I could describe my gut clenching at the exact moment I watched the ground fall behind as the plane’s wheels left the Earth, the grandeur of the lights of Wichita as they fell away, or how the tops of the clouds caught fire as the Sun rose. I could describe what it was like to experience those sights, but they would be second-hand descriptions from my travel specialist. Due to arcane airline rules about “securing small objects in overhead bins and checked luggage” I spent the entire trip to Japan staring into the jet-black (pun intended) interior of a suitcase. At least the solitude gave me an opportunity to practice my zen meditation techniques.
I was able to discern our arrival in Houston by my tiny fluffy ears popping, followed by the topsy-turvy of transfer to the larger plane. After a layover of about 3 hours the Boeing 777 kicked us into the sky for the 14 hour flight across the Pacific. During that long flight I was able to talk to a stuffed cow from Mexico, and a stuffed bear on it’s way to Korea. We vowed to speak with our respective transportation specialists to see if better accommodations could be arranged for the return trip.
However, once we touched down in Japan I lost touch with them, and will have to deal with my transportation specialist on this matter at a later date. Part of the reason for the delay is that my transportation specialist took well over an hour to get through customs. His excuse is that visas for longer stays such as his required processing at certain lines and did not go as quick as those on shorter stays of a couple of weeks or less. He reports that the customs officials were unfailing cheerful and professional even in the face of a truly daunting number of immigrants and tourists. In the end, after spinning ’round and ’round on the luggage carousel until my stuffing was coming out my ears, the bag I was in was pulled to the side and held until my transportation specialist finally came and got me. He didn’t even make any attempt to let me know he missed me, simply bundling me onto a luggage cart for the shuttle to the hotel. Once at the hotel , a couple of fluffs let me know he truly missed me and that things will be alright. Unfortunately, I will have to go back into the bag for transport to our final lodgings for our Japanese stay.
Something that I know weighed heavily on the mind of my transportation specialist prior to his arrival in Japan was the infamous Japanese bathrooms. I can’t speak for our permanent lodgings here, but the hotel systems don’t seem too unfamiliar.
The shower system seems pretty familiar, although this is likely a concession to the highly transient population that any hotel deals with. There was also copious amounts of toilet paper as well as controls for the bidet. If you don’t know what a bidet is then go watch Crocodile Hunter. It should be on Netflix or in the discount bin at Walmart. On that note, the transportation specialist tells me that it appears streaming will work here, although the choices of features appears to be slightly different. In any case there’s anime on the at least three channels around 6 o’clock local time. I have no clue what’s being said, or what series it is, but I’m watching it.
Eventually even the lure of incomprehensible anime on tap loses its luster and I’m left gazing out the window across a foreign vista lit by streetlights.
I wonder what’s in store for both of us. Many changes I’m sure. With change comes growth they say, but if my transportation specialist grows any more, he won’t fit the seat belts on the flights back! Better lay off the Pocky, pack mule!
Until then, Hippo, Hippo!