We had been in Japan for almost three weeks and our impression of the country was primarily influenced by the charming people we met. We were always treated with respect and everyone appeared interested to hear who we were and where we came from and they went out of their way to offer us help whenever they could.
The Japanese appeared to us to be very cultured and civilised, their food was delicious and healthy and made with the freshest of ingredients. There were very few fat Japanese, particularly the older generation. The countryside in Hokkaido was, in the main, unspoiled and extremely beautiful. The city was litter free, efficient and dotted with lovely parks and gardens.
We left the country feeling we would like to return some time soon to visit a people genuinely willing to treat a foreigner with a bow and a friendly smile. We felt they were delighted we were visiting their country and they did everything possible to make sure we were helped when we needed it. Not many spoke more than a few words of English but we were often understood if we showed them a word written down. Those who did speak our language seemed delighted to stop and have a chat.
Our thanks were due to our generous hosts, Rita and Brian Shell who were kind enough to invite us to join them on the trip and especially to their son, Jonny and his wife Ayuko who did so much to make our stay enjoyable. We very much appreciate their kind generosity.