cross the Korean Straights, or the Yellow Sea, or the Japan sea; it really wasn’t clear what or whose water he was traversing, to another enigmatic and mystifying country that had percolated in his subconscious since childhood. He had a walk on the beach in the morning bought sandwich at subway to eat on the ferry, and then got a taxi to the Port. For once he was confident that crossing a border was going to be ‘plain sailing’ and getting his ticket and seat did in fact go very smoothly and It was with surprise that he heard them say ”Please sit down. Because as you have been to China we don’t think you can go to Japan” This was not encouraging particularly, as the news from Beijing was that the out look was improving. The number of reported cases had really decreased and the recovery rate was now exceeding the rate of incidents. This meant it looked more possible for him to get back to China and fulfil whatever destiny awaited him there. Naturally there was no problem, He was disappointed that he could not get out on the deck of the Ferry, he had chosen the quickest time not realising that he couldn’t breach the fresh sea air and scan the waters for whales or sharks. He marked the passing of an archipelago harbouring JeJu island, a ferry and the open endless sea till Japan’s shores and mountains loomed into view. What a thrill it was to enter another land in this way, gliding through and past a magical, haunting landscape. Once on dry land practicalities started and he needed to get to the hotel, he needed money and he needed a sim. He had neither and it appeared that the ferry terminal, despite its custom and immigration checks didn’t either. Fortunately as the nearest ATM was a 7 minute walk away, he discovered he could pay for a taxi with a credit card. So taxi it was. On arrival he paid and got into the hotel and as he reached into his bag for his passport, which he moments before checked its location he discovered he had lost it. The hotel were marvellous and used the receipt to locate it and get it bought back to him. He went out for a quick explore, despite an attack of sciatica and some food. He chatted with Peng, made some arrangements for the next day and went to sleep in the 10th country he had been in since leaving England on the 12th January.


  1. Can’t believe you lost your passport! Thank goodness you got it back. Can’t wait to see the delights of Japan xx

  2. I think you’re 1 step ahead of the virus Nick. Out of S. Korea just a few hours before the outbreak there… I saw on a map, it’s between Seoul & Busan! Ah well, your sea trip looks very special and Japan an exciting detour.
    Have fun &, if you want to be sure to get along with the locals, just do a Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany…

  3. That was an exciting cliff hanger when you lost your passport. Don’t do tbat again. My heart stopped. I’m looking forward to more of Japan. X

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