31 July, 2006


so it's been a while, but we've had a lot to do, what with moving to Japan and all. but thejayfather is back again, this time with a few details of the flight over and a few initial impressions of the Land of the Rising Sun, so don't despair.

first of all, we were very lucky to have a friend in the airline business, who got us some standby tickets on Delta flights to Tokyo at a significant discount on the $1,000 or so we would have spent for each ticket otherwise. This meant we had to fly out through Atlanta though, which is a bit out of the way, and the stress level got pretty high when we were only allowed to board the Salt Lake to Atlanta plane about a minute before they closed the doors. and then we had to stay overnight in the heart of the Dirty South, but the following morning brought wonderful news. not only did we get put on the Tokyo flight early on in the boarding process, but they put us in Business Class, which our airline friend has assured us is better than First Class, though Delta doesn't seem to do First Class anymore. they only seemed to care that we weren't wearing jeans, which we weren't, and then the next 14 hours or so were spent in luxury, as you can see below:

Jill and i basking in the luxury of Business Class, in seats 1C and 1A, respectively, and then me showing off all the creature comforts, the room and the luxury

it was a good thing we had slept the night before, because even though you could almost sleep in those loungers, there is so much to do and so much to eat you really don't want to waste the experience sleeping. truly, it was a feast, and the poor folks back in economy only got a sandwich bar. good thing we weren't wearing jeans.

and good thing it was so affordable, because once we got here to Japan things started to get very expensive: our tickets from Tokyo to Nagoya were almost as much as the ones from Salt Lake to Tokyo. i think the cost of things is what first strikes you upon reaching Japan, besides the clean and very techno-looking airports. many of the things we had read prior to coming had talked about the high prices, but somehow it's hard to really believe that an Asian country could be so expensive. but it is: every time you buy a soda it will set you back at least a buck, and train tickets for the 30Km journey from the Nagoya airport into town were around $24 apiece. it's hard for me to give a sense of it here, but it really does feel like you're getting taken on everything you buy, we literally haven't found anything that's cheap here, food included. though we haven't been (and probably won't go), movie tickets are ¥1800--that's about $16! not what you'd expect from a country that's been in deep recession for the last decade.

incidentally, the current exchange rate is about 114円 (that's the actual Japanese character for yen, or en, as it's pronounced here) to the US dollar, so the way we figure out how much everything is just taking off the last two digits of the price. it works out pretty well and ends up being a bit generous.

anyway that's it, for now at least. don't worry though, thejayfather is almost up to date and will be keeping you posted from this very clean and orderly country. at least that's something you get for all the money you spend...