Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sapporo, sticky rice, and false starts Part I

7:13 a.m. Japan time
On the plane from Vancouver to Tokyo:
I’m in hour five of the plane ride to Narita, only to be followed by a six-hour layover with a girl I’ve nicknamed Debbie Downer and a one-hour flight to Fukuoka. When all is said and done, I’ll have left Vancouver at 12:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon and arrived in Fukuoka at 10 p.m. Saturday night. The time difference allows me to live in the future, which will surely prove helpful for Lotto numbers and stock market projections. I don’t know why nobody thought of this before.

I’ve already watched two movies, attempted to read every piece of Japanese literature I could find (mostly unsuccessfully—shit), and failed in convincing the polite yet stern Japanese flight attendant that I deserved a vegetarian meal. She got hers, though, when that same flight attendant clumsily turned a half-drunk Sapporo into a traveling man’s Old Faithful, spewing beer and foam over a good five rows of the plane. Luckily, and not surprisingly, I belonged to one of those rows. In fact, I’d count myself in the top three most soaked persons, and have smelled like beer for four hours now. The older woman next to me did enjoy my insistence that I was not よっぱらい (drunk), even though I smell like it. I’m going to have a good time explaining the odor to my boss who’s picking me up from the airport, but I do have two things going for me: 1) I brought him an unusually large (think foot-long) bar of chocolate as his おみやげ (gift). I’m counting on Sam from the UK to be a real sweet tooth. 2) I meet him in 10 hours, and I’m thinking I can air out by then. On the up side, the explosion and subsequent disaster relief was an amazing waste of time. Plus, I just got a voucher for a ¥2000 (approx. $20) clean up of the dress that cost me one dollar. If you were with me right now, you’d see my eyes are lit up with yen symbols.

A girl from my group was bumped to business class and was nice enough to come visit my humble economy seat, educating my peasant self on the wonders of her new environment. “The meals are served on real plates!” Bitch.

I don’t sound relaxed, but I really am.

Next entry will most likely be from the airport during the layover or even an Internet café once I get to Fukuoka, since it seems Japan never really jumped on the Wi-Fi bandwagon.


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