Well, after much hemming, some heeing, and a touch of hawing, I am finally Tokyo-bound. Today, I booked my flight and hotel for my 11-day culinary adventure in the Far East. Actually, not as far east as I remember it. The direct flight from Vancouver will take a little under ten hours. For some reason, I remember it being longer. Of course, going on past experience, while the lengthy flight is nothing compared to the unbearable 90 minute drive from Narita Airport to downtown Tokyo. Fortunately, the accommodations look very promising. I’ll be staying at the brand new Peninsula Hotel in Chiyoda-ku, within walking distance of the Imperial Palace, Hibiya Park, and, more importantly, the Ginza district with its eclectic shopping, high-end restaurants, and department store basements filled with every dessert imaginable (Chestnut cream pastries never seem to go out of style in Japan. And I, for one, am grateful.). Now, it’s just a matter of hitting my Michelin guide, doing my homework, and narrowing the selection of restaurants choices down to 40ish (lunches and dinners). Oh, and I suppose I should also be considering some non-culinary activities like visiting the Harujuku district, going on a few tours, and, of course, getting lost in unknown neighborhood. I have a feeling this trip will be incredibly exciting. Or very, very sad. Well, only time will tell – and you’ll all be the first to read about it because I’ve made sure my room has wireless internet access.
As part of the prep for the upcoming trip, I’ve switched gears in my language training, shelving the Mandarin and dusting off the Japanese: Watashi no ringo wa sabishii desu = My apple is sadL *, Ano hito ga no kami o wasuremashita = That guy forgot his hair, Takusan sukotchi of nomimashita = I drank a lot of scotch. And so on. I picked up some travel guides that will hopefully direct me to some of the can’t-miss-sights Tokyo has to offer like (choosing at random from the handy guide sitting beside my laptop): the Japanese Sword Museum, the Sumo Museum, the Meguro Parasitological Museum. And HMV. In addition, I padded my already robust reading pile with three titles from the horror section – Sarah Langan’s The Keeper, Justin Evans’ A Good and Happy Child, and Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts – in the event I can find the time during the twenty-three hours of travel time there and back.
Oh, today I also picked up my new traveling cologne. Given that scent is one of the most powerful memory triggers, I always make it a point to associate a particular scent with a particular trip or facet of my life. The smell of Tuscany will always remind me of my home life, Terre d’Hermes will take me back to Hong Kong, while Burberry will make me queasy with recollections of my post-snake soup malaise suffered in Shinjuku. For the upcoming solo journey, it’ll be John Varvatos’ Vintage. Mmmm. Tokyorific!
Carl put out a preliminary beat sheet for the next SG-1 movie and will, no doubt, be expecting notes in the coming days. I, meanwhile, have completed yet another pass on the preliminary beat sheet for the SGA movie that I’ll be sending Paul’s way on Monday. Hell, I may as well hand-deliver it as it looks like we’ll be heading in anyway to check out some visual effects, watch a mix, and pick up my birthday presents.
Well, I’m off to head downstairs and continue watching season 1 of The Tudors. I honestly didn’t expect to like it, but I do. Fondy, meanwhile, hasn’t been this invested in a show since Six Feet Under. Other than that, we’ve whittled our appointment television to a mere handful of series: Boston Legal, House, 30 Rock, Survivor, The Amazing Race, Grey’s Anatomy for her, and The Office for me. Also, watched the first two episodes of Life on Mars and while Fondy has abandoned ship, I’m still on board and enjoying the fish out of water developments.