So I kinda dropped the ball.

First off,merry Christmas!

Second off, I guess I kinda sorta dropped the ball a bit didn’t I?  To be fair, I didn’t really have internet access for a good couple of weeks there but I guess I haven’t really been up to the task of the whole writing down your thoughts thing. Setting up life in a new country is hard but now comes a new year and I promise to write with at least some sort of regularity. Unless I forget. All the best for the new year.

Third and finally, this Shinkansen is very crowded. I guess that’s what I get for travelling on New Year’s Eve.

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Corporate airplanes are the prison cells of the skies.

I’ve never really been all that bothered by long airplane trips.  Sure they pack you into a tight enclosed space with some of the least comfortable seats imaginable and you’re essentially strapped in place of hours on end like some sort of mental patient in a Kubrick movie or something.  And then there are the several hundred other passengers also thrown onto the flight for good measure, some of them almost certain to be quite ill or small children who will undoubtedly spend half of the flight screaming like someone just sawed off their leg.  Sure (until recently) you’ve been forced to inexplicably turn off all your electronic devices for what seems like half of the flight because, in all their infinite wisdom, the world’s best and brightest apparently just can’t figure out how to make it so airplanes won’t explode because Cousin Jimmy is playing Angry Birds on his iPhone, forcing you to resort to (a) reading a book, or (b) cannibalism.

But with all those caveats, I don’t mind the mind numbing immobility of a long haul airplane ride.  Hell, I might actually like it.  In a modern world filled to the brim with all sorts of stimuli and crack-monkey culture, sometimes it’s good to just take a chill pill and enjoy the pleasantly tasteless monotony of airline food.

In terms of this bleak world of cross-oceanic airplane travel, my flight from San Francisco onwards to Haneda on Wednesday night was a freaking trip to Tahiti.  The main reason why?  Free space.

Unlike most of my other trips between Japan and the states, this flight was relatively lightly travelled, giving me an entire half a row to myself.  Add in the fact that I was on a newer plane (the ironically named Boeing 787 Dreamliner, I’ll get to that a bit later.) and I was practically staying at the Ritz.  Okay, well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but it was still better than the usual situation where you have to stuff your full-sized adult legs into a space that could have only been designed for the legs of a ten-year-old girl and a small one at that.  The great thing about the new Dreamliner is that the in-flight entertainment system is new, in other words, not the 1980s reject systems I had to deal with all my other times across the ocean.  One thing not so awesome about the Dreamliner I was on: there was a constant buzz through the entirety of the eleven hour flight, meaning it was even more impossible to sleep on the Dreamliner than on the usual run-of-the-mill aircraft.

As per usual, the movies on the plane were either things I’ve already seen (Pacific Rim) or complete and utter crap (World War Z).  Since Pacific Rim was one of my favorite movies of the year, I didn’t mind watching that again but I want the two hours I wasted on World War Z back.  Spoilers: Brad Pitt saves the world and Peter Capaldi doesn’t use his TARDIS.  At least the screen they built into the seat in front of me was bigger than an iPhone screen like the old ones almost were.  Audio system’s still crap though.

Gonna make this a two-parter because a lot happened once I landed and I kinda want to keep posts coming at a normal pace/whenever I’m near a stable internet connection.

-Stephen

As I was writing this, I just experienced the first earthquake of my new life in Japan (only a 3 on the Shindo scale, magnitude 4.8).  My grandparent’s house rumbled and shook for a few seconds but nothing too major.  It’s an old house made of wood with paper thin walls, which means it’s freaking old but also durable when it comes to tremors.  How did I react to the shakes?  I stopped writing for a brief moment and simply admired nature at work.  I suppose I should have a little fear in me but what’s the point?  If I freaked out about every earthquake I felt in Japan, I’d probably be freaked out all the freaking time.