September 5th, 2007

Pensive Kevin

In Case I Seem to Vanish...

My internet connection, which has been very stable for the past week, suddenly started cutting out on me here at the hotel. The hotel confirmed that the wi-fi was up and running. I removed my wi-fi card, blew out dust, and re-connected it. One of the two antenna terminals seemed loose as I was doing this, but seems okay now. This warning is in case I drop out of sight for several days -- it may mean that my wi-fi card has died and I don't have practical alternatives.

Meanwhile, we have to be on a train out of Shin-Yokohama at 7:53 this morning -- just under eight hours from now as I write this -- and therefore I may well not try checking mail in the morning even if I can do so.
Manga Kevin

Checking In: Hakata

We had to be up at 5 AM this morning -- after not getting to bed until after midnight packing -- in order to be out of Yokohama in time to make all of the connections to get to Hiroshima by Noon. We spent about five hours there, then took another train to Hakata, at the south end of the Shinkansen line. We're being extravagant, I'm afraid, staying at the Miyaka hotel, which is right across the street from the station.

I feel like I've walked into a time warp. I don't think I've ever stayed in a hotel where you leave your room key at the front desk when you go out for any reason. The room isn't huge, and the bathroom a little cramped (except the bathtub), but it's not a postage stamp, either, and the beds look to be hard enough to actually please Lisa, which is saying something.

We have a wired internet connection here, so I don't have to worry as much about the wireless not working. I had a yellow "something available" signal, so maybe the thing will work down the road, but there are no guarantees.

After checking in, Lisa and I popped down the road to a 7-Eleven and bought a bunch of bad junk food, which, combined with the bento box from the train station, will suit us for dinner. We are very tired, and all we really want to do is cool the room down to something comfortable, have a quiet dinner in the room, and get some sleep.

In case it isn't obvious, I'm not keeping up with anyone else's LJ's right now, and barely scanning mail even when I can see it, which isn't often.
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Manga Kevin

Dodging Typhoons

By the way, we'd planned this jaunt down to Fukuoka-Hakata and (tomorrow) Nagasaki long ago, with no reference to the typhoon that is heading toward Japan. For those of you unfamiliar with Japanese geography -- particularly my mother! -- we're now down near the bottom of Japan, while the typhoon appears to be heading for the area where we were staying (and were Worldcon was last week!) and to the north. In other words, it's almost certainly going to miss me. We're not heading north again until Friday, and then only as far as Osaka. Fingers crossed that the storm will have passed by the time I'm heading toward Japan's North.

And boy are we lucky that Worldcon wasn't hit by a typhoon!
Wig Wag

The Need for Speed

Before I turn in for the night, a commentary on what high speed rail means here in relationship to California distances. (Calculated on rough crow-flies distances.) Today I did the rough equivalent of boarding a train in San Diego at 7:53 AM, taking a train to Fresno and changing for Stockton, arriving at 12:34 PM, then spending around five hours there before boarding a train for Chico at 5:33 PM and continuing on to Chico, arriving 6:44 PM.

At one point, the display on the train announced that we were traveling at 285 km/h (around 175 MPH). And that's not the fastest of the trains -- our rail passes don't cover the fastest expresses.