I started my last day in Matsumoto in a hotel onsen. The morning breeze blew dark red leaves into the outdoor pool. Through the steam I looked up at a pale blue sky and densely forested hills. Except for a fat man from Gibraltar, I had the whole place to myself.
Afterwards I whizzed round town Japanese-style, on the back of a mama-chari (mother's bike). The centre
had been closed for a festival. Stall fronts flapped in the wind, there was the smell of red beans and fried noodles, teenagers jumped around to hip-hop on a stage under traffic lights, a jazz band played in front of a cafe, a dance troupe blocked a street. By the time it got dark, we were already halfway home.