The press conference, anyway, was pleasurable and full of good humour. It is doubtful that anyone predicted a Benetton one-two for Nelson Piquet and Roberto Moreno, nor third place for Aguri Suzuki's Larrousse. Mr Honda's personal interest in one of the most tedious grands prix on record ended within two minutes, when Gerhard Berger's McLaren flew off the road. Already parked at the same point was what remained of Ayrton Senna's car, together with Alain Prost's Ferrari. The two title contenders had repeated their celebrated Japanese two-step.
"Where are we?" someone asked as we were trying to find the Suzuka circuit. "Eighty-seven kilometres from a stick man with a television aerial," came the reply. Well, that was what the sign looked like. Being a European in Japan is very frustrating, but there is always lots of laughter to offset the pain.
It is not a country geared to foreigners. They used to call visitors 'aliens' but now we have been downgraded. Being an alien was rather more exclusive.