<![CDATA[More to come...
We started Wednesday morning at about 4:00 am with Weihong abandoning any hope of adjusting to jet lag in a normal fashion. I was more than prepared to sleep away most of the morning, having flown 16 hours (20+ in transit) and hitting the bed rather hard. I managed to fall back asleep, but Wei stayed up devouring a book until eventually the sun came in the window.
Our hotel room faced the Southwest, about a half mile SW of the Emperor’s Palace. Eighteen floors below was the kind of spagetti road system that only Tokyo can devise. We were also across from a few neon signs, advertising some Japanese computers and Santory Whiskey, made famous by the movie “Lost in Translation.”
After waking up, we decided to look around the neighborhood as John wasn’t arriving until 9:30. We walked down some very small alleys, just off the main drags, and found them filled with tiny restaurants and other shops. Besides noodles and dumpling places, we also saw a McDonalds, Subway and KFC. 7-11 is also pretty popular in Japan, as is AM/PM which I think is another American export. Wei went for the dumplings in the AM/PM, and I took in some hotcakes from McD’s.
We were walking back from the AM/PM to the hotel and Wei decided she wanted to take a bit of her dumpling/bun while we were on the street. As she ate it, she got more than her share of disapproving stares from the passing Japanese. Women Weihong’s age should know better than to eat in public, so were later found out. Had I been doing it, it wouldn’t have been a problem being that I’m a foreign devil, but Weihong’s appearance didn’t allow her the same leeway that I was given.
<![CDATA[Here's Day 1 from Tokyo, eventhough I'm now in Shanghai.
My first vision of Japan was a windmill. Not a Dutch style butter and grain thing attacked by Don Quiote, but one of those ultra modern white and metalic energy producers dotting the coast line of Japan near their airport. Unfortunately, although we were on the coast, we were also on final approach to Tokyo’s airport.
Tokyo Narita Airport is not in Tokyo. In fact, it’s not even in the same state (or prefecture) of Tokyo, and is about 60 kms from Tokyo ($300 by cab).
Tokyo Travel Hint #1–Nearly all the planes from the United States arrive in the same hour of the day, 3:00 to 4:00 PM. This means the lines at the immigration desk can get pretty hairy. I heard one veteran traveler call our line “moderate” but it was still 45 minutes from starting the line to getting my passport stamped. By that time, ours was the last bag left on the luggage claim and we headed through Customs.
I was a bit nervous about Customs as Wei has two suitcases full of presents for China. No clothes–all of our stuff fit in two smaller bags, but just a ton of children’s toys, cosmetics, and some candy to spread amongst over 50 family and friends when we get to China. The last thing I wanted to do was declare all of this in Japan (eventhough it wasn’t going to end up in Japan). I managed to get an English-speaking Customs agent who asked how long I was staying and I just said “In transit to China in three days” so that greased the way and I was out.
<![CDATA[Well last night we took our first Larium pills for our upcoming trip. Urban legend has all sorts of strange things happening from weird dreams to hallucinations. I had neither. In fact, the other night I woke up and felt a bit dizzy and said "It must be the Larium." Then I remembered I hadn't taken it yet. Oh well.
Anyway, for those keeping track, I dreamed I was going through some byzantine Customs at Narita airport in Tokyo. From the frequent flyer message boards, apparently that’s what is in store.
<![CDATA[CNN is reporting that the Mars rovers have turned off their collision avoidance systems (so they can go faster) and will be sent on “long drives into the sunset.” The NASA boys are going to just aim them in a specific direction and let them run until their batteries die out (how does a solar cell die???). Anyway, maybe they’ll run into something cool in a few weeks….]]>
<![CDATA[The Final Option is on, a should have been made-for-tv movie about the SAS storming an embassy full of terrorists. It's based in large part on the Iranian Embassy storming in Kensington about 20 years ago, which is where most of the world learned that the UK had an SAS force capable of such operations.
The movie is pretty awful, but it has been on a lot lately. Maybe the folks at HBO are trying to send a message or something. At the end though, it had a spooky statistic: It said that in 1980, all around the world:
42 Embassy buildings were attacked.
22 Ambassadors held hostage
53 killed in Embassy shootouts.
<![CDATA[Doc Searls who is a longtime supporter of Linux and Internet radio, mentioned the latest PenguinRadio RSS feeds in his blog the other day. I hope it leads to some people testing the links and telling me what is wrong with them, as it was my first stab at XML.]]>
<![CDATA[I've got the diptheria tetnaus booster, but my doctor didn't stock the Hep A & B combo so I have to head to a "for profit" shot center (which is pretty popular in DC) to get those shots. I'm also suppose to pick up my Larium sometime today, which I guess I should take tonight as we leave in a week or so.
China is now reporting the “bird flu” is no longer present in China, but I think I’ll eat Chicken all this week and go without for the next few. I’m also drinking a lot of milk here at home before I leave, just to get some in me before I leave. This is an all Western food week as I’ll be eating a lot of strange things soon.]]>
<![CDATA[Spain has thrown out the ruling government and replaced them with the Socialists. So now what? Will this lead to a pull out of forces in the war against terror or a stepping up of action against the terrorists. A really confusing time over there.]]>
<![CDATA[This took a bit of doing, but we now have our popularity database up and running as a variety of RSS feeds. You can select, say, the most popular Techno radio stations this month, week, or of all time. Same for Classical, Rock, etc.
I still have to do some more tweaking, but it looks pretty promising.
Here is a collection of all the links]]>
<![CDATA[I posted this over at Iraqwar.info but it is a pretty important story so I’ll run it here as well. Le Monde has an editorial on the Spainish train bombing that is turning a lot of heads in Europe. In it speaks about the European form of terrorism that has been going on for years, of minor incidents and a few murders, which have become almost sort of routine, and now the new form of terror that affected Spain and the United States on September 11–mass terrorism. It also speaks about how Europe has not quite realized, until yesterday, the level of passion in the United States for the war against terrorism. Andrew Sullivan has some of the story translated in English.]]>