How many of you foreign residents in Japan have itchy feet right now? By definition, the foreigners living in Japan must have some predisposition to travel, or else they wouldn’t have made it to these shores.

I certainly know that I, a Scotsman in Tokyo, have itchy feet. I want to feel warm sand shifting under my toes. I want to smell some exotic, spicy food wafting from a pushcart stall. I want to hear the bustle of foreign accents haggling over prices in a night market. These things stir the soul and refresh the jaded mind.

And yet experiencing these things and scratching the travel itch is more problematic than ever. It was always expensive to fly abroad, both in terms of money and time. Increasingly, there's also a guilt element attached. Perhaps future generations suffering from catastrophic climate change will think us dastardly for taking air travel so lightly. And now there are the restrictions and fears caused by the pandemic. Some borders are shut, and prefectural leaders are getting nervous about welcoming urbanites to their rural homes. And some of us have been scared to sit in a coffee shop for 10 minutes, let alone a cramped economy-class cabin with no open windows for a few hours. That’s just the wrong kind of cabin fever.