Silver Travel Book Club - January 2020

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Silver Travel Book ClubEach month, we'll find out what Andrew is reading about a different destination, and two lucky Silver Travel Book Club readers can win a free copy of the month's book.

HF HolidaysThis month the Silver Travel Book Club – proudly sponsored by
HF Holidays – is reading the life-affirming tale of time travel from a Tokyo cafe ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.

What would you change if you could go back in time?

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a cafe which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

Silver Travel Book ClubIn Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the cafe’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the cafe, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold...

Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story – translated from Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot – explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?

HF Holidays – Japan Guided Walking Holiday

Explore cultural contrasts in the Land of the Rising Sun. Journey through the ages as you explore Kyoto’s gardens, temples, palaces and shrines and wander through Gion, the city’s famous geisha district.

Meiji ShrineTravel in the footsteps of ancient times as you walk in the Japanese Alps along the Nakasendo Path, visiting old post-towns, and along one of Japan’s oldest roads, the Yamanobe-no-Michi in the Nara area.

Enjoy the vibrancy and vitality of modern Tokyo and visit the Meiji Shrine, which reflects its more traditional side.

In Nara, an ancient capital of Japan, meet the local wildlife and visit UNESCO temples and shrines. A visit to the ‘snow monkeys’ in the hot springs of Yudanaka Onsen is sure to be a highlight.

With the chance to stay in ryokan – traditional Japanese inns, which showcase regional cuisine with exquisite meals - you’ll truly be immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage of this fascinating nation.

Holiday highlights

  • Walk the historic Nakasendo Path through the Japan Alps
  • Explore the gardens and shrines of ancient Kyoto
  • Walk by lakes and mountains in the shadow of Mt Fuji
  • See the modern side of Japan in Tokyo and Kyoto
  • Stay in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, for an authentic experience
  • Try delicious and varied Japanese food

Option to extend your stay with Hiroshima & Miyajima. Please call 020 3974 8865 for more information.

What’s included

  • 11 nights accommodation in en-suite rooms (except in the ryokans, which usually have shared facilities)
  • Half board from dinner on arrival to breakfast on departure, less 1 dinner and plus 3 lunches
  • A full programme of guided walks led by an experienced local leader
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Travel by coach/minivan, train and public transport
  • Tips

More details

Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion
Torii Gates
Mt Fuji Temple

Before the Coffee Gets ColdHow to win a copy of 'Before the Coffee Gets Cold' by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Simply add a comment at the end of this page to tell us who you would like to meet if you could travel back in time.

Read more about all of our Silver Travel Book Club books.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 40 Comment(s)

  • Oggy
    4 months ago
    I would love to meet Agatha Christie as I have been a lifelong fan of hers. I've read everyone one of her books, some over and over again. I've been to visit her home Greenway, which is fascinating. I would just love to spend time with her and talk about her life, her love of writing, etc.
  • HenDdraig
    4 months ago
    How long would my coffee stay hot for? I would like to know what happened to Owain Glyndwr. He vanished in 1413, thought to have died in 1415. Did he really wander the country disguised as a shepherd, or live secretly with his daughter near Hereford?mWhere is his grave? If my coffee is in a thermal cup, I'd also love to witness the Parliament in Machynlleth, but we'd have to hope time travel works in mysterious ways, because that was a good decade earlier. He would be about our age, a well travelled and educated man with a great many tales to tell.
  • robertd4
    4 months ago
    Id go back and talk to my grandfather who I never met as he passed away before I was born.....
  • SilverTravelEditor
    4 months ago
    Thanks for all the stimulating comments from Silver Travel Book Club members this month. We've had some great suggestions about who you would like to meet if you could travel back in time, similar to the concept experienced by the characters in this month's book 'Before the Coffee Gets Cold' by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.

    It's got me thinking about my own experience of Japan and although it's not that long ago, I would love to travel back to the early 1990s, to chat with my old boss. He was the very wealthy owner of a large business, built up by his father. My boss wasn't typically Japanese. With hindsight, he was a bit of a playboy, travelling around the world buying up businesses that interested him (jewellery and watches, hotels and restaurants..and even a Formula 1 racing team). I enjoyed the ride but thought it was all a bit mad at the time!

    I would love to ask him what his strategic thinking was back then, and how the business and his life have evolved since the 1990s.

    There are a few days left to let us know who YOU would like to meet if you could travel back in time, to be in with a chance of winning a copy of the life-affirming story told in 'Before the Coffee Gets Cold'.

