Wednesday, January 4, 2017



If this is Rome, it must be... wait, wrong movie. If this is January 2017, this must be Japan, in my life currently. And so it is. I've discovered plenty on my way to sitting here in a nice hotel room in Yokohama, prior to a rehearsal in the morning. And it is this.

Modern-day international travel is not for the faint of heart, nor for the slow-witted. All of the preparations that I made leading up to this day, were a mixed success; a sort of Pyrrhic victory, in that I only lost a hairbrush, discovered that there are no 3-pronged sockets ANYWHERE in Japan - my better 2/3s knocked off the 3rd prong handily with his Swiss Army whats-is - and my cell phone never left Tampa.

And this is just the 1st day. All of my tours are like this. Of course, our 1st rehearsal wasn't much better - "My Favorite Things" jazzily and deftly arranged left the celli and 1st violins playing Arnold Schöenberg, ala 12-tone aleatory style for a minute, until they caught the swing and then it improved. 

As will this experience and my time abroad. I even had a great time on the planes, when I wasn't sleeping like the dead. You learn to sleep when you can, because, the reset of the time, you're being herded around in lines and MYGODTHEHUMANITY! The lines for TSA at Orlando were ferocious! Great swaths of people serpentining through hastily created lines as the TSA personnel deftly and skillfully kept us moving. My guy and I were "cleared" early, due to my vision, and they got us through quickly.

The flight to Houston, to my utter horror, was on a 737, wide-body and we were six across and packed in as densely as possible. But the flight was smooth; not that I would have known; I took a Clonazepam and passed out shortly before take-off and woke up on landing. Houston was crowded, not as crowded as Orlando, but at least we all didn't look like refugees from the Carnival. Gone were the Goofy Glasses and Hats, supplanted by, for some reason, many, many people bearing instruments, traveling to Asia; not only our Orchestra. (We later surmised that since we're the Hollywood (Movie) Concert Orchestra, these OTHER orchestras, were the TV orchestras, or the jingle or Cartoon orchestras, or if they were really, really bad players, the PSA orchestras. Musicians are SUCH bitches!)

The 777 was a great flight and I had a window seat over what had to be a full acre of wing. That thing was huge. I slept until my guy woke me up and said, "Food's here. What do you want? Chicken or Noodles?" I said, "Turkey." Clonazepam was STILL working. I got the chicken and when asked what I wanted to drink, I said, "Yes," which didn't help the server any. I got water.

I tried to watch "The Night Of" which was offered on the flight, but fell asleep during the 2nd episode; gonna have to finish it when I get home. When we landed in Tokyo, we came down in a fierce cross-wind and I could tell the pilot was fighting to keep his bearings, but he was excellent. He hopped a bit on the landing, and kinda skipped on the right side, and he came in hot; he didn't hit the retros, or afterburners early enough. I just said, "Damn, son!" He must have been feeling frisky.

We serpentined some more through Japanese customs which is a HELL of a lot better than when I went through it, in the 70s. Now, you just basically declare what you're bringing into the country and attest to it. They do however, do a retinal scan, and some weird thing with your fingers; all in the name of "Asian Pacific Economic Prosperity" or some shit. I think it's a weird and creepy way to keep an eye on you. Not a fan of the oligarchy.

Anyway, this is my check in. I was afraid I wouldn't make it. I've been working on my book, "Homeless Chronicles in Tampa" that I am going to publish as an e-book in March or April when I get home. I'm also still working on drafts of "Nebraska Creepers" and I keep finding more and more material I would like to add. At some point, I'm probably going to turn it into a true serial.

I'll have more to add about my trip this month as I go along. I have to say that I knew I was in a foreign country and that I was back in Japan, when a group of women bowed to me and said "Konichiwa", or "good afternoon". They are always so polite here. Have a great IWSG, everyone!