Heathrow!

It has been... loooong time since I was in this airport of Heathrow!
On the way back to Tokyo, I am looking back...


I arrived here in the end of the summer of 1988, from Tokyo.

I had one huge blue suitcase somesonite, and I knew nobody on this side of the planet.

In fact I wept in the plane but it was rather long flight and I had time to regain myself,
then even got bored, I remember!

The custom control was quite severe and impressive, but as it was my very first time abroad,
I had nothing to compere to.

I just thought "It must be like this in the airport anywhere,"
and told myself "Now I must show all my papers that my father prepared for me to get my student visa".

I had repeated and rehearsed my phrases so many times in my head that I was really ready
to confront the Custom man.

He looked very British.
There was something quite different in him from the Americans whom I had met in Tokyo.

He examined my papers.
He looked as if he understood all what I was saying.
But he, curiously, told me to give me a visa for one year.

Hot in my face, I eagerly told him that I had a four year course at the College and not ONE year.

"No, no, not one year, FOUR years, to study organ, with Mister Nicholas Danby in London!"

After few minutes of desperate arguing, the man looked almost amused and spoke no more.

THE paper for four years visa with his signature and plenty of stamps in my passport,
at last I got lid of the Custom desk and into the new world.



A year later, when my friend Fujio-chan was about to go to the Japanese Embassy
for renewing her annual visa asked me if I was coming with her.

I asked her why she had not asked for four years visa in the first place.

And she told me, that the visa in my passport had a rare value.

"They NEVER give FOUR years visa!! I have never seen that!!"



Now I wonder how much my powerful ignorance should have helped me during all four years in London.
















追記。

ヒースロー空港…
ひっっっさしぶりに来ました、ロンドンヒースロー空港。1988年秋に初めて留学でここに来たときの話を書きました。今こそ、ここの入国審査は厳しいので有名なのを知っていますが、父の揃えてくれた書類を手に、大学の終わるまでの4年間のヴィザをもらおうと頭の中で何度も練習した英会話フレーズを繰り返し、粘り強く話して、ついにパスポートにはんこをもらったときの安堵。のちに友人には「4年のヴィザなんて見た事ない!」とあきれられたのでした。通常は、1年ごとに大使館で更新するのだそうです。でもそんなこと知らないから私は空港で必死だった…。4年間この「知らないから必死です!」の姿勢で、むりやり乗り切ったようなもんだよなあ〜。
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