09/04/2021 at 2:33 PM CEST
Most of the trips in Tokyo are made in taxi, the most efficient means of transport in a huge city where the Paralympic venues are very far from each other and where the schedules of the Paralympic buses do not always coincide with our interests.
When you arrive in the Japanese capital and take the first taxi, it is surprising that the doors are automatic and especially the white crochet covers that everyone, absolutely everyone, wears impeccably on their seats.
But if taxi drivers are distinguished for something, it is because they do not speak English, well, rather, because they do not speak. Not a word when you have wasted approximately 10 minutes for them to understand your destination. It is very curious to hear them repeat exactly the same word that you have said when finally, looking at our mobile with the name of the destination in Japanese, they discover where we want to go. But hey, it will be a matter of accents … Once the arrival point is clarified, You can do a ten minute or three hour ride, like how long it took us to Izu to see the cycling, but they don’t speak, zero conversation.
When we are nearing the end of our trip to cover the Paralympic Games, with 13 days behind us, we get into a taxi to take us to the hotel and … surprise! A taxi driver of about 55 years (impossible to place the exact age of the Japanese) begins to ask us questions in English, laughs constantly and is talkative. He seems to have been born in Latin lands more than in Japanese territory. He is Sumio and he is the best taxi driver we have ever met.
When he finds out that we are Spanish, the joy is maximum. He explains that he has been to Madrid, Barcelona and Ibiza and that he immediately fell in love with our country. He met jewelry designer Joaquín Berao during a service in Tokyo and they became such friends that Berao, who has stores in Madrid, Valencia, Milan and Tokyo itself, invited him to his home in Madrid if he ever traveled to Spain. Sumio did not think twice and as soon as he could he visited our country: “Joaquin came to pick me up at the airport!” He remembers with his permanent smile.
He liked the sun, the food – “paella and sangria” he always remembers laughing – the beach in Barcelona and Ibiza … everything he visited.
Friend of another As journalist during the Olympics
But not only Berao and we are already friends of Sumio, suddenly shows us the photo of the accreditation of Pablo M. Díez, journalist from ABC who came to cover the Olympics a few days before us. Among the four journalists who were in the taxi is Laura Marta, also from ABC and partner of Pablo in sports “but if it’s Pablo !!! We freaked out all four of us, we couldn’t believe because there are thousands of taxis in Tokyo. What a coincidence!
It’s just the little things that make the job of special envoys more enjoyable. Thank you for everything Sumio and especially for your sympathy.