I had booked my trip home via London for several reasons. The first was that flying that direction happened to be less expensive. At first I balked at the idea of flying the "wrong way" around the earth to get home. After checking I found that I could stop in the UK for a bit and then continue to Florida with no penalty. After checking with friends in the UK I found that I could visit in various interesting places, and that I could travel by train for much of he distance.
How do you pack for that? For guidelines you look at the airline restrictions and at traveling convenience. I had already decided to reduce all that I had in Japan to the barest minimum. I had packed four boxes to be shipped by sea and had sent them on their way. The rest needed to fit into luggage that I could manage on my own. I was thankful for the airlines limits. Gone are the days of hauling two bags weighing 75 pounds as I did on my first trip to Japan!
I was finding it hard, funnily enough, to throw away old clothes. I could not buy clothes to fit me in Japan, so I rarely threw things away, choosing instead to keep them clean and mended as well as I could and carry on. During the packing process I managed to throw a lot of things away. I had to think too about the weather in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well. That meant I needed what I considered early winter gear in Japan. I was grateful that my friend Ruth M who was meeting me at Heathrow had mentioned that I could leave extra luggage at her place while I rambled about.
So, at the end of the day, I had packed my large hard-sided case on wonderful 360 degree wheels, the large wheeled duffel for which this was the last big trip, a wheeled carry-on, and my new red canvas bag which was combined purse, lunchbox and computer bag. This is really one bag too many to handle, but I had scouted ahead for information on the availability of wheeled buggies at my destinations.
Below are group pictures which are required at any Japanese gathering of note. In this case, they are of additional goodbye celebrations in my honor.