05 December 2006
Tokyo - Honolulu.
Spent the morning packing up the tsunami of crap that seems to have overwhelmed my room during the past week or so. I also made a point of having a bath. The bathrooms at the Grand Hyatt are fabulous, being slate-tiled wet rooms that drain to some discreet, unseen place beneath the big square tub. I filled the bath literally to overflowing, suds slithering onto the floor, and then jumped into it sending more waves crashing everywhere till the floor was inches deep in water. I felt like a five year old. Loved it.
I made a last minute return run to the MORI art gallery design store, before joining the rest of the tour party in the hotels club lounge. We had to check out of our rooms but by way of compromise the hotel served us afternoon tea, which was extremely civilised, so we had somewhere to hang out before leaving the hotel around 4pm.
We flew out of Narita airport, which involved a very long drive through rush hour traffic but everyone was pretty mellow. Many people had a late one last night as a gesture towards giving Japan a respectable send off. Weve had a great time here; Tokyo has changed so much over the past five or ten years. Its New York now, an extremely cosmopolitan 24-hour city where you can find just about anything if you look in the right places.
The flight from Tokyo to Honolulu was another JAL charter which made things more comfortable for all. I was faintly astonished to discover that the flight time is only six and a half hours, having psyched myself up for another marathon all-nighter. Consequently it was a little hard to pace myself, but we muddled through. My great triumph of the flight was finishing the New York Times crossword from Saturdays International Herald Tribune, which Ive been working on since the weekend. Id got a good way into it, but Bruce helped me with some of the sport and America clues which leave me completely helpless. Im a big fan of the NYT crossword, though not infrequently I feel I could happily send Will Shortz a letter-bomb for clues like 'Junk mail a trucker might get?' (SEMICIRCULAR) or 'Graffiti on a jail wall?' (CONNOTATIONS).
Im writing this on the flight and weve just crossed the International Date Line, which means that its now Monday evening. When we land in Honolulu itll be 6.30am and itll be Tuesday morning again - the same Tuesday morning as when I was jumping in and out of the overflowing bath in Tokyo. Im not quite sure how best to visualise this, but for now I am just going for imagining that there are two Tuesdays this week, I think Ill be more psychologically able to deal with it that way than a Tuesday thats 50 hours long...