Tuesday, May 30, 2006

back from the future part II

tokyo: 6:55 p.m., tuesday may 30
utah: 3:55 a.m., tuesday may 30
jeff: somewhere between now and then

....well that was interesting...

when i was in jr high, there was a new pop test marketed in our area called 'ok soda'.
ok soda was more or less what you got when you mixed all the soft drinks at the
fountain, only now the work was done for you. it was all the rage and had a campaign that had a very generic 'brand x' style.
their slogan was, 'somehow, things manage
to turn out ok'.

they do.

get off the shink at tokyo station and the caravan moves briskly down several escalators to and happily find that we can go from the station direct to the airport [makes sense, really]. the train comes, and in a rush i ask if we can get on that one. they say and we do, only to realize why the man said we would have to stand if there were no seats: we were jumped on the 'reserved seating' car. this occurred to us just as the train was pulling out and all the people were looking at us as we awkwardly sat down on the floor next to the luggage compartment. when the man came for our tickets, he chewed me out for not bothering to learn how trains work in other countries and sent us one car down where there were open seats.
arriving earlier than we planned at the airport, we went up as many escalators as we descended in tokyo, albeit much more 'baggage friendly' here. we passed through at least three different security gates of various scrutiny-levels, including the northwest airlines version, where i asked to have my camera bag hand checked and was also selected for a random luggage search by a friendly guard who said that he was also a photo hobbyist.

when i met up with the fam, plans had changed: mom and dad and t had found another flight directly to minneapolis [thus avoiding the 13-hour layover in sfo]. the flight was boarding as this was spoke, and so we exchanged 'thanksforthetriptojapanitwasfuniloveyougoodbye's' and that was that.

so now my sister and i are sitting on a lovely plane which offers video on demand ['new world', but no 'syriana'] and are not too far from the aluetian islands at the moment. in some passport-showing line shortly after leaving mom and dad, we discussed the catch that neither of us are entirely sure what airline we are taking out of sfo.
but we know the time it leaves, and we've been in stickier situations before.

it's good to be with my sister again. she pointed out that we hardly saw each other while we were in japan. i hadn't noticed that, but she's right.
now that it's just us, the trip has an entirely different feel.

amongst other things, i am trying to see if i can work my finances to go with her to ghana next month and build houses.

why i love japan:

i love that the old lady working the souvenier store still talks to me in very polite and courteous language, and even my postcards are wrapped up and placed carefully in a paper bag which is then taped closed and handed to me with two hands.

i love that i can feel completely comfortable asking anybody i see for directions, and that if they do not know they way, they will often go find someone who can help me.

i love that the girl pushing the snack cart through the train bows politely when she leaves the room, and the that guy working the counter at starbucks bows deeply when he hands a customer their tray.

i love that there are no places i know of where i should be afraid to go.

i love that everything from warning signs to bus passes have cute cartoon animals on them.

No comments: