I landed on an island 12 October. I spent a few days there and visited someone I’ve known for years. After a few days, I travelled by an exceptionally fast — and famous — train to the mainland. I continued on an island journey first to the industrial heartland and a city with a great merchant tradition before taking a journey to the ancient capital where I had a proper tea. I travelled by express train across plains and through hills to a coastal town famous for its preserved buildings and rich traditional culture. I am now sitting near the centre of the country surrounded by high peaks.