Japan is a shiny surface that reflects your own image back to your eyes. You have to let your focus slide to see the people below the surface. Just so, the lotus leaves floating on Kyoyochi pond in Kyoto’s Ryoan-ji arrested my eye while we walked around it. But when I looked at my photo, I could see the more interesting sight of the flowering trees around the pond reflected in its waters. Strangely, this was clearer in the monochrome photo than in colour. Just so, when I worked around my difficulty with the language, I could make a fleeting connect with people’s lives. Travelling is more fun when you can do that.