I'm up about 4:30 a.m. again, trying to get through to Air Canada to make sure I'll be leaving to Sunday.  No luck calling anywhere.  Lines are busy or "unavailable".  That kind of makes it hard to go back to sleep, so I do some work on yesterdays page, and some reading.  

I go down to the lobby at 8:00, as usual, and after waiting for 10 minutes for Patrick, I go for breakfast.  Not until much later does this strike me as odd.  I don't try to call his room, or leave a message, or anything.  I have breakfast at Royal Host, same as the last few days. After this morning, there's only one item left on their menu for me to try.  After breakfast, I take the subway to the office. Two stops, change trains to Hibiya Line, one stop, you're there.

Yep.  I think lack of sleep is catching up. I feel cranky and fuzzy, hot and itchy. And sweaty.  I should take a moment here to comment on the weather.  It's been rainy, hot and muggy.  Of course the Hong Kong boys in the office (Patrick and John) say, "This is nothing.  In Hong Kong, it's really muggy!"  Keen.  To me, it's been hot and muggy.  The temperature is about 25C, day and night. And it's very humid.  And all of Japan smells of cigarettes. In the hotel, it's probably 23-24, slightly warmer than I like.  The office is set to 25.  I sit there sweating, but next to me is a girl wrapped up in a blanket all day, because the office is too cold for her.  Wacky.

The day is mostly uneventful - doing some more demos, reviewing documents, talking about new game development, trying to verify my flight.  Air Canada basically says "Donno. Check Sunday morning".  Great.   For lunch, we go to ... Denny's.  Every day, someone has suggested Denny's for lunch, and I finally give in.  And it's basically Denny's with teriyaki sauce. 

Late in the afternoon, my Palm Pilot packs it in.  "Gosh darn it!", I said.  Honest. Well, finally I'll be upgrading to a new device.  I think we have some spare Palm IIIs around the office.  Which, by the way, isn't where I left it.  In a punch line so hackneyed that Bob Hope doesn't use it any more, the office has finally moved.  While I'm off the continent.  More updates Tuesday.

But for supper - ahhh.  We take the subway a few stops to Ginza, the famous shopping/nightlife district.  This is more like what I had been expecting to see in Japan. We come out of the subway in the Sony building, and see the new Aibo.  Sadly, Sony's latest robot dog looks more like a robot teddy bear. Bleagh. Out into the crowd we go.

Photo by Patrick Wong


We go to a restaurant, which once again has no romanized name, and have shabu-shabu. This is paper-thin beef, which you cook yourself in a little pot of water boiling in front of you, adding sauce, onions, and ginger to taste.  Then, vegetables, tofu, and noodles go in the pot.  Very good. Though, John and Patrick separately mention that Mad Cow Disease has been found in Japan, so beef places are in trouble.

Patrick and I come back to the hotel, where we try to get his Chinese (region 3, PAL) DVD player hooked up to the hotel TV.  No luck.  It seems not to recognize that the Japanese TV is NTSC.  

It's about 11:00.  I really want water, but I'm not going to pay 500 yen for water from the mini-bar. I walk down the block to try to find a vending machine.  I walk back up the other side of the street.  This is all new territory for me, since the subway is just across the street in .belleVie, the department store.  The buildings here are only 20 feet deep, at most.  There's a group of little side streets back here I didn't notice before, behind the karaoke place, so I decide to walk up one.  "It should be interesting and educational",  I think to myself.  

Let's analyze for a moment.  Late at night, foreign country, visibly a foreigner, don't speak the language, don't know the territory, evidently so tired that basic logic isn't working.  Nah, this couldn't possibly end in tears.

Well, I don't want anyone to worry, it didn't end in tears.  But it was educational.  I was propositioned a couple of times... well, I think I was propositioned a couple of times.  Women came up to me, dressed, um, provocatively, and when I indicated that I didn't understand them, they usually pointed to my crotch and said a phrase with "zipperu" in it.  I've noticed that most English words borrowed into Japanese have a vowel, usually "-o" or "-u" added to the end.  The first time, I did check my zipper, which was up, so it wasn't that. To be fair, they merely may have been complimenting me on my manly bulges, or wondering where my big, Canadian belt buckle might be.  So I would shrug, and smile, and keep moving, hoping that I wasn't giving offence to any groups in the shadows of the - I think I forgot to mention - barely-lit alleyways. I also went by 2 or 3 bar-like places, with clusters of smartly-dressed women welcoming, and taking their leave of, well-dressed businessmen. The fact that the hotel I'm in offers "Companion: Japanese Dress or Dress style" (Click on, disturbingly enough, "Banquet")  kind of leads me to believe that these might well be bawdy houses, and that  there are even more temptations here for Mrs. Jones' little boy. 

But all the temptations in the world can't keep me from sleeping tonight.