chapter  5
28 Pages

Around the World

The trip from New York’s Idlewild Airport to Tokyo took thirty-six hours, and though it seemed endless, every long leg of the journey held revelations. We spent about an hour in the San Francisco Airport, then boarded a Japan Airlines flight on the way to Honolulu. The change in demeanor, care, courtesy, and service aboard the new aircraft was a good introduction to the completely different culture toward which we were heading. In Honolulu, we were taken to a hotel near the airport for a pre-arranged meal. We returned to the airplane to find the stewardesses garbed in kimonos and our succeeding meals were served on lacquered trays with Japanese dinnerware, including hashi (chopsticks) instead of knives and forks. You could get western utensils but everyone took the opportunity to get one-on-one instructions on how to handle these simple and effective eating tools. Finally, a day and a half from our initial New York departure, we arrived in Tokyo. A welcoming committee stood on the tarmac to greet us. Photographers arranged us on the stairs of the aircraft and snapped away as we smiled and waved. We went through passport control and were finally loaded into vehicles with the steering columns built on the right and were whisked away on the opposite side of the road to the famous lodging designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel. I lay down for a short nap and fell into a deep sleep.