There was a moment underneath the low-ceiling in Kaikaro in downtown Kanazawa, with film crews in our faces, backed by clicking cameras, when I wondered if the belt on my kimono was too tight. It would have gone some way to explaining why my head had gone numb.
It had just been announced that we would be the official Travel Volunteers. In response, our mouths were making noises about the “trip of a lifetime” and being “humble” and “proud” – which were all absolutely true – but the whole thing raced away from us like an out-of-body experience. People say getting married is like this: an excited blur, in which you are only a bit-part player.
Then came a swell of responsibility: the two dozen people in the room had picked us to represent their businesses, their towns – their entire country. Behind us, we could feel the disappointment of the other finalists. We had said we would be the best: now we will have to prove it.
The tight belts have long been removed, but as we get ready to start visiting Japan’s 47 prefectures, the numb, excited feeling will be with us for a while yet.