Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tuesday the 16th, Wednesday the 17th

Tuesday 9:31, San Francisco International Airport

We got through check-in quickly with the help of United’s staff. I hope I did not make the woman who was helping me laugh too much.

Steven has found the airport a little different from his memory of what it was the last time he was here in 1974. Now he is running around practicing with his digital camera. All of the photos you will see in this blog will have been taken by that camera.

Cindy has gone looking for a smoking lounge. When she asked me where one would be I told her “There isn’t one, you have to go without smoking until we exit the subway station near the ryokan.” I’m such a meanie!

Wednesday, time :?

Due to crossing the international date line we have not seen night but are in the next day. Time travel is a nifty thing.
But we are detouring into Russian airspace, no not as part of a secret mission or a good will gesture. It seems that somewhere volcanos are spewing nasty stuff like a drunken fratboy so we have to avoid it, just like avoiding fratboys.

Good views of siberia, just wish we knew when we crossed Kamchatka.

Thursday 3:30 am

My Mac claims it is 11:30 AM in Oakland, my body says it is tired but also time to be up and about. I’m sitting in the lounge of Taito Ryokan and the clock says 3:30 am.

We got to the airport yesterday, got through emigration, got the checked luggage, headed to customs in high spirits handed our declaration forms and passports, got a warm welcome have a nice stay and then headed tot eh restrooms. After necessities I went to change a pile of cash into yen, then we found Cindy who had explored the smoker’s lounge, Steven used his ATM card to get some yen, actually that should be en, the y in yen is a leftover of 19th century transliteration of Japanese. In any case when then went downstairs to the train station and bought tickets for the Skyliner to Ueno station. After entering Gilles realized he had spaced on picking up the cell phone, After all it was way past his bedtime in California. A quick run upstairs, the assistance of a station agent and a dash back just in time to get on the train, the phone was now packed.

At Ueno we transferred to the Ginza subway line, platform 2 to Asakusa. After exiting we were tired and somewhat lost. With some careful comparison of the map on the ryokan web site and the map at the station, some assistance from a young woman, we headed in what we hoped was the right direction. Looking for a koban that was on the map we walked right past it. I then stopped a fellow who understood what I meant when I pointed at the map, he got us turned around and headed back in the right direction. The officers at the koban directed us down a small street and soon enough we were struggling out of our shoes in the genkan and being greeted.

After that: got to room, laid out futon, only Cindy had the strength to take a shower, and we crashed.

More on the ryokan in a later posting.

- Gilles

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