Friday, 21 September 2007

Tokyo, first impressions

Arrived on time after a good, short flight by Asiana's 767-300 (ER). Narita Airport is huge and we were taxiing for 15 minutes before we got to the stand. Immigration, luggage reclaim and customs was efficient and friendly. In the arrivals hall, I was met by a very presentable young man from the tour company and soon he was speeding me to Tokyo in a very comfortable limousine. Is it just me, though - I keep thinking I'm talking to a cyborg when people have a Bluetooth headset stuck to the side of their head?

Narita is about one and a half hours out of Tokyo, even with the traffic flowing well. The skyscrapers start early and just continue all the way in. I've seen big cities but Tokyo seems to be something else. The Imperial Hotel is huge and posh. It's actually 'Son of Imperial' because the famous original by Frank Lloyd Wright was rebuilt in the '60s (just like the Waldorf Astoria in New York which is now 'Son of Waldorf).

The room is very well-appointed but, boy, do the Japanese like gadgets. The W.C. has a heated seat and a control panel on the wall for spray, bidet and flush, with buttons to control the water pressure. The bath has taps, if you prefer, but it also has a control panel to select temperature and a button that says 'Fill' and it fills! There's a stop button, too. When the bath is ready, it plays a few bars from 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' (I kid you not).

I've enjoyed a good American style breakfast and will shortly actually go outside (that was the idea, Jan) but I thought I'd give you the quick update first. Catch you later!