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XK in the Land of the Rising Sun - Part Three

Philip and Yvonne Haslam are long time Twyford Moors customers having had their XK120 restored by us over ten years ago. Since then they have taken their trusty Jaguar on many trips around the world. Here's an update from their latest journey across Japan.

 

Jaguar XK120 touring Japan"Hello again,

Well, Expert No. 6 turned up yesterday, a reputed auto electrical wizard. In a flash ( indicators - get it ?) he diagnosed the problem as being a loose or corroded rivet in the control box. Frantic scraping and sandpapering, and we were up and running with all 4 lights in full working order. Result ! Good, these experts aren't they ?

Well, I must confess that before coming on this trip, I knew nothing about the topography of Japan, save that they had Mount Fiji,  and skied a lot. I wasn't prepared for just how hilly the whole country has been so far, with steep sided vertiginous mountains  -  so steep in fact that it has been almost impossible to construct roads over them, so they took the least line of resistance,  and built mile after mile of tunnels.

The mountains are covered in a luxurious growth of fresh green leafy trees interspersed with masses of flowering cherry trees. Occasionally,  we come across narrow valley bottoms in which small traditional villages nestle, utilising every area of level ground to cultivate their own rice fields and tea plantations. The villages comprise timber houses, with artistically trimmed trees and shrubs,  surrounded by cherry trees and magnolias, As we move further northwards the blossoms are becoming increasingly richer and denser, with every shade from pure white to the deepest crimson.

Concrete structures in JapanThe last time we met, we had staggered up to 3rd place overall. Well, since then, Phil and Keiron,  in their Triumph Stag, had an 'issue'  up in the mountains on a regularity section, and, disappointingly for them, they slithered down the field, leaving us in an astonishing 2nd place. However, there is a long way to go yet, and we are constantly looking over our shoulders. Creeping up ominously quickly behind us is a 5 litre Ford Falcon,  complete with all the bells and whistles. Marco is a ferociously quick driver out on the race circuits, much quicker than us, so, we shall just have to hang on in there and see how the last 7 or 8 days pan out.

Speaking of the regularity sections, these have been exceedingly testing. Whilst I mentioned that the mountains are steep sided, years ago,  the original roads wound their way up and over the slopes with hairpin bend after hairpin bend for mile after mile. Since the tunnels have been formed, these roads have been virtually unused, leaving them in near perfect condition, and ideal for the rally. The speeds that have been set make for some extremely challenging driving, and the screams from many a navigator could be heard,  ringing through the hills ( with the exception, I must add, of my own navigator, who constantly amazes with the 'cool as a cucumber' look.) Incidentally,   some of the land stabilisation has to be seen to be believed, with whole hillsides meshed together with amazing concrete 'knitting'. I hope that there is photo attached , showing what I mean.

Can you believe it. Driving into the heart of downtown  Tokyo yesterday afternoon,  in the midst of rush hour traffic, fighting through 13 million folk, our freshly 'sorted' indicators packed in. This time, not just 1 rear light, but now all 4 of the little beggars. Expert no. 6 clearly has some work to do. Who would be an 'expert' for heavens sake.

You know how I have gone on a bit about WCs ,  well, I'm also now going to go on a bit about some of the food we have been having. Firstly, you should know that all the food is hugely decorative, but the tastes vary from 'tasteLESS', through 'sublime', to 'awful', 'appalling', and ,' frankly indescribable'.  The colours range from vivid and luminescent primary colours, to 50 shades of fawn.

Jaguar XK120 touringOne night we were staying in a Japanese Temple, where the evenings fare was a vegetarian meal, which seemed to combine the worst of tastelessness with furiously powerfull pickles, the combination of which was beyond belief. However, worse was to come the following morning, when the previous nights leftovers were imaginatively blended with a fearful  combination of ingredients,  the worst of which was a bowl of cold glutinous rice, into which we were encouraged  to break a raw egg,  mix with a flavoursome blend of sawdust, then wrap in a piece of iridescent seaweed. For a chap who has been brought up on Kellogs  for breakfast, this really was a step too far !

I really mustn't paint too dark a picture here though. Generally the food has been superb  -  when you get used to it. We have had superb banquets, and have been looked after like kings.

I can't leave you however without mentioning that the great WC saga continues. Last night we came across yet another fascinating feature  -  that of an automatic flushing mechanism. The general idea is that once the encumbant has completed activities, the displacement of weight on the seat activates the flush. The problem I forsee here, is that should one slightly ease ones position, then one would be in danger of upsetting the 'rinse and dry' facility,  with potentially disastrous consequences. Whatever next.

So tomorrow we head northwards again. 

Keep in touch, and thanks again for all the kind remarks about Sheffield United's championship win  -  or hadn't I mentioned it ?

Phillip San and Mrs. Y San."

Fully restored Jaguar XK120 DHC on track

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