A memorable phrase, even though the answer needs much concentration: “denwa bango” is the Japanese for “telephone number”. We have also learned to tell the time: 5.55 pm is “gogo goji gojugofun” – time to go home and have some fun.
Having been advised by email from bootsnall that the best flight deals could go up to 200 days in advance, I have booked all my flights for a total cost of less than £2000. LHR-KEF-YHZ-BOS then overland to Seattle – SJC, SFO-ICN, Korea to Japan by boat, then NRT-HKG-HAN-REP-DEL-LHR. Only two seriously long legs, San Francisco to Seoul (12 hours) and home from Delhi (15 hours), the latter being the only one where I have to change planes apart from Siem Reap to Delhi, which if more adventurous I could have avoided by going by bus to the Cambodia/Thailand border and on to Bangkok by train. And no very early starts or late landings. Even with this much notice, the flight I chose from Hong Kong to Hanoi was fully booked at the price offered, but Cristina at Bootsnall helpfully rerouted me to Vietnam Airlines for a small extra cost.
In the third week of the Japanese course, we practised telling each other the prices of various goods, ranging from 7350 yen for a pair of trousers to 53 yen for a pencil. Although the basic numbering system is fairly simple, I find it hard to concentrate on more than one digit at a time, but I found an app which should help me. And we haven’t got on to writing them yet.
Since ¥ 500 is about £3, I may well be dealing with 5-digit numbers as the answer to “Are wa ikura desuka” (How much does that cost?). The basic price of the Kumano Kodo trek is ¥ 362 000, or san ju roku man ni sen en.
As a first commitment to my round-the-world trip, I have taken out travel insurance with “Go Walkabout” – a good name for what I want to do, and a good price.
From now on, my journeys start from here: a two-roomed flat in Greenwich Millennium Village.