Friday, November 2, 2012
A Gaijin Visits Japan...Part 1: Over the Bering Sea
Logan Airport is actually quite small. I'm constantly amazed that there is really very little to it every time I'm there. Waiting for our flight to New Jersey so that we can then make our connection to Tokyo I run out of entertainment pretty quickly.
My Nook is loaded, but one of the downsides of eReaders is that now you no longer carry one book, you carry thousands, so if this one you're reading gets a little slow you apt to jump off and start another one. I vowed not to do this during the 24 hours of travel-- but I've already broken it less than two hours into the trip.
We were up and left Wellfleet around 330am to make our 8am flight, dropping the rental car off with Enterprise and then making the gate-- we were delighted to grab an earlier flight out of Boston but the happiness is short lived as I realize I now will be spending more time in New Jersey. I don't like loud obnoxious people and trust me, they are in no short supply in the great airport of New Jersey.
I'm not going to let this post drift off into a rant about personal pride, appearance and making the effort to get out of your pajama's before you go out in public, but I could.
The flight to Japan is long and it goes from Jersey up over Canada past Alaska and then down to Japan. You can watch every mile on the digital map both in the seat in front of you and on the big screen towards the front of the plane.
I'm amazed at how dark the plane is-- obviously the 95% of the Japanese people onboard plan on sleeping the whole way-- and I wish I could join them but I've never been able to sleep in public, especially on planes, maybe its the thought of someone waking me from a restful slumber to inform me the plane is going down that prevents my nap time.
The on-board TV system in front of me keeps me company. I loaded a bunch of old movies on my iPod before leaving, but this is better. I watch CITIZEN KANE twice, episodes of various TV shows including The Office and even catch the Ohio State game. I also watch a pile of TV Shows I've never heard of, and sample a few of which people rave about to me including MADMEN and DEXTER (neither did much for me).
The plane itself is huge, and makes for a pretty smooth ride, unlike the ride to New Jersey on the small plane which had me looking for Bill Shatner shouting about gremlins. But 13 hours in a dark metal tube is enough to make me wish we'd just land-- even if it meant setting down in the Bering Sea with the hope that Sig and the Deadliest Catch guys would help us out.
We finally set down, right on time but that's small comfort-- I just want off the plane. Smartly we checked no luggage and no we did not obnoxiously bring large suitcases onto the plane-- we both packed small and smart- they will have laundries in Japan I'm certain.
Back home, the October chill would merit the light sweater I'm wearing, even at 6 in the evening, but here in the land of the rising sun it's about 88 degrees and so humid I can see the air. Despite this, all of the locals rushing around me are dressed like they are about to go apple picking at Stowe- complete with jackets and scarves-- either they dress solely based on the calendar or this is an unusually warm evening.
I've been to other countries, and I'm often struck at how similar they are to America, but this place-- it is completely foreign. Likely not helped by the fact that I can't read Japanese, but thanks to the small smattering of English on the signage I'm able to find my way to my van that will take me to my hotel in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.
NEXT-- TOKYO'S SHOPPING DISTRICT
Posted by Andy Fish at 12:00 AM