Monday, November 26, 2012

Returning with your shield, not on it

It rained again in Osaka this morning: the bright blue skies yesterday were an anomaly, as if to prove the marathon was something special. I got up at 6 and left as quietly as possible.

One good thing about getting up that early is that there are precious few commuters on the trains so it's an easy trip from Tanimachi to Tennoji, but the downside was that the first express to KIX wasn't until 7:07. It's non-stop all the way there, but I neglected to pay 500 yen for a reserved seat, so I stood for half an hour and then staggered off at the airport, raging at Renzo Piano's architecture, all the way to the check in desk where I found they'd given me a bulkhead seat to stretch out in. Thank you, Jetstar.

Then again, on the way out I'd been upgraded from exactly the same seat: I'd gained a closer row to the exit, but lost leg room. Not to worry. I spent six hours wrestling with a database, the last hour a frustrating battle against cryptic division by zero errors, and after that, no food since Kansai International's Starbucks, and precious little sleep, I got off the plane, grumpified by the Customs officials x-raying my bags while everyone else sauntered past, then headed on home.

I haven't had a beard trim since Scotland (just shy of two months ago) and the hair was sticking out in all directions. Unfortunately my local barber is scared of beards, so I convinced my wife to phone and make an appointment elsewhere.

"A beard trim."

"No, a *beard* trim. Not a hair cut."

"A beard. The hair on the bottom of your face. No, a *beard* trim."

And I thought my accent was hard to understand. I was in hysterics, which set off my wife, which made the nonplussed person on the other end of the line think she was the object of hilarity: it's a wonder that I got my beard fixed today, rather than just decapitated. After, in search of more stupidity, I suggested walking home, when my legs are still in a state of rebellion and I'm faster sideways than in a forward direction. Possibly we'd have been quicker without the 90-minute comfort break for strong drinks, but it's the journey, not the destination, right?


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