Hot in Heidelberg

[15 May] Who knew Germany would be so hot in mid-May? I had to go to H&M to buy a short sleeve shirt. I have a nice turtleneck in my bag, but that won’t be making an appearance any time soon. Yes, summer has busted out all over. Japan, Germany, all the former axis nations.

I gave my presentation at the conference this morning. It was the first presentation of the morning session at 8:30 am following an alcohol filled gala dinner the night before. Guess who had a small audience?!? Me! In the end though I think it was a fairly successful presentation. I’m happy with it. I fly back to Japan tomorrow.

What to do at CDG at 4:30 am

[14 May] I arrived to Paris CDG2 at about 4:30 am. I can tell you there is not much going on at that time. Upon arrival I followed my way through the signs and ended up outside of security and immigration. Drat, how did that happen? So now I have to go through security again. Who knows if I am violating any European security requirements. I hope not!

At 4:30 am there are not a lot of services open. There were a lot of smelly travelers sitting around though. Funny, I thought, they must be traveling with plastic bags. Of course they were homeless. I had read of homeless people using airports as homes, posing as travelers. Some of them pulled it off well. Others were indeed travelers. Of course, I thought I’d wait until I got to get to my terminal before stopping at the bathroom (which I needed to do). If homeless people are using the airport as a home, how likely will it be that bathrooms are open? Ah, well the first one definitely was NOT open. So I followed some signs and found a bathroom open on a lower level. Of course it was isolated, away from people. So the next thing that went through my mind was that it was a wonderful opportunity to get mugged. Fortunately I accomplished my mission with no drama.

It has been a long day. I worked until 4:00 pm Japan time, scrambled back to the hotel, grabbed my bag, walked downstairs to the train station, and passed out until Tokyo. Do they drug the air on trains? I don’t know but I couldn’t hold my head up. Then I changed trains at Shinagawa, and hopped on the Narita Express. I wolfed down a train station ton katsu on the train and made it to my flight. It turns out my plane was the LAST flight out of Tokyo. And, apparently, the first to Paris. It was a short 12:43 flight … ugh. I caught up on LOST and Ugly Betty and was able to sleep for a while. Not particularly fitful sleep, but some sleep. I head to Frankfurt in an hour and a half. By the time I get to Heidelberg it will be Taxi-Train-Train-Flight-Flight-Train-Train-Taxi. Taihen ne!

Maybe some good news

Well, it looks like I was able to move up my apartment key date to May 22. That is quite convenient and the timing works out well with my work schedule. The only problem is Tomo is unavailable that weekend. He has to work. Bummer.

Thank goodness for Muji

[Actually written the evening of May 11 but had connection troubles …] How did it get to be 10:30 pm already? I can’t tell you how hard it is to find a duvet cover in Japan. When I called my friend Kevin, he just sighed. Buy them in the States or have them custom made was his suggestion. The enormous department stores all had the same few brands. I don’t think I need a Burberry duvet cover. The last time I was here, I had good luck with the store Muji (www.muji.net). It is kind of cheap but not really. It just seems to have the things you need. So … we made our way to Muji and guess what?!? They had duvet covers that were nice enough AND the right size AND not that expensive. Cool. Now all I need is an apartment. Oh, I tried to extend my hotel and of course they are full. But I am guess I can get past that. Muji also has silverware, dishes, glasses, cookware, etc.

We had a nice day just checking out places around Nagoya and getting to know the area.

That’s all. Just thought you’d like to know about duvet covers.

Relaxing

It is Sunday morning. I’d love to be in my apartment, nursing a cup of tea while I catch up on life via the internet. Already this morning I’ve paid bills, read the news (if anything CNN posts could actually be called news), and generally futzed around. But, alas, I’m doing this all in the confines of my hotel room. As expected, I didn’t get in to my apartment before Friday. Now, the estimated date is June 1. June 1! That’s crazy. I’ve asked the relocation company to try to accelerate that. Yesterday my shipment from LA arrived at the hotel, so I have two large boxes of my stuff, one medium box of stuff, a boxed MacPro computer which I am dying to use (but I have no monitor yet), a printer, and 5 suitcases worth of clothing and accessories (only three suitcases but I took multiple trips so it kind of adds up to be 5 suitcases).

We got a slight taste of summer here in Nagoya last week. It got warm and humid enough to turn on the AC in the factory, and then turned wet and cool while the AC stayed on. I froze in the factory yesterday!

Tomo came down to Nagoya to help me move this weekend. Ooops. Well, glad he’s here. We went to Yamachan for dinner on Friday night. Yamachan is a famous Nagoya tebasaki (手羽先) restaurant. Basically, spicy chicken wings. They were sooooo good. Probably not that healthy but delicious. The bad news is there are two Yamachans within one block of my apartment. I’ll have to watch my consumption. I worked Saturday and got home about 4:00 pm. Then we went bowling! It was a good time. A wee bit more expensive here of course. But hey, why not? We didn’t completely embarrass ourselves, so that’s cool.

As much whining as I’ve been doing about not being in my apartment, I am very comfortable in the hotel. The Nagoya Marriott starts on the 15th floor of a skyscraper. My room is the 31st floor. The room is comfortable, the hotel is comfortable, and since it is literally on top of Nagoya station, there are a ton of restaurants nearby. Things are walkable as well. It isn’t like when I was staying at the Intercontinental in Luxembourg. That was outside of town, no nearby restaurants, and just depressing. No one has to feel bad for me in the hotel here.

On Tuesday I’m off to Germany to present a paper at a conference. My first paper! It is not a good time to leave, but is there ever? Fortunately, I have management support.

Finally, I thought I’d show a few pictures looking out my window here on an overcast morning in Nagoya.

Looking North and East from the hotel

Looking East from the hotel

Looking South and East from the hotel towards Mode Hall