Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Visiting Tokyo (part 2)

I wrote about my impressions of Tokyo in an October 4 posting. Last month my wife, Steph, went to visit our daughter, Rebecca, a full-time student at Waseda University in Tokyo. Steph brought back many stories of her travels, but three seemed to fit in nicely with my earlier post.

Automation (part 2) 
The following picture shows automation gone amok. The toilet seat, installed in a lady’s rest room, has numerous push-button controls, including a bidet/spray setting, water pressure adjustment, water temperature customization, heated seats, deodorizer, music controls, and so on. I never saw such “convenience” in the men’s bathrooms that I visited. Possibly a case of sex discrimination.

The deluxe toilet seat
Think of the business opportunity! The Edmonton clientele eagerly awaiting this marvel of human ingenuity.

Of course, if the above was not to your liking (is that even possible?), then some places gave you a choice. You could squat over a hole in the ground. At least these facilities had an automatic flush and toilet paper (unlike such bathrooms in India).

Cat Café
Need a break from the hustle and bustle that is Tokyo? Need some relief from the stress of your job? Or, in Steph’s case, need a cat fix because you miss your pets from home? The answer is to go to one of the numerous cat cafés in the city. Here you get to spend quality time with friendly felines. Can you spot the five cats in the following picture? 

Five furry friends for fun
The cost of the café that Steph visited was 600 yen (roughly $8) for one entry. You could stay for as long as you liked, but the lack of food, drink, or bathrooms effectively imposed a limit.

Air Canada (part 2)
Steph flew from Edmonton to Chicago (Air Canada) and from Chicago to Tokyo (United, Air Canada's major partner). The flight to Chicago departed and then the economy passengers discovered that the toilets weren’t working. The crew told passengers that if someone was desperate then access to the first-class bathroom could be arranged. Two choices were presented to the travelers: set down the plane to fix the problem or speedup and get to Chicago sooner. The plane arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

The flight to Tokyo is very long: over 13 hours. Once the flight was well under way, the cabin lights were dimmed allowing passengers to sleep (if so desired). Steph (and others) wanted to read, and so they attempted to turn on their reading light. Surprise! A light turned on, but it was random. Steph could control the reading light of the passenger two rows behind, but never did find out whose switch controlled her light. She did all of her reading to the glow of her iPad.

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