Saturday, September 29, 2007

Lost in Transition

It's 03:18 according to the clock on my iBook. It's 11:18 according to my watch. According to the inflight map we're over somewhere that could be Ulan Bator if I knew what the Japanese for Ulan Bator was. I'm aboard a something - Boeing I think - it has at least two 7s in the model number. Other than that, my grasp on the space/time continuum is pretty shaky.

I've woken up after a sleep only made possible thru the miracles of melatonin and extreme contortion. The cabin lights have not yet come back on line and neither, I think, has my brain.

I have decided, through the fug, that this trip is not going to be Lost in Translation. Lost in Translation was all 20th floor panoramic cocktail bars, taxis through Ginza and a glamorous, blonde American full of ennui. My version is more 7th floor panoramic bathrooms (more on that later I hope), taking the Ginza underground line and a Brit of indeterminate hair colour full of a rather tasty, for airline food, beef sweet and sour. I think I like my version better.

I also like JAL so far, despite the teeny tiny seats. They haven't caught up with the rest of the world as far as running a profitable (i.e. Spartan) airline. They still have toothbrush kits in the bathrooms and a help-yourself snack and drink bar open throughout the flight[1]. However, the flavours are taking some getting used to. So far there have been some mysterious crackers that looked like chocolate chip biscuits (did I mention that it's still dark in here?), smelt like Ritz crackers[2], and tasted like Ritz crackers. With chocolate chips in. I'm keeping the packaging to determine whether the Kanji reads "Joke cracker for Gaijin who didn't take the trouble to master Japanese - はは (ha ha)". Thankfully, peanut M&Ms look like peanut M&Ms regardless of the language on the packaging. I usually don't eat anthropomorphic food, but I need to take away the taste of "Choco-Cheese - the snack for total masochists".

[1] I should point out to those unfamiliar with UK Academia that the travel policy is "Business Class? What Business Class?". Which is why i've had to learn to type on my knees with the laptop screen angled 45 degrees towards my knees. Bitter? But if course ladies and gentlemen!

[2] To my transatlantic chums - Ritz crackers are always regular cheese flavour in the UK.

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