Before I could escape the city, I had to relearn how to drive. The rental car was an automatic (pretty much standard in Japan), and I am used to driving manual. I couldn't remember how to drive the thing! My foot kept slamming on the brake. On that first wet Friday morning, I was a particularly dangerous driver.

Before I set out for Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture, I drove myself to a church car park where I took some time practicing, remembering advice from my dad to keep my left foot firmly tucked away from the pedals. Otherwise I’d be slamming on the brake the whole time, thinking it was the clutch pedal. I finally managed to cruise out of town, later than planned but still with city pop playing and breeze in my hair.

It would be my first time heading off on the open road since earning my Japanese driving license. I felt like I had to make the most of it and hit the road.