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Sunday, April 10, 2011

TOKYO TO HONOLULU

I woke up at 6:47 this morning to another aftershock.  I thought I'd return to Shinjuku Gyoen, so, I thought, what would be a great final meal.  I went down to the buffet and got permission to make a giant sandwich of cold cuts, cheeses and vegetables.  The Tokyo Westin gave me a bottle of Copper's Crossing Cabernet Shiraz, so I poured some of it into a tonic water bottle.  I wanted to test the jacket strategy.

I caught the Yamanote Line to Shinjuku, and walked to the park.  I noticed a soup stand, so I purchased a bowl of tomato/pork soup.  There were no checkers today, so I simply inserted my 200 yen admittance and walked to the nearest empty bench.  While unpacking, a cherry blossom petal fluttered into the soup:
Certainly, my most satisfying, and cheapest, meal of the trip.  Said goodbye to Pearl's ashes and took the following photo:
capturing the essence of Japan today:  development in close harmony with the environment...if not for Fukushima.


Pity the homeless and casualties of Tohoku, certainly, but want to appreciate what it is like to live in and around Tokyo?  One can take many things for granted.  I now am so appreciative of the Airport Limousine bus service, which picks you up at your hotel and drops you off at the airport.  My Japan arrival on March 12 and emergency departure four days later were nightmares.  Today, with comfort and ease, I am delivered to Narita Airport for about $35.  A taxi would have cost at least $250.

I am in the United Airlines lounge, awaiting my departure home to Honolulu, enjoying an actual Narita-made beer, Narita sake and a Bloody Mary with quite an assortment of dishes:


viewing the blossoming cherry trees on the other side of the runway:


...when at 5:16 PM, the room began to shake.  I immediately ran away from the window, and so did everyone else.  I think this latest one was close to that aftershock of 4 days ago.  Early reports were 7.1, so same as the April 7 tremor.  What's the largest earthquake you ever felt?

The electricity is still on, but the public announcement particularly worried me, as the message was that all flights are hereby suspended.  Crews are looking for damage, so this was not the run of the mill aftershock.  Do I sleep-in at Narita tonight?  Well, this is the First Class Lounge, and it is well appointed.

Phew half an hour later came the all clear signal, and I just saw a United plane take off.  Whoops, just shook again, but that's now almost normal.  Then only minutes later, oh no, another bigger one, but not that bad.  All is relatively well at Narita, and I look forward to soon returning to Hawaii.  But another announcement:  my flight has been delayed.  I've poured a double shot of Suntory Yamazaki whiskey over ice, to complement a Bailey's Cream, and dessert, while I anticipate my departure:

Well, the flight took off almost on time and this was the United First Class that almost deserves the term.  This was a Premium Boeing 777, and the electronic entertainment was excellent, food okay and service terrific.  Not quite the earlier days of Beluga caviar, Johnny Walker Blue Label and Dom Perignon, but a definite improvement.

My flight arrived early and I was home by 8AM.  Nice to be home.

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