Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Japanese Commercial Weirdness

Just a quick post before we leave for the day.

Watching Japanese TV while we get ready to go. Scarlett Johannson has a commercial for Mt. Rainier latté, with images of downtown Seattle in the background.

Whew, I can breathe a sigh of relief

I've been very worried about our kitties because the pet sitter wasn't sure if she still had keys to our house. Last I talked to her, she was going look for them and get back to me. I didn't hear from her before we left. I've been worrying off and on that she couldn't get into the house, didn't get my email with Jenny number for backup keys, etc. I sent two emails with no response and then in desperation this morning, because my cell phone isn't working, I called directly to her and left a message.

About an hour later, I had a flash of insight. I could log in to the web management for our alarm system and see if she had used her code. I logged in and she was there to check on them at 11:00 Seattle time. Whew. It means they missed dinner last night, but at least they should be good from here on out. I can relax now.

Good Morning Tokyo

Our View

The view outside our hotel room. I'm not sure what this building is, but I do recognize it.

Angie's Turn

Well, as Scott said, it was a long flight, made longer by sitting at the airport for 5 hours before getting on the plane. My fault, I should have checked our flight status before we left the house. We breezed through Seattle traffic and security at the airport and ended up waiting around for our troubles.

The flight wasn't bad, but I had to resort to earplugs to drown out the schoolgirls. They were still going strong with the laughter and giggling until we landed. I'm sure they were happy to be heading home. I'm also very glad we were able to upgrade to Economy Plus seats. The extra leg room came in very handy. Service and food was remarkably good on the plane and there was a neat in-seat video monitor that tracked the speed, altitude and progress that was interesting to watch.

Clearing customs and immigration in Narita was nice and easy even though I don't think my Immigration guy spoke English, we managed. As Scott said, it was very nice and reassuring that the travel company had figured out our delay and was waiting for us. We were both very concerned about getting to the hotel on our own. One thing that seemed very wrong, was on our way to the hotel, we passed a AM/PM, a 7-11 and a Sizzler. In Tokyo! It just seems wrong.

The hotel is VERY nice and huge! I has two towers, on is 39 floors and the other is 34 floors. The staff mostly speaks English and are very helpful. We have a bidet.

Possibly because of our long day yesterday, we went to bed at 10:00 pm Tokyo time and managed to sleep until about 4:30 am before getting up to work out. Yes, we worked out. The fitness room had very little ventilation and it was very stifling, but we managed to do cardio for an hour. They had some weird machines that looked kind of like tiny mechanical bulls. We managed to get one going but couldn't for the life of us figure out what muscles it was supposed to be working. Limited weights so we will probably forego our weight/resistance training until we see the facilities in Beijing.

We are now getting ready to spend the day with Scott's friend, Aiko, visiting the touristy sites in Tokyo. I hope to have some form of noodles for lunch.

Made it to Tokyo

We've been up for almost 24 hours straight, but we're in our hotel room in downtown Tokyo (Shinjuku).

Our flight was delayed 2 hours leaving Seattle, so that kind of sucked. Then, we shared the plane with a large group of Japanese school girls complete with uniforms, Hello Kitty and Hannah Montana stuff. We were pretty happy to have our seats on the side of the plane in a row of 2 all our own. We didn't want to think what it would have been like to be in the middle of one of the 5 seat rows, surrounded by Japanese school girls.

We got up Monday morning at 4:45 am to hit the gym. It's now 8:57 Tuesday evening in Tokyo which translates into 4:59 am Tuesday morning Seattle time. Angie slept on the plane a bit. I dozed for about an hour unsuccessfully. We're tired and hungry and as soon as room service gets here, we're going to bed.

It was already dark by the time we got into the city from the airport, most of the freeways have high noise abatement walls, and we were sitting in the ass of the airport bus so we didn't see a whole lot. I can say that the freeway system through this city feels like it was built well after all the buildings were. It feels like it is forced to curve around, go up, go down and generally wind in and out without displacing any preexisting buildings. The thought of trying to navigate all of that in a rental car almost seems like an impossible task and one I'm glad we're not trying.

A couple of other first impressions:

It's hot and humid, but not oppressively so. It's not Austin hot. More like Ohio hot.

There is more English on signs and such than I expected.

Everyone has been very polite and helpful so far — cliché perhaps, but true. I was most nervous about getting from the airport to our hotel because our flight was delayed and put under a different flight number than what we told our tour company. They were supposed to have someone meet us at the airport and help get us set up for transportation, but we were pretty sure they wouldn't find us. They did and the woman who helped us was so quick that we didn't really get a chance to tell her how much she eased our anxiety.

Well, room service is here. I'm out.