Some arbitrary (not to say “random”) thoughts from Friday/Saturday’s travel to Hiroshima:
The description of the power outlets in the airplane says that they’re 110-volt outlets that accept two-prong plugs. “These 110v power outlets accept plugs from the U.S. and other select countries.” Now, the adjective “select” does not mean “certain ones, as opposed to others.” In fact, it has the connotation of something special, better than other, non-select ones. As American Heritage puts it, “Singled out in preference; chosen: a select few.” Or “Of special quality or value; choice: select peaches.” I know we think the U.S. is “of special quality or value,” but, really, should we be shoving that in the faces of all travellers?
People who are allowed to board before most others are still “boarding” the plane, despite the airlines’ insistence on calling it pre-boarding. There’s nothing “pre-” about it. “Early boarding” would be a better term, but I’m afraid we can’t defend ourselves against the marketing juggernaut. But... who decided that “pre-boarding” sounds better than “early boarding”?
This is my first trip to Asia, which also makes it the longest trip I’ve ever taken: 14 hours in a plane, and 5 more in trains. I noted that five hours into the flight, the equivalent to a flight to California, I still had longer still to go than I’ve ever flown before.
It’s also the first time I’ve flown over Alaska, and, despite flying over Anchorage, not Juneau (nor Wasilla), I had images of us as a bird leaving droppings on Sarah Palin. OK, you had to be there, and maybe it was a result of already being too long in a metal tube more than seven miles up.
-88 degrees F (-67C) outside at 39,000 feet (12,000 meters). Yow, that’s cold!
My first real exposure to Japanese culture was something I hadn’t been told about and wasn’t expecting: when train personnel left one Shinkansen car at the front, to go to the next one, they opened the door, turned to face the passengers, and bowed, before turning again and going through the door. The conductors did this, and so did the young women pushing the food carts. Every time.
The Shinkansen trains are very cool, fast, quiet, and comfortable. And on time.
The meeting is at the ANA Crowne Plaza hotel in Hiroshima, and I was told to tell the taxi driver, “Ana ho-teh-ru,” which I did. He confirmed, “Clown Pra-za Ana ho-teh-ru?” “Hai,” said I, “Arigato.” I find the apparent reversal of the “l” and“r” sounds to be interesting: in fact, it’s not a reversal, but a blending of the two into one. To our ears, because neither is “correct” in the borrowed words, they sound reversed. (There’s also the vowel addition going on there, in “ho-teh-ru”, but maybe that’s a separate post all its own.)
The tiles in the bathroom are nice, non-slip tiles. On the other hand, the tub is very slick, and there’s no rubber mat. If I don’t make it home, there’s a good clue why.
I want this at home: a shower control calibrated in degrees C. I wonder how accurate it is. In any case, 37C (nominal "body temperature", though mine tends to be closer to 36) feels uncomfortably warm, and 33 to 34 seems about right.
They’re quite serious, here, about reducing waste. The soap, shampoo, and hair conditioner in the bathroom are in large (300ml, 12 oz) refillable bottles with pump tops, so there’s no throwing away half-used bars of soap or half-full mini-bottles of shampoo when a guest leaves (or, as some hotels do, during the guest’s stay). Great!
Yes, the toilet seat is heated, and it has a “shower” built in. It does not appear to be one that dries you after it cleans.