Wednesday, March 30, 2005

3/27-3/28: unhappy flight time

It's 9:15PM here in Tokyo, which means it's...uh...who knows what time it is in California. I'm just glad I managed to find the apostrophe key. Anyway, I'm sitting here in the Yahoo Cafe at the Shinigawa Prince Hotel, sipping a caramel cappuccino and backspacing every two seconds because I keep accidentally hitting the key that turns my letters into hiragana. It's been a long day, so I'm all about staying in the hotel tonight and catching up on e-mail and writing an entry.

Anyway, K was kind enough to drive me to the airport on Sunday morning, despite her wicked hangover, and she even came inside with me. When she saw my tour group, she whispered, "The geekitude in here is so strong I can barely even breathe!"

"No kidding," I replied. "Christ, that one Dawn Weiner-looking chick is really loud and obnoxious. How much do you want to bet she was my original roommate?"

Yumiko and Ken were both there, although neither one was going on this tour, and Yumiko gave me a big hug when she saw me. Unfortunately, Ken did not, but the mere sight of him was enough to get my juices flowing. She began calling out names, and sure enough, Dawn Weiner was the chick I was originally paired with. I could have kissed Yumiko's feet in sheer gratitude.

Eventually, Isaac showed up and after a head count, it was time to begin the laborious check-in process. I gave K a hug goodbye and then it was off through the gates.

The flight to Japan absolutely sucked. The plane was full to capacity, which meant no row all to myself like last time. No, I got the middle seat between another tour participant and a woman who would not stop bitching. "It's too hot, the food's so bland, I can't understand the stewardess, why are they showing Fat Albert?" I finally put on my iPod to drown her out, which did much to improve my mood.

When we arrived at the Kansai airport, we had time to relax for a while because our Japanese tour guides were getting our rail passes ready. I bought a Coke from the vending machine and sat down. My right calf was killing me, so I became convinced that I was suffering from deep vein thrombosis. Fortunately, it was time to go before I could dwell too much on it.

We took a train to the Kyoto station, and then we checked into the Hotel New Hankyu. I went to my room, did a happy dance to commemorate my arrival in Japan and my lack of a loud, annoying roommate, and then I walked to the convenience store across the street to buy dinner: an ice cream sandwich and a bottle of Pocari Sweat. Then I took a long hot shower and passed out for about three hours, after which I was wide awake. I felt very Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.

(to be continued)