“My hotel’s the one with Godzilla on the roof. Next to the red-light district!”
In any other city, a level-headed fellow within earshot would call “bullshit.” But this is Tokyo. Godzilla is on the roof of the Hotel Gracery. Kabuki-cho is the largest red-light district in Japan. And I’m here for 18 hours.
I don’t always slay dragons. There are many days when I wake, surf the computer, nap with the dog, and wait for Michelle to come home. Weekdays have lost their individual identity; they’ve become a blended aperitif that might age well or go bad.
The difference between a layover and a stopover is approximately 23 hours and 30 minutes. The shortest layover might be 30 minutes, and once a person’s layover reaches 24 hours, it becomes a stopover.
Flights from California to Indonesia typically touch down in Seoul or Tokyo along the way. I love Tokyo. And I’m not fond of what my weekdays have become. So I turned a 2-hour layover in Tokyo into an 18-hour, one night, winner-take-all attempt at a weekday redemption. An impression.
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Tokyo. It seduces because it’s mysterious. I can read hiragana. But my kanji is weak. And since many written phrases incorporate both, I get half-way through before getting stuck. It’s linguistic quicksand, but I look for it. I stare at the glowing signs. “That first symbol looks like a ladder,” I mutter to myself. “The second and third symbols are a box and a tree. The last part is in hiragana, and it means ‘please.’ I conclude that the sign must read: Ladder, box, tree please!” Tokyo makes me a kid again, and I giggle at my level of incomprehension.
But I understand what I like to eat. And in 18 hours, one can do a lot of eating in Tokyo. I ate three dinners.
A short train ride brought me to Haneda Airport. I was now well-positioned (and well-fed) for my trip to Jakarta, Indonesia.
Flight: United Airlines (LAX-SFO-HND)
Hotel: Hotel Gracery Shinjuku