Saturday, 29 March 2008

Oki-na Gaijin, Chisai-na Kuni (Big Foreigner, Small Country) #1


I just returned from a wonderful trip to Tokyo, Japan. Instead of the usual scooter related journal entries, I thought that I’d share my actual journal I kept of my trip. It will be a few days behind but I intend to present the entries daily over the next seven or eight days.

Why Japan? I taught in Tokyo for a year, 23 years ago, and it was time to go back. Also, my youngest daughter was there for a home stay and it seemed like a great opportunity to go back and visit. Finally, my good friend, Yoichi, had visited Canada five years ago so it was my turn.

March 20, 2008

Vancouver International Airport was pretty quiet, considering that this is the start of the Easter Weekend.

My wife, eldest daughter and friend were waiting for me a the airport by the large green native canoe statue. They had returned from Prince George after a visit to UNBC as they might attend university there. Caitlin’s friend looked a bit like a drug addict after taking Gravol for the plane. I hope she didn't barf in our car on the way home.

After a brief visit, lunch and goodbyes, I checked in, made so easy by using the web check-in the night before. The departure lounge was great - tons of stores and very comfortable chairs, not at all like those moulded plastic chairs of old.

One of the things I’d been dreading is the plane. Whenever I’ve taken Westjet or Air Transat I’ve really felt poured into the seat. This time I went Air Canada on a Boeing 767 and the room was OK - I didn't feel squashed as both width and length were fine. I luckily was sitting beside a small Japanese woman. She did have more room than I did due to her small size but we didn't invade each other’s space.

The airplane had quite a few technological advances including a power plug for laptops, a USB charging port for iPods and a touch screen with a large number of videos and TV shows on demand.

Partway through the flight I had a strange, drug-induced experience. My doctor had given me a prescription for Ativan (which I had never taken before) so I could sleep. I took one half-strength pill even though it usually takes me a lot to be sedated (e.g. for a medical treatment). I’m glad I was conservative as after about 10 minutes I had broken into a sweat. Then I felt nauseous. I fought the nausea successfully (although I had a barf bag close by) and after awhile I started to doze.


Heinz & Frenchie said...

Glad to hear that you did not barf on the little Japanese lady in the next seat. That would have really reinforced the ugly american stereotype.

Dave Dixon said...

heinz & frenchie

Hey, I was doing my very best to hold things in. Even had the barf bag close at hand...