Space mission was like a dream, Japanese astronaut Wakata Koichi says

Japanese astronaut Wakata Koichi has described his experience in space as dreamlike. He returned to Earth from the International Space Station, or ISS, last week.

Wakata and the three astronauts who returned home with him spoke to reporters at the Johnson Space Center in the southern US state of Texas on Wednesday.

He said, "I really felt what happened in the last five months was really in a dream." He went on to say that he managed to accomplish "many things with a great crew, with a real can-do crew."

Wakata had been at the ISS since last October. During his five-month stay, he made his first spacewalk and conducted various experiments that may provide helpful information for future moon and Mars explorations.

Asked whether he wants to go to space again, he said "space is my passion." He added that he would like to "keep flying."

But Wakata also said he hopes to use his experiences to support his successor Furukawa Satoshi. Furukawa is scheduled to begin a long stay at the ISS as early as this year. Wakata also mentioned that he would like to help newly-selected Japanese astronauts as well.

The Japanese astronaut said he wants to eat sushi and ramen noodles when he gets home.

Wakata said he would like to be involved in human space exploration regardless of where he is. He expressed the hope that international collaborations will continue, so that humans will be able to keep exploring the moon and Mars.