Prologue: Turning Japanese

What (or who) is Mikki checking out?

Although we’re flying to Japan today, our travels within the island nation will be mostly by train. And from what I’ve read, even the bullet trains don’t easily accommodate American-style super-size luggage. It seems the Japanese prefer their things smaller. (If you’re thinking what I’m thinking – don’t go there.)

Besides that, we’ll also need to travel somewhat light for our African safari next February. So after a decade or so of tireless service, we finally retired Bertha I and II. Those of you who’ve traveled with us will no doubt fondly recall our pair of ginormous silver hard-shell cases. The ones that frustrated cab drivers on six continents as they stood on a curb trying to figure out how to fit both pieces – and us – into a compact taxi sedan.

Since our new luggage will be making its inaugural trip to Japan, we figured that, along with being smaller, it ought to be shiny and colorful. And so we introduce to the world our new orange and blue traveling companions. They’re still hard-shell, but as yet unnamed. We’re open to suggestions.


Who’s the little fellow sitting on top of the orange piece? That would be Mikki, our antique Kokeshi doll. Like all traditional Kokeshi dolls, Mikki is made of wood and hand-painted. And like Linda Blair in the Exorcist, his head can spin around 360 degrees.

We’re not exactly sure how old Mikki is, though the early post-WWII period is probably about right. We’re also not sure how or when he came to America. But being another small Japanese thing, we thought we’d bring him along for good luck.

There’s just one problem with having Mikki around. Sometimes I swear he’s following me with his eyes, even though he’s supposedly just, you know, an inanimate object.




OK, so Mikki can be a little creepy at times. Actually, in the darker parts of one’s imagination he can be downright demonic.

Hmm. I think we’ll leave Mikki home after all. Maybe we’ll bring him back a girlfriend to keep him occupied. Or should it be a boyfriend? I have no idea which way Mikki swings. Though if I had to guess, I’d say he probably…goes both ways.

Yeah. Pretty creepy.

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  1. mda

    GatorI and GatorII

  2. Juliet

    To say that I look forward to you going away is a real compliment. I am not trying to get rid of you and I love the entertainment your posts bring to my life. I am so excited to hear what you think about Japan as I was there last year and my husband travels there at least four times a year.

  3. James Magruder

    Suitcase names: Raymond and Connie Marble.

    Question: How did you acquire Mikki?

    Have a great trip and don’t forget us when you come back.

    1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

      Mikki was found in a box. Mysterious, don’t you think?

  4. john Goldbloom

    Suitcase names- Thelma & Louise, or better yet Bert & Ernie

    1. Cecelia Garmer

      I’d agree with Thelma and Louise except I’d fear the two two bags would roll off a cliff. My vote instead is for Geena and Susan.

      1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

        All great suggestions! One of Bert and Ernie is blue, right? No wait, that’s the Cookie Monster.

  5. Gilligan

    How about Ho and Mo?!?!? 😉

  6. Elizabeth

    Great post ☺… suitcases names…Marco and Polo ?
    As per Mikki… ojo… did you notice those little tiny holes? ??????

    1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

      Marco and Polo – another great one. But if Thelma and Louise might fall off a cliff, M&P might jump into a pool!

  7. Abbe

    Suitcases- Batman and Robin
    As for Mikki- looks like Chuckie- don’t take it ANYWHERE!!!!
    Have a safe trip! Can’t wait for your adventures!

    1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

      Mikki is either harmless…or deadly…thank goodness he has no arms.

  8. Juliet Brown

    Suitcase Names: Pinkie and Perkie

  9. Mike

    Suitcase names: Fred & Ethel

    Have fun, only eat the pufferfish that does not kill you, not the one that does kill you.

    1. Craig David Singer (Post author)

      To quote one of the all-time great TV shows: “Ah…poison…poison…tasty fish!”

  10. Vicki

    Have a great trip! Looking forward to your stories and pics!


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