Patrick Carey thinks he may be the only non-Japanese to have walked the entire distance of the Old Tokaido, from Tokyo to Kyoto, and to have written about it.

Last year Global Oriental published his account of his 25-day walk, "Rediscovering the Old Tokaido in the Footsteps of Hiroshige." This year Carey is broadcasting a series on the Old Tokaido for NHK Radio Japan. He said: "When I walked it, there didn't seem to be any other non-Japanese who had done it. If there is someone, I'd be interested to know. Some Japanese have done it, and they whizzed along. I did it very slowly, not only because of the blisters on my feet but also because everything was so interesting. As an outsider I was spotting everything, seeing different things." He was looking for "telltale signs, that somehow along here and there I was going to find what might be the Old Tokaido." He compared today's vistas with those depicted in the prints of Hiroshige's 53 stages. At times he was astonished at how some landscape scenes have endured.

Carey has a consuming interest in research. After 20 years here he still has undiminished enthusiasm for teaching Japanese students. He was a war baby in England, born during a 1940 air raid, and keeps a vivid memory, from when he was barely 4, of the sky filled with airplanes towing gliders on their way to the Arnhem landing. His was, he says, a very happy childhood in a family of six brothers and sisters who became doctors, lawyers and teachers. His father, a doctor, and his mother, a teacher, set the level of achievement and happiness.