[The American Years]
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Greetings from Japan, where people wear white masks if they’re sick to avoid spreading their germs… either that or there are a lot of hobbyist surgeons on the trains.
Well we made it. And the travel really wasn’t too bad. 13 hours on the plane from Detroit was just not enough time in business class for the kids. The reclining seat with the massager, the movies on demand, including tons of Disney, the food and snacks and drinks as you want them. They just didn’t want to leave. Well, that's an exaggeration, but they really did great.
Even 13 hours later they were excited to be in Japan, and see all the new things.
The meal service on the plane offers 3 western style meals (beef chicken fish) and a Japanese meal. Though I’m sure it has happened, I have never seen an American get the Japanese meal. Everyone wants to get the last taste of American food before the sushi starts, or the first taste if it’s the return flight. Until this flight. Kathleen showed her enthusiasm for her new life by ordering and truly enjoying the Japanese meal. Kudos!
After our flight, there was a 30 minute wait for the bus, then the hour-long bus ride, then finally a walk with all our bags through Nagoya train station to the hotel. (Thanks for the ‘spinner’ suitcases, Smiths! Fantastic!)
Finally after all that, you can imagine what we looked like as Veronica and I were waiting at an elevator. (With all the bags in tow, we had to take separate elevators from Zane and Kathleen.) A Japanese business man approached me to tell me how cute and adorable Veronica is. He said “I really thought she was a doll, until she moved.” With his accent and my sleepiness, I thought he said she was a ‘dog’ not ‘doll’, and I nearly went karate-kid on him. But it was very nice, and probably a sign of the reaction she’ll be getting everywhere she goes.
The second night, Veronica and Kathleen had lagged out, and Zane was awake and hungry, so I took him to get some noodles. When the staff at the restaurant saw him, they put a fork down in front of him, correctly spotting him as a chopsticks novice. But Zane wouldn’t touch the fork. He was bound and determined to use the chopsticks, crossed up and clumsy and all. He worked hard at it, and lifted enough ramen out of the bowl to fill him up. Again, kudos!
The first day we visited the house the kids opened the doors to their rooms to find brand new bikes! We stowed new bikes for them in the air shipment. Aren't we devious?
So in being back in Kentucky for a week, I heard plenty of blabber about high gas prices. Were they high? Gosh I guess so. Here in Japan I just filled up my tank and only paid 144. That’s yen per liter. Want to know what that is in Dollars per Gallon? Then you do the math. I prefer not to know. Lucky for me there are 2 conversion factors there, and if I concentrate on not figuring it out, I will never know. Ignorance is bliss.
I reset the trip odometer after I filled up, and I had gone 480 kilometers on my tank, and it cost me 5400 yen to fill up. Is that good or bad? Again, I prefer not to know.
What I do know is you should all stop your sobbing about your gas prices there. Nearly the cheapest in the world, I’d say.
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Posted by ET at 3:41 PM
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