Yokoso! I'm in a state of shock to find myself here in Japan once again... have I mentioned how much I love it here?!? I arrived the evening of May 4th and checked in to the Le Meridien Pacific Hotel - super convenient as it is next to (literally) the Shinagawa station. After breakfast this morning, I'm heading to Nippori Textile Town to see what sort of damage I can do. Seems a fitting start to the trip, no?!?
I don't think I've ever mentioned how much I love Japanese business hotels, so here goes:
- a heated bathroom mirror that never fogs up during a bath or shower
- full control of the room's lighting, air conditioning, and radio from the bedside table - this means that you can crawl into bed, and *then* shut off the lights! (really, it's the simple things that make me happy!)
- every hotel bathroom includes a basket of amenities, always including at least a hairbrush and/or comb, cotton balls, cotton swabs, razor and shaving cream, toothbrush and toothpaste, and shower cap, and often including skincare products. Good quality (no Pert plus here!) shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel are also always included. This makes it easy to pack a very light toiletry bag when I come - so great!
- a source for instant hot water and a variety of tea (usually green, roasted green, and ume kobu tea - a powdered, tart plum variety) - this is how I *must* wake up every morning, and I love it!
- service that extends far beyond what you would ever receive at a comparably priced hotel in the US - tipping is not expected (and generally refused), but the bell staff will go well out of their way to help with any little (or big) thing
I do love Japan - a place of contrast and seeming incongruities, and yet it all seems to work so delightfully. A place where the toilets require an instruction manual thicker than an SLR camera
a place where you are welcomed at the airport by a Hello Kitty vending machine dispensing chocolate candies (into individual cups with lids, of course... melt in your mouth, not in your hand!)
and a place where an elegant bundle of iris leaves is placed in your hotel room to celebrate Children's Day - a big part of Golden Week this week.
"May 5 is traditionally celebrated as the "Tango Festival", praying for the health and happiness of Japan's children. The most familiar custom of this festival is now to put irises ("Shoubu" leaves) into a bathtub where you can be warmed and healed, enjoying the fragrance.
Please feel relaxed with these natural leaves soaked in the bathtub."
Ah, yes indeed...
But perhaps the best news so far of this particular trip is that I will be spending a great deal of it hanging out with Joelle and Jennifer Hoverson, of Purl and Purl Patchwork fame. We met at the airport last night and had a great dinner together. The chatter was as lively as possible, considering how exhausted and disoriented we all were from the long flight and hefty time difference. I'm really looking forward to getting to know both of them this week. By the way, have you seen Joelle's new line of fabric for Moda?!? Yeah, I know... so cool!
Since I'm in the land of technology, I'm hoping to blog daily on what I've been up to... report on Nippori and more coming soon!