Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In Japan

Not a lot to report. I flew Virgin to Tokyo -- I had fond memories of Virgin Upper Class from about a decade ago, when I flew once it to LA and found it spacious and pleasant and really nice. It's nowhere near as good as it was back then, but the seats turn into all-the-way-flat beds, and that on its own is wonderful.

Less impressed when I realised, when I got off the plane, that one of the bottles of Talisker I'd bought in duty free as presents for my Japanese hosts (given the Skye connection with Stardust it seemed appropriate) was no longer in the duty free bag. I hope whoever wound up with it enjoys it.

I worked on Odd and the Frost Giants on the plane, typing up stuff that was handwritten. Odd is a slim book I'm writing -- a novelette, I guess -- that will be published for World Book Day 2008.

(I lost the notebook [left it on the plane from China to Amsterdam, en route to Budapest] that had the next chapter handwritten in it. So, having no other option, I'll shrug and write it again. Mostly it was just the fox talking and the bear interrupting anyway.)

Arrived in Tokyo and had the smoothest experience walking through any airport I've ever had -- passport, baggage, everything was simply ready as I got there, and I was out of the airport before the plane was even meant to land.

I was introduced to my people at UIP Japan, and put in a car with my driver and my security person (I have a security person here) while the UIP people followed in a minibus. And then I got to the hotel...

If you ever saw the film ANNIE, the bit where she arrives at the Warbucks Estate and is introduced to everyone while walking through the building, that was what it was like arriving in my hotel. I tumbled out of the car and was swept inside a tide of people, hotel people and UIP people, into the hotel, led by the general manager while shaking hands with er... everyone, or that was how it seemed... and soon found myself in the most beautiful hotel room I think I've ever been in (and I have been in many lovely hotel rooms around the world), with a view over Tokyo that's astonishing. The hotel has only been open for about two weeks, and it still has that new-carpet smell. The hotel room doesn't feel like anyone's stayed in here before. I was shown how to work things, and I needed to be shown -- it's the HAL 2000 of hotel rooms, with all sorts of strange technological innovations hidden away. The toilet seats that rise to greet you when you nervously open an unmarked door to see what's in there are the least of it.

(Having a panda on my lap was better than this hotel room. But as hotel rooms go, it's the best. It has an old telescope too, for looking at the stars, or at the scenery, or something.)

I checked the schedule -- the 43 interviews I was doing in two days has shrunk to a slightly more manageable 37. The Kadokawa event on Friday night should be enormously fun, presuming that I can still remember by then a) who I am and b) how to sign my name.

Today I get to recover, but plan instead to go out to Studio Ghibli and pay my respects there, something I've wanted to do since they first invited me, when I was working on Princess Mononoke, all those years ago.


If I'd stayed home I could have helped with this....

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