IPA UK’s John Penlington enjoys good fellowship in Japan

16 Jul 2019


Clive in Japan 8Arriving in Tokyo, my wife Sylvia and I knew beforehand that Toru Warigaya from IPA Japan would meet us at our hotel. What we didn’t know, is what he had planned and how much we would be moved by the kindness and friendship shown to us.

Two hours after our arrival, Toru was waiting for us in the hotel lobby (it had taken him over an hour by train from his home address), and he took us by monorail and the underground, during the evening rush hour, to a shrine. Afterwards we dined at a typical Japanese restaurant. We asked Toru to select the dishes, and Sylvia and I had a chance to practise eating with chopsticks.

Back at our hotel, Toru left us stating that he would collect us at 8 am to catch the train to Shimbashi via Yokohama, then on to Kamakura for sightseeing. During the journey, three more IPA members got on at different stations Matsue, Tomoko and Daishi.These delightful people would stay with us all day.

During the day we visited a giant bronze Buddha statue, shrines, temples and gardens.

At lunch, we met the President of IPA Japan, and although he had only recently come out of hospital from a hip operation, he still came with us and also took us to a Samurai sword maker who had been in the same location for 25 generations.

IMG 2655As it was a long walk back to the station, the President telephoned his wife and we were driven there by car before we said our goodbyes to him. We were still with Toru and our three other companions.

Toru had already mentioned that we would meet up in Yokohama early evening for a small welcoming party with some IPA members – when we eventually arrived at a restaurant overlooking the police station, the ‘small welcoming party’ consisted of 20 serving and retired police officers.

While we dined, each member in turn came and stood at the side of my wife and me, introduced themselves and informed us what their police role was, and each person gave us a small personal gift.

We travelled back to Tokyo and en route said farewell to the three IPA Japan members who had been with us during the day, and eventually a very sad goodbye to Toru.

What a brilliant day! We could not have been treated better, but it didn’t end there.

The following day, we boarded our ship for a cruise round Japan and to Vladivostok.

On our return, we disembarked in Yokohama for our journey to the airport, and on the dockside waiting were Toru and Matsue waving an IPA flag. They stayed with us until our coach arrived and even wheeled our suitcases for us before waving us goodbye.

Sylvia and I will never forget these few days spent amongst friends of the Japanese IPA. Especially Toru, who made every effort to make sure our visit was pleasant and memorable.

Well Toru, I can tell you that it certainly was.   

John Penlington, IPA UK