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Friday, May 20, 2016

UNITED FIRST FROM SEOUL TO TOKYO

I first had a very unusual breakfast at Fresh in the Sheraton D-Cube City Hotel:


I've never before had a combination of BBQ unagi (eel), croissant, baked beans, grilled cod, egg of over easy, soba, mushroom soup, salad, grape juice and green tea.

The bus to the airport, which costs around $15, had an accident with a truck:


It took a while for the police to show up.  You could see both drivers pleading their case.  Neither vehicle was damaged much.  I was worried if this went on much longer I'd miss my flight.  The bus driver, apparently, did not want to be late, so he actually ran a red light.  As I was thinking, this is bad enough, don't make it worse...he zoomed through another red light.  

We arrived at Incheon International, saw on the monitor that United was in row J...but I could not find that airline.  This was getting surreal.  Was I in the right airport?  So I finally found someone who seemed to know what was happening, and he said United does not open up until 9:30, and it was only 9:20.  All then went well and I enjoyed a brunch in the Asiana First Class Lounge:


Salad with kimchee, tortilla chips with salsa, ramen, beer and Bloody Mary.  Another unusual combination.  I went to the gate and noticed this was a Boeing 737-800, the type of plane, in early reports, that crashed in the Mediterranean:


Turns out MS804 was an Airbus 320.  No solid clue yet as to what caused that crash.

With 37 million people, Tokyo has the largest metropolitan population in the world.  Seoul is #4 with 25.5 million.  Like Seoul, CNN also has 50 reasons why Tokyo is the Greatest City in the World:
  •   1.  The world's most sophisticated railways.
  •   8.  More Michelin stars than anywhere else.
  •   9.  It's the best place to shop if you're over 60.
  • 36.  Its red-light district is the least dangerous.
  • 41.  The world's best service.
  • 46.  The most prolific festivals.
The bus from Narita Airport, for a bit less than $30, took me to the Kichijoji Station, about a 15 minute Chuo Line ride from Shinjuku Station.  There was a 10-minute walk to my hotel mostly through malls and shopping areas:


I noticed almost adjacent was a Tokyu Department Store, so I went to their basement, purchased a sashimi plate, pork cutlet bento, assorted vegetables, sake and beer.  Glancing at the room service desk, something like this would have cost me around $100 at this hotel.

Grant Burgess, from Newcastle University, is staying at this hotel, and called me to join him for a drink, but I had just starting eating in my room, so begged out.  He will be one of the featured speakers today for the 35th celebration of President Tadashi Matsunaga.  Both the talks and party will occur in this hotel.  Grant is one of Tadashi's PhD students who went on to become a professor.  The other four speakers are also in this category:  from Waseda, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kyoto University and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.  I will be giving a 3-minute presentation at the party to say whatever I want.


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