New Riddle

Here’s my new riddle:

How on earth to pack as lightly as possible, for a week in Japan that includes a 3hr-layover in Singapore to pick my husband up, hand him his winter jacket, drastic changes in weather between three cities, and oh by the time I arrive at Narita on Saturday evening, I would have flown a total of 20 hrs, crossed three time zones, and not only will I be bloating pre-menstrally, my legs (and feet) will turn into what the Japanese refer to as, daikon ashi– (legs resembling a radish).

Daikon ashi and its swollen feet friends make it very tricky to fit into the Lowlands, or the Acne ankle boots.


There is a reason why for centuries, Japanese people wore open-toe sandals, even in the dead of winter…

So I tried building a wardrobe.


Two jackets- one for hotter days, and the other for when it gets colder towards the end of the week, and for London.  The idea of carrying more than one jacket is unleashing the petulant me.  I really don’t travel with so many things!

Two dresses-

The Lilith dress that entered my life on Monday was what I had originally wanted to wear on the plane.  But it’s made of wool, and when I finally see my husband again, at Changi International Airpot, I don’t want his first sighting of me after such a long absence to be of my drowning, in my own sweat.


My husband is very exacting.  I know what he likes.  He likes Mrs Chan utterly groomed, and unquestionably kawaii (cute).


This dress is going places in Japan. Look at it above, already scripting my life- Taxi!  Sumimasen, eigo wa dekimasuka?  Ja… so desu ne… daijobu… ah no, Mori Museum wa, ikimasu.  Onegaishimasu.

(Crude) Translation:  Taxi!  Excuse me, do you speak English?  Oh, er, I see…that’s ok.  Please can you take us to the Mori Museum?  Thank you very much.

I would like to bring the Red Valentino along.  It’s an easy dress to wear, delivering instant kawaii.


Worn with an over-sized boyfriend jacket, and recently-found Butapana knit scarf- all menstral bloat will be swiftly hidden away.  Throw on my faithful vintage coat, and surely even Ono-san at Sukiyabashi Jiro, might, just might, be persuaded to roll me that very American, possibly sacrilegious concoction, spicy-tuna maki, and not take any offence.


Oiishikatta, Ono-san.  It’s delicious.  Wait, chotto matte.  I can do better.  Mo ichi do, one more time.


Totemo oiishikatta!  It’s very delicious!  Gochisousama deshita!  Thank you so much for the wonderful meal.

Sigh.  21:00hrs London.  I’ve checked in.  And I’m still unpacked.  Riddle remains unsolved.  Nemui desu.  I’m sleepy.  Maybe I’ll go practise, my bowing.

  •  The Lilith dress and Butapana scarf can be purchased at Olivia May, 31 Little Clarendon Street, Oxford


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