In the evening there is a large reception for all the speakers, organizers and doctors attending the JSCN conference. A wonderful display of local traditional dancing is given. The dance is one performed originally to ask the gods to keep the fishermen safe at sea, so the dancers' costumes are blue like the ocean and the designs on them represent the waves. (I, unfortunately, wasn't so fast with my camera, so only got the dancers coming off the stage.)

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They are accompanied by traditional instruments

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Then it is the next morning and back to giving interviews. Happy at our work, the reporter and I blow kisses at each other . . .

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No, no, no, no, not really!!

This is Mr. Okamoto from the important Kumamoto newspaper Nichinichi and we are actually doing a very serious interview. On the left is my interpreter Nobuko Johnson.

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Then Yuri, Masako and I go out to visit Kumamoto bookstores with the sales representative Mr. Tezuka of Hayakawa (my Japanese publisher). I love walking through the streets of Kumamoto. Many are covered over, but unlike in Britain where the covered streets are to protect people from the rain, here they protect from the hot sun, as this part of Japan is very, very warm in summer. This is one of the main shopping streets.

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Here we are in Tsutaya bookstore. We're pleased to see many great displays of books. (That's Masako on the left, me and Yuri. For anyone who has lost count by this point in the story, Masako is a renown translator who has done all my books in Japan. Yuri is my editor from Hayakawa and has edited all my books here.)

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At Kinokuniya Bookstore, the manager Mr. Takezawa invited us all in for tea. He then asks me to do a very Japanese thing, which is to sign one of these white boards. They are about the size of an ordinary sheet of paper but are actual a hard kind of poster board with a decorative edge. It is typical to request celebrities or other important people to sign and date such a board to commemorate a special event and this will then be displayed.

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Afterwards, Mr. Takezawa and his staff very kindly present me with a wonderful bouquet of flowers - lilies, roses, freesia, carnations - in honour of my birthday.

The girl holding the signed card is Mihoko, who is a particularly devoted fan and so the staff have asked me to sign a special board just for her.

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