Ivon and I flew out at 2:00 p.m. PST and arrived a little after midnight that same day – which, it turns out, is a little after 5:00 p.m. the following day. The flight was fairly non-eventful although a mild sense of panic did set it at one point when, following a touch of turbulence, the pilot informed the cabin: “Ladies and gentlemen, it seems we’re experiecing a little trouble…” OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD! “…the inflight entertainment system.” OH. Oh. Never mind then. Apparently, one of the servers was experiencing a problem, freezing up under the demand of so many passengers trying to view The Expendables and Dinner for Shmucks. Fortunately, my program choices were significantly less popular, so I had no trouble getting through My Dog Tulip an animated feature based on the book by J.R. Ackerly. “Unable to love each other, the English turn naturally to dogs.” is the quote that opens this wry, sweet, and ultimately very touching tale of an man and his devoted but troublesome Alsatian. Just what I needed. I also watched Catfish, a surprisingly good documentary that tracks a New York photographer’s burgeoning online relationship with a mystery gal from Michigan, and the bizarre developments that come when the veil of online anonymity is pulled away.
The in-flight meal was unremarkable. The fish was bland, the chicken microwaved to a scorching hot, while the chocolate molten lava cake was decidedly dormant. We finally arrived at Narita airport and, as we disembarked and headed for the baggage claim, I noticed someone standing off to the side with an “Ivon Bartok” sign. “The lucky bastard,”I thought, assuming the hotel had sent a limo to pick him up. I was wondering why the hell he was receiving preferential treatment when the sign-holder informed us that Ivon’s luggage hadn’t made the flight and would, instead, be joining him at a later date. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe the day after. How the hell Air Canada screwed up is beyond me. Considering they already knew he wasn’t getting his luggage before we even hit the baggage claim, my guess is they loaded up the cargo hold in Vancouver, waved goodbye as the plane flew off, then turned around to head back inside and noticed the lone suitcase with the “Property of Ivon Bartok” tag lying on the tarmac behind them. Oopsy. Better get on the phone to Narita.
Is anyone that surprised? Ivon’s bad vacation mojo strikes again!
After the long shuttle ride from the airport to The Imperial Hotel, we checked in, then had steak and sake at the hotel’s teppanyaki restaurant, Kamon.
Afterwhich we went out for a stroll, promptly got lost, and spent the next half hour wandering around Ginza trying to find our way back.
Tomorrow: sushi breakfast at Tsukiji Market, dinner at Birdland, and Ivon goes shopping for a new wardrobe.