Planes. Trains. More Planes & Trains.

I have to warn you all, I’m not traditionally very good at travel journals. I’ve been an avid diarist for years, but my specialty is taking everyday boring stuff and making it interesting. When I’m actually seeing interesting things, my brain is too busy recording to ponder and analyze. In 2007-08 I was on the road for 6 months and stopped journaling after about 6 weeks. I’ll try my best, though.

Nothing much of note on the plane ride. It was long. I slept badly. My back cramped up. Babies cried. My movie pick was the lackluster “Four Christmases”. Cullen: I tried to watch True Blood, but they only had s1 ep10 and I couldn’t get into it. Lara: I thought of you and tried to be patriotic and watch some Canadian short films. You’ll be happy to hear they had 12 available, plus Passchendaele and Toronto Stories. The first short I watched, “Notes from the Space Time Continuum” (2004) was pretty standard. Weird ideas, low production values, no dialogue. I struggled through it. “Evelyn: the cutest evil dead girl” by Brad Peyton, was much better. A weird Tim Burton homage with live actors but a painted cardboard set, voiced over by rhyming omnipotent narrator, it felt a lot like watching “Pushing Daisies”. The first line of dialogue is literally “giggle, giggle”. I think you’d like it. Most of the Canadian shorts were either about death or math (there was one called “Circumference” and another, “The Story of Pi”).

When I arrived yesterday, it was an overcast, cold, cloudy day in Tokyo (as it is again today). The moisture in the air is incredible – stepping out of the airport into the train, there’s almost the same damp smell that you get when you’re visiting England. My hair is curling like crazy from the humidity, and my asthmatic lungs don’t like it at all. I suppose I should have known the climate would be wet, given all the bamboo and rice growing natively. The view out the window as I headed away from Narita and towards Shinjuku was of thick stands of evergreens and gently rolling fields. The houses in that area are quite large, clustered together to leave arable land free for agriculture. They have many windows and beautiful roofs made of interlocking black or red clay tiles. The sidings are wooden, and the gardens full of topiary – carefully manicured trees and shrubs. Flying in, many of the roofs were bright blue, but I suppose that’s an industrial standard?

I like hearing the announcements on the train and the lady in her little pinafore announcing the goods available for sale on her vending cart. Hearing Japanese spoken around me is still very surreal. I feel like I’m in one of the hundreds of subtitled import films I’ve watched – Suzuki Seijun, or more appropriate for a grey, uneventful afternoon like this one, Yasujiro Ozu.

Arrived at Shinjuku and took a cab to my hotel, the Keio Plaza, where I nearly crashed but managed to drag myself out to see Heather and Bill and their lovely friend Jonathan for a night on the town and dinner in Shibuya. More on that next entry…

As requested, here is a short (1m 30s) video of some of the supremely weird Japanese television I watched before passing out last night.

5 thoughts on “Planes. Trains. More Planes & Trains.

  1. damn you cullen! I was totally going to comment first but got distracted by the crazy japanese tv. I’m pretty sure that’s the exact same show I passed out to on my first night in tokyo, or at least it seems remarkably similar…

  2. Oh, and Moira, good work on the post. I’m thinking that since you’re only going for 3 weeks you’ll manage to keep up some of the blogging? =D

    I know it’s not really your thing, but any chance of getting some food photos?


  3. OK. So I’ve been in Singapore and traveling around SE Asia for 3 full months and all I’ve done is post a few pics and 1 vid to FB, fire off a few tweets and post some twitpics – all of which is pretty hi-tech for me.

    You’ve been in Japan for 1 day and already have a very snazzy blog up and running w tweets, flikr photos and you tube vid links . Amazing! I am impressed and look forward to your updates.

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