  • Rockfan747
    4 months ago
    I'd go back to 1982 and meet up with my best friend who sadly died in August that year.
  • GypsyWanderer
    4 months ago
    At present I am writing my autobiography for my children. A very ordinary life really but searching back to my grandparents lives is quite an eyeopener. They lived through two world wars and brought up large families. I have discovered that my grandmother, as a young woman, was a shell filler in the largest munitions factory in England. Was she there on any of the three days when there were explosions? Was she frightened working there? Did her skin go yellow with the cordite she handled?
    Then my grandfather. How did he feel about being discharged from the army because he had severe psoriosis? And how many times did he appear in court for poaching?
    My maternal grandparents were Maltese and lived through the seige of Malta in world war two. So many questions to ask about that time but also why had my grandmother been made to marry when she wanted to become a nun?
    I would love to meet them all and ask about their past but would I have enough time? How long does it take for the coffee to get cold?
  • Manzara
    4 months ago
    I lost a very dear friend, Maggie, about 30 years ago. She died from several strokes before she celebrated her 50th birthday. She was intelligent and loved a good old discussion about the world and its people! If I could travel back in time, I would tell her how wonderful the world is now....despite its problems! She would love to experience my clever Android phone with its brilliant built in camera and the ability to 'talk' to anyone anywhere by text! And to send photos! She would be so thrilled!
  • Redwineaje62
    4 months ago
    I would go back in time and meet my ancestors! Would love to know more about my family history.
    4 months ago
    I'd love to go back and meet Oscar Wilde - with his ingenious wit and intellect, he would be a fascinating person to talk to! I think he would be pretty amused at how different the world is today compared to his day........
  • GrannyCR
    4 months ago
    I would like to meet Ernest Shackleton to find out so much more about exploring the Antarctic.
  • philatel
    4 months ago
    I would love to go back in time and meet both sets of grandparents - sadly, I did not have the opportunity to know any of them because they all died when my parents were very young. It has fascinated me, though, to know more about all of them so have been trying to trace back and do a family tree.
  • SilverTravelEditor
    4 months ago
    Thanks for the thoughtful comments on this month's Silver Travel Book Club challenge, everyone. Lovely to hear who you would like to meet if you could travel back in time, like the visitors to the cafe in a Tokyo alley in 'Before the Coffee Gets Cold' by Toshikazu Kawaguchi are empowered to do.

    @Stones - I really enjoyed reading what you'd like to chat about with Rudyard Kipling. The success and longevity of Jungle Book are amazing, aren't they!

    @Easyliving - what a poignant hope for your time travel. Do you know if that person is still alive, I wonder...?

    Please keep the comments coming to be in with a chance to win a copy of this month's enchanting Silver Travel Book Club read.
  • Stones
    4 months ago
    I would love to go back in time to meet Rudyard Kipling in the writers bar at Raffles Hotel, Singapore. We would discuss Jungle Book and I would show him clips of the various different films of the book.
    I would ask how he feels that the book is still so famous and popular over 120 years after he wrote it and finally I would ask him to sign my copy of the book.
  • Oggy
    5 months ago
    If I could go back in time, I would love to meet both sets of my grandparents as they died long before I was born. Both sets of grandparents had very interesting lives: my paternal grandparents were bought up in India - the days of the Raj - and my grandfather sadly died at his post during the First World War. Although he was seriously ill he would not leave his post. My maternal grandparents were bought up in London - grandfather worked at the Cafe Royal in London and met many famous people, including Edward VIII who abdicated, so I would love to hear some of his stories. My grandmother was a dressmaker to wealthy people and she also had many stories to tell. Most of all I would like to meet both sets of grandparents and say "thank you", for without them I would never have been born.
  • Easyliving
    5 months ago
    I would love to go back to a time when I was 12 ...1960 and right a wrong. 59 years later I still remember how thoughtless I was. I would like to meet that person and say 'sorry'.
  • boxster
    5 months ago
    i would love to meet my paternal grandparents and my maternal grandfather as I dont even know who they are. As a grandparent to two lovely children now it really brings home to me the massive gap in my childhood memories and experiences
  • Happy-Traveller_3
    5 months ago
    If I could travel back in time I would like to meet my paternal grandparents and find out more about them "before the coffee gets cold". They both died a couple of years before I was born. I don't know a lot about them as sadly my father died when I was 13 so I didn't really have an opportunity as an adult to talk to him about them. I had a very good relationship with my maternal grandparents and am very grateful that I saw a lot of them as a child and during adulthood - they were both alive until I was well into my twenties. I would like to win "Before the coffee gets cold" as it sounds as though it would be a good read.
  • doublet
    5 months ago
    I want to travel back in time and meet John Carter in the 1970s and get him to ask me onto his travel quiz show, "Where In the World".
  • Leah50
    5 months ago
    I'd love to meet any one of the great ocean explorers, what must it have been like to travel the raging seas without knowing if you'd ever reach land?
  • boats12
    5 months ago
    Eric Morecambe - there isn't enough laughter in the world and I just had to look at him and he made me laugh. My husband, many years ago passed him on the M6 driving his roller and he turned and lifted his glasses in fun. I would love to just curl up on a sofa with a cup of tea and talk to him about his life.
  • Rowsie
    5 months ago
    I would love to meet Emmeline Pankhurst. I have always admired her and have read a lot about her but it would be wonderful to talk to her and find out what started her on the liberation for women route and I would also like to find out what she thinks of women today. (I do wonder what she would think about Love Island!)
  • Ozdevon
    5 months ago
    I would like to meet my Grandfather & ask him all those questions I didn't know I should ask when I was 11. What was it like sailing to Australia in the 1880's? Did you vote for Queensland to join other colonies to form Australia? And the list goes on.
  • Stonedecroze
    5 months ago
    I would like to go back and meet my grandfather who died before I was born.
  • GypsyWanderer
    5 months ago
    I am writing my autobiography for my children and realise how little I know about my parents lives before me. Dad was a Working class Yorkshire man and Mum a fisherman’s daughter from Malta. They had such different childhoods. They met during W.W.2 in Malta and survived starvation, siege and bombings. They were chaperoned and he had to become a Catholic in order to marry her. There is so much I don’t know and now it is too late to ask them so yes, I would like to meet up with my young parents and ask all the questions it is now too late to ask.
  • Sunflowergirl
    5 months ago
    We would love to visit Blenheim Palace, the gardens are beautiful. My 83 year old mother would love to see the house and Gardens and explore the history regarding Winston Churchill which is her era. It would make her day to visit such a beautiful place whilst she able to travel.