What a week! Yesterday I arrived back home exhausted but happy. My work had decided to send me to a two-day conference on the other side of the world. Which means that due to travel time I was away for the best part of a week. The other side of the world was a very interesting place to visit, even for such a short time. Work sent me to the land of the rising sun, Japan.
I left home on Monday morning, traveled to the airport by train and spent some time being bored out of my skull, or rather reading a lot of magazines, waiting for the plane to leave. The plane ride at 11 hours was uneventful, long and as comfortable as Economy gets. I watched a movie I had heard about (the hunger games) and some TV series.
The hunger games – I found the movie and story interesting. The female lead is interesting and strong. As weird as it is with tributes for peace and the killing of the other contestants, it resonates on many levels. SO remarked that there are some parallels one can draw to the Olympics – All people cheering on their champion and the peace connection. I don’t think it is a fantastic movie, but I do think it is a nice story in that I now want to read the books. Other than that I slept and ate.
Once I rolled out of the plane the last trek started. I arrived at Kansai Airport, on Tuesday morning local time. From the airport I took a bus to the ferry terminal, a boat to Kobe, a bus to the airport and a train to my hotel. That last leg was actually very entertaining and I totally recommend the boat ride as a way to get where you need to go
All I wanted on arrival was a shower and a nap, but no can do. I ended up having to wait another 3.5 hours before I could enter my room on the spectacular 27th floor. Once I got settled into my room I was fine and I read until dinner with a co-worker.Even though my travel was quite some time with about all in all 16 hours I was lucky. One of the conference attendees had travelled 42 hours and needed about the same amount of time to get back home. All of a sudden it is a case of be thankful for small mercies!
Other than attending to conference I did get a chance to get to do some other things. The most entertaining of course was pure indulgement. I ended up having real Kobe Beef Hugely expensive this is the one thing that one really should have when visiting the region. All legends about this meat and tenderness are true. It was a remarkable meal that I will keep as a memory for quite some time.
Another interesting thing was taking a bath in the hotel. A grabbed a sachet of what I thought were bath salts. Instead it was something, which can only be described as a monster size teabag of chamomile. It is a great idea and logical to bathe in real flowers, and really it is no different from some of the scent bags we sometimes use. Still the form of presentation chosen made me feel as if my bath was really a huge cup of tea. It smelled heavenly and was soothing, but it felt really odd. Isn’t it amazing that the form can have such an influence on something you can completely understand in your mind?
Other than that the food over the days I was there was good. Really loved having Japanese style food for a few days. It is however insanely expensive in Japan. On Friday morning I got up at 5 am local time and started the trek back to the airport. At the airport I spend time in the business class lounge as some more fortunate attendees of the conference invited me as their guest. The movies in the plane this time were
The iron lady – I did not like it much Meryl Streep was wonderful as the older Margaret Thatcher, but I found it confusing and bitsy. In my mind it lacked Britishness and an understanding of some of the real issues that were going in that timeframe
Sherlock Holmes – Which to my surprise I found hugely entertaining. Terrible in its historical setting and a wee bit too lighthearted but seriously funny and catching. To my surprise I was pulled into the story despite seeing its flaws. It was entertainment with a whiff of literature thrown in.
Sense and sensibility – Because I could. I love this movie. I love seeing some of my favourite actors all together in a lovely story of romance and historical etiquette, by one of my favourite authors. A movie that deserved it’s Oscar. Despite my general travel boredom this movie made me enjoy the trip. The timing was good so I could see it all. Yes this movie was really pure enjoyment
I arrived back home late in the afternoon. My lovely SO picked me up and took good care of me, smelly as I was. I floated in the bath for a while to get rid of the bloating that happens on long haul and a light meal.
In a way I was lucky with this dash back and forth. I had not had the time to recover from my jetlag so I managed to stay up for quite some time. I had intended watching the Olympic opening ceremony, but that was one bridge too far. By 9 pm I was out like a light and slept until 8 am, recovering from broken sleep and sleep shortage. I watched the opening ceremony on line this morning. I am feeling OK I have to admit. Keeping it simple today and not doing much. Tomorrow I want to do some kind of sports as that is the one thing that has been sorely lacking this week. I can feel my body desperately wanting to get moving but my body is not.
All in all I had a very interesting week, tiring and fun. But I am so glad to be home.