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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

CIRCLE PACIFIC ADVENTURE 2016: Day #2--Getting to Tokyo

Well, still in Honolulu, and had while awaiting departure of United 903 in seat 1A, a Bloody Mary.

Goodbye Honolulu:

I ordered a Japanese meal, and here is just the first tray:

Then came the main entre, some kind of fancy beef preparation with assorted accompaniments, but I forgot to take a photo.  Here was my vanilla ice cream with fudge and Bailey's Cream, with a Port and coffee:

I saw two full films:
  • Magallanes, a decent Peruvian film, my first.  There is something about the movie that I felt portrayed the character of the country.
  • Eddie the Eagle, an enjoyable and appropriate (the Summer Olympics are on) British flick about a hopelessly (he was not too athletic) driven youth wanting to perform in the Olympics.  Rotten Tomatoes bestowed excellent 84%/80% ratings.  
I also attempted to watch a Vietnamese film which was just too unsophisticated...Japanese, which was too flimsy that I couldn't continue...Korean, which featured six plots that confused me...and Hong Kong,  with no kung fu, but was plain boring.

The flight itself was un-monumental, the best kind.  Getting through customs took only 12 minutes, my bag was waiting when I got to the luggage area, customs was instant and when I went to purchase my Airport Limousine ticket, the agent said if you hurry, you have five minutes to get to the bus.  I did, but had to wait all of three minutes.  Good thing, because the temperature was 95 F.  Tomorrow, I shinkansen to Osaka, where the temperature today hit 100 F.  No one in his right mind goes to Japan in August.

As optimal as the timing was for the entire trip, it still took me 15 hours to get from 15 Craigside to the Westin Tokyo:

That orange bus is Airport Limousine, which takes you right to the hotel, for around $30.  The hotel opened in 1994, and Pearl and I spent their first week here.  At the same time, Ebesu Garden Place also was dedicated.  My view overlooking the shopping mall, with, in front, Robuchon:

One advantage of this hotel is that you can walk underground to JR Ebesu Station and the Hibiya Line.  Of all the ironies, after you stroll by Robuchon bakery (on the second floor is their not so expensive lunch restaurant, topped by that Mansion, which houses their world famous Michelin 3-Star classicwhich now only has 2 stars), there is Burger King, here called Bugakingu.

Also here are Lawry's Steakhouse, dozens of Japanese restaurants, Sapporo's beer garden, shopping complex and the basement of Mituskoshi, which sells the $200/pound Japanese wagyu beef (that scrawny one below to the right).  There is also an efficient clinic that was an essential stop for me after I injured myself in Kyoto.

My room was provided two bottles of Yamasaki Single Malt with a sealed bottle each of nuts and dried fruits, and their signature spherical ice:

I kept the scotch, but took the ice spheres to cocktail time in their Executive Lounge.  I poured a Johnny Walker Black Label and also had some champagne with appetizers:

You can only barely see it, but behind the wine glass you should be able to discern Tokyo Tree, at 2080 feet, the second tallest structure in the world.  For my dinner I had

I fell asleep at 7PM, and essentially woke up at 5AM.  I went down for their buffet breakfast.  The room is quite large, here from one end:

This is just the beginning.  Walk to the corner and see:

I had a feast:

This is the primary reason why I gain weight on this kind of trip.  Some of the buffets in these Orient hotels are even better.  If you've been keeping track, all the meals above, so far, have been free, which will be true for the rest of my adventure.  So today, on to Tokyo to pick up my Japan Rail Pass, then I later join President Professor Matsunaga for dinner, etc.  He is the person most responsible for what could be the 2018 World Cruise.

Whoops, Tropical Storm Conson has formed southwest of Japan, will probably strengthen into a typhoon and head for Japan:

However, all computer models show Conson remaining sufficiently east of Japan.  I'm here for another 8 days.


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