Japan follows the Road to the Stars

Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa poses with the Chief Illustrator - guess which one is the cardboard cut-out!

Thirteen hours on a bumpy long-haul flight was a common experience for Yuri during the globetrotting years after his orbit of the Earth. The Soviet government wanted the maximum public relations benefit from his achievement, and he spent so long aboard his Ilyushin airliner that he began to sardonically refer to it as ‘Home’.

Thirteen hours on a bumpy long haul flight is as close as your non-intrepid illustrator wants to get to Yuri Gagarin’s experience, but it was worth it to follow Yuri’s footsteps to Japan, and to discover in a Tokyo exhibition, the pride and excitement associated with Japanese activities in space. The exhibition in the Tokyo International Forum covered the very successful ‘Hayabusa’ asteroid probe, and Japan’s contribution to the International Space Station. Being in the land of ‘cosplay’ (dressing up as your favourite characters and cartoon heroes) I couldn’t resist suiting up in the ISS overalls provided, and posing for this souvenir shot 🙂

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