Monday, May 30, 2011

sort of Day 1 Thurs May 26th

We got off the plane at about 3pm Osaka time after traveling for roughly 24hrs. During the flight from San Francisco to Osaka I watched The Fighter, No Strings Attached, and The Mechanic. Bale totally deserved the Oscar, I'm glad I didn't pay to watch No Strings Attached, and, while The Mechanic failed the Bechdel test it was decently entertaining and I would have watched it a second time rather than sitting through No Strings Attached once.

What's the point of all this? I didn't sleep an awful lot during those 24hrs of travel which makes my first mistake in Japan a little more acceptable, in my opinion. Once we got off the plane we stopped at some restrooms to brush our teeth before meeting Naoko, the woman from Craig's work whose job it is to help foreign staff get set up. I walk into the bathroom, put some tooth paste on my tooth brush, ran it under the sink faucet that works on a sensor and started brushing my teeth. It took me a couple of seconds to notice but I totally put soap on my toothbrush. Yup, it was a soap dispenser not a water faucet and I had a mouth full of soapy-toothpastey-goodness. Of course I spit it out but for the rest of the day I'd suddenly get a soap taste in my mouth. So you don't think I'm a complete idiot, you should know that the soap was centered over and pointing down into the sink and the water was to the side and angled out a little. There was a picture of bubbles of the soap but I was tired.

After that we got our passports/visas checked, picked up our luggage, passed through customs and Naoko was waiting right on the other side of the exit. We took a bus from the Kansai Airport in Osaka to downtown Kobe, about 40mins away, walked the few blocks to the hotel, Naoko helped us check-in, we showered and then went to bed at about 7pm. It took longer than it sounds because we each had on big backpacks and laptop bags and were each pulling two suitcases. We couldn't fit all our bags and ourselves in the hotel elevator. The room was so small that with our luggage and the bed and desk we didn't have room to walk past each other and if we wanted to pass one person would have to walk on the bed. I should have taken a picture but my motor skills were greatly compromised and I don't think I could have worked the zipper on the camera bag let alone used the equipment.

Before going to bed we did check out the TV. We scanned the channels and think we saw baseball, news, shopping network and maybe a game show. We watched the news for a little while and figured out the weather, they used the numbers we recognize, not kanji, so the temperature is easy. The biggest story, as far as we could tell, was someone stole a donation box from a store counter, one of those plastic boxes with a slit on top for you to drop some cash in. We figured this out because there was a computer simulation of a person grabbing the box, running to an elevator, emptying the box of money while inside and then leaving the box behind. They other top story involved people trying to guide ducks back into some water. There didn't seem to be “Dirty Dining” segments or serious crimes to report on. We read in a guide book that if one of the bullet trains is running a few minutes behind schedule it will make the news, so the news doesn't seem to be designed to keep people scared and docile.

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