Thursday, 22 June 2017


It was my first shopping excursion since I’d arrived in Tokyo. I was standing in front of a large display, wondering why a cartoon mouse was the mascot for a line of rice cakes, when a figure standing just out of my line of sight sneezed.

I didn’t look over, I just said “Gesundheit” in their general direction.

The figure, a young Japanese woman, turned and smiled broadly at me, forcing me to turn and notice them as she began to speak quickly in German at me.

She seemed disappointed when I explained that I was English, and an atheist…

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