2016 Japan Trip

In an effort to freshen up the content on my website, I'm going to share a journal of my most recent trip to Japan. There will be fifteen posts in all that will be published as they are ready over the next few weeks. I will link them up as they go live so that it will be easier to read them as a series. At the outset, I had no real vision for what the posts would look like. As you will see, the style changed from day to day depending on the situation.

August 11-12, 2016

Started out with one of my most comfortable international flights in a long time. Kudos to Air Canada for treating Economy passengers with nice seats, enough leg room, and a variety of in-flight entertainment options. Past memories of indifferent customer service when the unions were battling management in a seemingly never-ending war were replaced by courteous and attentive service from every flight attendant I met.

On advice from a friend, we're renting an iPhone through SoftBank. Rates seem reasonable so long as you don't insure the phone. Just don't lose it or damage it! [Funny thing, I almost did lose it a few days later. That would have been about a $500 mistake since I hadn't bought the insurance that would have lowered the penalty to under $300. Here's the link to that story: Hakone Honesty.]

My Japanese skills are surprisingly good so far, but there are still some blind spots. I understood most of what the Customs Agent and SoftBank rep explained to me, but I wouldn't have managed the change machine on the public bus without my wife there to help. Go figure. For the record, when travelling by bus have no fear of not having exact change. The first machine can change coins or bills, but then you deposit the exact amount in the fare box closer to the windshield.

It's hard to form too many impressions on the first day in Japan. Late afternoon arrivals and jet lag see to that. The one big memory from today is seeing the rice fields again from the air. Given the low ratio of arable land in Japan, every square metre is used with the utmost efficiency. Nineteen years after my first flight to Japan, the precise layout of the rice fields still impresses me.

Next: Renewing Connections