The Shape of Things to Come

I wrote everyday while I was in Japan.  Typed, actually.  Those words, floating in the cloud between my phone and my computer, waited [a very very very long time] for me to take action.  This morning I stuck my hand into a neglected folder called "Notes" and this is what happened:

March 20, 2012

I get pretty excited about telling a story: 
I have something so totally awesome to tell you!!! 
But then I usually trail off midway because I forget what I was going to say or I get tired of my own words.  You catch my drift ...

In the beginning:
Before Tim left for work, he told me to be packed and ready to go as soon as he got home.  I managed to do to the opposite; stuff piled neatly throughout the house when he walked in the door at 3:00.
Why aren't your bags packed?
I don't ... know.  Tim laughed in that, you're crazy, kind of way.  I was forced to throw my things into a few bags [to be sorted later] and we drove down to Los Angeles.

We left the next morning, on a United flight from LAX to Tokyo.  I usually opt to sit on the aisle but in this section of two seats, the tallest won the draw and I got stuck with the window.  A child behind us kicked and screamed from the moment we got on the plane until the moment we took off.  I feared that Tim, in all of his exhaustion, might punch this kid.  He didn't, and was surprisingly less bothered by it than me.  The child's parents must have drugged him because he was eerily silent for the next twelve hours. 

Twelve hours.

Twelve hours.  And.
No television.
WHAT?!?! 
Who's the child kicking and screaming now? 
Yes, me.

In the past 365 days, three of my longest flights [10+ hrs] have all been without televisions/broken systems.  Is that legal? Do the airline companies understand that my sanity inside this metal box rests entirely upon my ability to distract from the fact that I am defying gravity, manipulating the forces of nature, and sitting 30,000 feet above ground?

Because we left LA at noon and crossed the international dateline on our flight, nighttime never comes. And yet, suddenly it's tomorrow [I just finished reading Umberto Eco's The Island of the Day Before which deals with almost the same confounding experience, but differently].  The flight attendants walk around and make everyone close the shades for group nap time, an activity I would rather not engage in, and a request I find disturbing and disorienting.  I pull the shade down nearly all the way but let the slightest glow of light bathe just my seat.  Every so often I peak outside, dense clouds with an occasional glimpse of the dark blue Pacific.  What I didn't realize was that our flight route took us as far north as the Aleutian Islands ... vast snowscapes, crystal blue waters, and icebergs.  As I was taking in one of the most interesting landscapes I have ever seen, the flight attendant yelled at me to shut the shade.
BUT DON'T YOU SEE WHAT'S OUT THERE?

--------
Narita Airport is easier to navigate than I expected and of course, the Narita Express train was spotless. Easy.
Not easy.
We arrive at Tokyo Station and found ourselves in a labyrinth of sleek corridors, high ceilings, grey marble floors, no English signage, and no station exists.  With so many people, how can there be no exits?  Either Japanese people have figured out teleportation [it's possible] or this is all a dream [also possible]. We see people disappear into distant corners of the station, follow them, but not a staircase to be found. Tim is lugging his bass, a huge duffle bag of band stuff, and his backpack. Poor guy.  Honestly, it probably took a half hour to find our way out, eventually letting drafts of cold air bring us to salvation.  We got into a cab, a retro Toyota, flaunting seats adorned with doilies.  Although no proper English or Japanese was exchanged, the driver took us to our hotel.

It is finally nighttime.


Flying over the Aleutian Islands

From snow to ice to water

Frozen patterns

Welcome to Japan!
Narita Express
Hm, dried squid or dried scallop?
Tokyo Station x infinity
View from the hotel
The next day ... Shinjuku Gyoen ...