I´m currently in Zagreb with free internet, 15 minutes at a time, so iĺl try to get some of these out, despite the interesting keyboard. I only have 40 pages of notes so far…
My flights were wonderful, thanks to JAL and swine flu – green tea and hot facewashers and, most importantly, a whole row to lie down in. Even in such favourable conditions, I didn’t get much sleep on the plane, but that was ok too, as JAL put me up for free in an airport hotel since the flights don’t match up.
Thus I got my first little taste of Japan; at the end of the trip I’ll have time to explore Tokyo, but so far it’s an airport, a room, a couple of shops and a short stretch of road.
The road was nothing exciting. stuffy and faintly bad smelling, the patches of lush greenery hid mainly parking lots. We were quickly and efficiently taken through to the hotel, and when I went for a walk later, I had to turn back after five minutes when said greenery came right down to the road. I had seen tennis courts, an indeterminate religious building with manicured gardens and a seven eleven.
Exploring my hotel room was more fun. The view of carparks turned into city lights as darkness fell, there was a kimono and slippers and tea. I’ve developed quite a taste for Japanese green tea, very different from Chinese green tea. The bath made me very happy, but the highlight really had to be the toilet. It had a set of buttons to the side, offering two kinds of bidet function. It turns out this is a basic version, compared to the ones I later saw at the airport, which also sported seat warming, “powerful deodoriser” and canned flushing noise with volume control! That bathroom also had one squat toilet, sans extras, and a careful map outside the door to explain all offerings.The airport shops kept me amused for a while, the highlights were fake meals – make your kitchen look like a japanese restaurant! and hello kitty phone ornaments – kitty on a tram, actually lying on the roof with her head the size of the front of the tram, kitty in sushi. with wheels. naturally.
Next up, london – sofia – skopje – zagreb.