I was in Dejima, the old trading post in the bay of Nagasaki. It was first used by the Portuguese, then the Dutch, and for centuries it was one of the few places where Japan had contact with the rest of the world.

I was walking around in one of the town houses. Since I am tall and doorways here are not, I was about to bow down to get my head through, when a high school girl behind me shouted “takai!”, “tall”. I am used to surprised exclaims about my stature, so as usual I looked at her, smiled and nodded. You should have seen the shock on her face. I turned away from her and was about to leave when I heard her mutter “kikoeta”, “he understood”. Then she ran away to her friends and excitedly discussed her encounter with a giant.