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Monday, September 28, 2015

GAWA Day #13: Tokyo to Seoul

Well, happy to say that I remain on Planet Earth.  Thank you St. Peter.  On the other hand, perhaps I'm not yet sufficiently purified.

The Tokyo Westin, at the age of 21, needs a total makeover.  Well, maybe not total, but the audio-visual system is antiquated, and the rooms are getting almost tawdry.  Compare, for example, just the slippers, with Ritz Carlton's to the left:


You can't quite see or feel the difference, but the pair on the left is plush and thick and soft.

For my final dinner in Japan I went to Mitsukoshi across the street and picked up an expensive sashimi dish, a sukiyaki/beef bento of some sorts, some sake and a can of beer.  I heated the sake in my wash basin and used a hairdryer to warm the bento:


Something similar in the Japanese restaurant here would have cost at least five times more.

I had my final breakfast, something I've done more than a hundred times here, and every one is different in a detail or two:


For example, I've never had miso soup, consomm√© and udon at one sitting.  After a meal like this, I do everything possible to avoid lunch, and I'm off to Narita Airport, observing some dark clouds on the horizon:

Best as I can tell, Little Leader Kim Jung-un does not plan to fire off a rocket over South Korea, but he is pissed off about a thing or two or more.  From all reports, he has gained 30 pounds over the past five years.  He might still want to consider my posting of MUGA Day #7:  A TOTAL MAKEOVER FOR NORTH KOREA.  Anyway, on the plus side, Korea is now MERS free.

Then comes Hong Kong, where a year ago in September, the occupy students protested into December.  From all reports, the Hong Kong Federation of Students, and Scholarism, are organizing public forums about the time I'm there.  In addition to some independence on who can run for office, a point of contention is that in 2047 China can, legally, re-convert Hong Kong into a standard communistic model.

Further, next, schools have closed in Singapore because Indonesian forests are being cleared and burned.  The Pollution Standards Index hazard level is 300.  The reading today reached a high of 420.  And this condition will apparently last a whole month.   Nature just published a study showing that 3.3 million annually perish from air pollution.

Then on to Bangkok, where it is still the Monsoon Season.  The average highs will be around 90, while the chance of daily rains for the next ten days is 80%, with especially heavy thunderstorms in the afternoons.  Hope there are no more terroristic bombs.

Dubai follows, and the daily highs these days are in the mid-90's.  From all reports, though, the country has recovered from bankruptcy.  It is the most expensive city in the Middle East and does have the tallest building in the world, by far, Burj Khalifa.

Soon thereafter, though, Istanbul, then Italy, where it will be Fall.  The World Expo is in Milan.

Pope Francis had immigration as his highest priority in America, and Europe, especially Hungary, one of my stops, is in the midst of a crisis.   According to one report, 35 million are headed their way.

How does this compare with the USA?  You might be surprised, maybe even shocked, to learn that the number of legal and illegal migrants in the country exceeds that total, and will reach 51 million in 2023, representing 82% of our population growth.  However, it is, thus, the long term future that is of concern, and our Congress is doing absolutely nothing.

Appropriately enough, as the highlight of my trip thus far was Miyazaki wagyu beef, let me close my Japan stay with, now, my current hero, Hidekichi Miyazaki.


Know as the Golden Bolt, he holds various Guinness records, recently, at 42.22 seconds, clocking the fastest 100 meter time ever, for anyone older than 105.  He at one time held the world record for centenarians, 29.83 seconds.  That above pose mimics Usain Bolt.  Commented Miyazaki after Bolt's latest victory at the IAAF World Championships:  He hasn't raced me yet.

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Just about now, almost super Typhoon Dujuan, at 145 MPH, is beginning to batter Taiwan.  However, the track went sufficiently south of Okinawa and, appears most likely to also largely miss Taipei.


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