Passengers alighted to a full immigration check in the terminal building. Visitors were required to place the index finger on a scan to take the fingerprint and gaze into a camera for a photograph. Some passengers queried the immigration check. Some complained they did not want to disembark in Japan, one was heard to comment, “We won the war.” A shuttle Bus transported those who wished to see the city into the CBD. Maizura is a clean and tidy town and some of the building remain old Japanese style. One that is definitely worth visiting.
The friendliness and politeness of people in the cities visited on the journey to Japan was noticeable in all ports; Korea was similar to Japan and it seemed the further north one ventured, the friendliness of the people increased.
In Japan the traditional bow to greet and politeness was overwhelming. This was a city where the Samurai influence persisted and the dress was on occasions seen. Zen Buddhism was dominant with many temples open to visitors. Although evidence of the Cherry Blossom was visible, the tree’s were not in full flower.
At Honso, on the northern tip of the south island of Japan, the ship berthed. The city was surrounded by snow caped hills on three sides.
Tokyo was the next stop. The Sea Princess docked at a terminal and passengers began to alight from the ship. The view from deck twelve, the open air deck, Tokyo demonstrated its size and population with huge and widespread buildings.
A shuttle bus to the city, in all cities provided by Princess Lines, deposited guests close to the city centre. Wide streets and buildings , some of Japanese style and other modern structures that towered to the sky, The array of shopping centres included Japanese and western names in abundance. The flow of traffic was orderly and driving in this city would be a breeze compared to Singapore or Hong Kong. The brief visit to Tokyo clearly placed it on a par with the cities of Singapore and Hong Kong; in many respects it was the superior. The type of city where spending a month or two would be an experience.
The friendliness of the people, quite tall men and beautiful girls was evident and passing a stranger on the street the visitors invariably experienced a bow and a greeting.
The crossing of the equator on the return journey was interrupted by a visit from King Neptune and his Court. From his Throne, the King passed judgments on those brought before him. Some of the penalties were harsh and excessive. The mildest penalty was being forced to kiss a huge and angry fish whose jaws could easily remove a nose; even a head. Curiously, passengers not arraigned before the King agreed with the harsh penalties imposed by King Neptune.
Like all stories, a slow Boat to China must come to an end. This story is merely an overview and other stories may be written to follow.
“I’d Love to get you, on a slow boat to China,” is a song that was popular over many years. It is not meant to imply that the Sea Princess was by any means slow. By the roundabout route the ship covered the journey to China In around twenty-three days and frequently reached speed of twenty-one to twenty-two nautical mile per hour.
In Tokyo, Captain William Kent handed the command of Sea Princess to Captain Paola Ravera for the return journey that took only eight days. Some passengers suggested a hijack of the ship and return to the countries visited.
The names of many who helped make this a memorable journey are omitted. There were so many, forgetting a particular name would be unthinkable. The crew, bar and restaurant staff, ships officers and the entertainers, some who came from the crew, and the passengers themselves was excellent. Congratulations and sincere thanks to all.
Slow Boat to China by John Gavin © 2016.
Printed and published by PiandO ,
Above: A statue in Vietnam.
Right: The Mermaid on a rock in Korea.