Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Team Roadboy Heads for Japan

The Flight and Days 1-3

After experiencing an international trip or two disrupted by late connector fights, we decided to fly to San Francisco a day early. It was a nice place to overnight. We even had time to venture into The City to enjoy dinner at San Francisco's excellent House of Nanking. The Sesame Chicken resulted in sighs all around. All we sent back to the tiny little kitchen were clean plates. Word of warning no credit cards accepted.

House of Nanking
(We Ate Just Before the Block Long Line Formed)

At SF Int'l Airport
One of the "Hats" from Beach Blanket Babylon

Then it was off to SFO airport and our flight. The flight on ANA was wonderful. Business class had lay-flat beds and movies galore (including a superb Japanese movie called "Departures").

My research paid off and we caught a shuttle that dropped us door to door at the Conrad Tokyo. The hotel can only be described in one word "Breathtaking".

The Conrad is a rooftop sanctuary in one of the world's most noisy and bustling mega cities. The hotel's lobby is on Floor 28 of a new high rise. The guest rooms start on floor 30. We had rooms on Floor 36. When you get out of the car, the Bellman asks your name. Before I could finish saying my last name, he said my first (without looking at his little cheat sheet). I was impressed. The atmosphere of the place is understated and Japanese minimalist. It is drop dead gorgeous.

When we got to our room we found a showcase for every gizmo you could put in a hotel. And, it has to be said, a way cool bathroom.

The Bathroom to End All Bathrooms

The bathtub sort of floats in the middle of the room. For a nice private soak, you can visually separate the tub area from the rest of the guest room by electrically lowering wooden slats that drop down from a slot in the ceiling.

But, nothing prepares a westerner for one of Japan's new fangled toilets. You have to remember the last time Mary and I were here was a quarter century ago. Back then there were still plenty of the traditional Japanese fixtures (and heaven help those who fail to leave red slippers where they belong, in the loo). So anyway I had heard about these new plumbing wonders, but now I confronted one mano a mano. First off, when you sit is starts making masking noise. The sound is like "toilet water running", which is kind of funny since the actual toilet flushes completely stone cold quiet. The point is its sound masks whatever noises you are making.

And when you sit, you realize the seat is warmmmmmmmm (and yes you can adjust the temp).

Then there is the sprayer. This is the feature that a lot of western guys find the hard way. If you reach down to push yourself up off the seat and inadvertently hit the wrong button it activates the tush spritzer!

OK, this is technology gone way too far.

The Toto "Washlet"

The Control "Flight Deck" on the Washlet
(Gotta Love Those Graphics)

The Above Instructional Sign in a Department Store Stall
It Pretty Much Says it all

Every Room Has Conrad the Rubber Ducky
Just Waiting at the Tub

Now Thats a Make-up Mirror!

Tomorrow the Tokyo Fish Market!

Roadboy's Travels © 2009

1 comment:

Cindy said...

How funny about the toilet! Keep them stories comin'!!