Wednesday 10 March 2004

The Occidental Tourist

Visitors are always welcome; that's what I said at the bottom of my previous post, and Tokyo-based ex-pat friend Euan took me at my word. A year-long e-mail silence was broken by my Oriental chum, announcing not his arrival in London, but that of one of his close friends. "Could you put Mochi up for a night?" he requested.

I hesitatantly accepted, not through any sense of meanness on my part, but because I always feel conflicted when offering accommodation. It's good to be generous, random acts of kindness can only improve the world and my karma; but on the other hand I'm slightly embarrassed that Linhope doesn't really reflect the kind of slick professional image I think it should portray. By my age I fully expected to be living in an airy penthouse apartment; imported maple floors, more windows than walls, a bed the size of Kent; making Margaritas in a brushed metal cocktail shaker for my playwright friends and journalist lovers as the sun set through the colours of a paintbox above the shimmering river surface. Linhope's, ahem, bohemian appearance doesn't quite paint that picture.

On top of that, approximately half the time people have crashed at my house poorly timed work commitments have put me in a hotel halfway across the country, preventing me from being the Noel Coward-esque gracious host I aspire to, and this time would be no exception.

Fortunately, Mochi, when he finally found the house last night, turned out to be fun and relaxed and had the grace to be genuinely excited when I showed him how to work the Sky remote control to get Spanish Football. I made him a cup of builder's tea, took him to the pub for a proper English pint, gave him a key to Linhope, then left to spend three nights in Nottingham for work. He's in Linhope with only Davis for company for two more nights, I can only hope he and the people of Japan don't hold it against me for long.

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