After all - all the glorious food, all the kindness of strangers and all the beauty of my temporary hometown, its stars and sunrises - I think my most enduring memory of Japan will be how I was always trying to get somewhere else.

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I live on a remote island, and - having only a year here - I spend weekends and public holidays travelling as far as I can reach before Monday morning reels me back in. I hoard my annual leave like a dragon stashing diamonds; increments of time are my priceless treasures.

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Just one hour of leave taken on a Friday afternoon lets me make it to the ferry terminal in time to catch the last boat leaving the island, which itself arrives just in time for me to catch the connecting boat to the mainland; and from there the railways, the roads, the air are at my disposal.

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It’s hard to overstate the sense of freedom that overcomes me as that first little boat pulls out to sea.

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With all this time spent getting from A to B, it’s become essential to appreciate the beauty of the journey.

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