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Dan's Adventure in Japan

The Voyage to Japan

My trip to Japan actually went fairly well. After arriving in Oklahoma City, I was able to get on an early flight to Dallas. Once I got to Dallas, I was informed they overbooked the flight and I would be in business class. This was my first experience in non-coach, and it was everything I was told it would be. Wine, champagne, and other drinks were constantly supplied. The whole warm towel business was in effect as well.

The new 777s have built in personal video screens in the seats in business class and first class. I was able to watch one of fourteen channels. The programs rotated every two hours. I was able to watch American Beauty on this system and several other shows on National Geographic and CBS. That kills a lot of time, an important thing when you suffer through a 12 hour flight.

When I landed in Tokyo, I was surprised how similar to US airports it looked. I figured it would look different for some reason. I went through customs after redoing the writing on a card they had me fill out. They couldn't read it (surprise--I tried and failed at acceptable writing once again). The process of going through the gates (where they ask if you have drugs, alcohol, and tobacco) was much less of a pain in the ass than when I crossed the Canadian border.

I was met at the airport by the woman who arranged much of my internship at Kameda. The drive to Kamogawa City was about two hours. I noticed that as we got further away from Tokyo, the more "foreign" the country looked. English characters were increasingly replaced with Kanji figures. Small cartoon figures adorned many of the signs. My favorite sign was right outside of Kamogawa. It had several rows of Kanji characters and a giant fish to the right of it. Apparently there is a lake there that is loaded with bass that people come from far and wide to catch.

The area I am staying looks very impressive. The ocean is on one side of the city and there are mountains on the other. The city looks very eastern, but has some familiar sights, like Denny's, McDonalds, and Seven-11. TV here is also interesting. I don't understand a word of it, but I found a channel that shows sports footage and has a clock in the corner. The commercials are everything I expected them to be.

I did run into some problems. As I expected, the ceilings are low in the buildings. There is a doorway in my apartment that I have bonked with my head several times. I am getting better as time goes on, but it is difficult to get used to. There were no power converters in my apartment either. That means I couldn't shave for the first day of work and I had to use the reserve battery on my ThinkPad to write this. My alarm clock worked, sort of. It lost about 30 minutes every five hours. I had to be a little innovative with the use of the clock to assure I woke up on time.

That's where I am now. I am getting ready to go to work for the first time this summer. I am meeting a co-worker in the lobby of my building in about forty minutes. I will try to send this message later today. Hopefully I can get some power adapters so I can start using my computer in my apartment for a longer period than the life of my battery.