Wow! I’m really here!
I woke up this morning at 6 AM alert and ready to rock. This was supposed to be a quote day of rest”. However, at 7:15 AM local time I needed to be on a Skype video call back to Santa Clara California to participate in an executive event for vendors and manufacturers in the area. I had spoken at the event on Monday evening while attendees were arriving. My speech was recorded so that it could be shown at 3:15 PM on July 10. The plan was that I would be on the call to the meeting in order to address the audience and answer questions after the playing of my speech. Before calling him, however, I called Karen back in California to check in and say howdy and Japanese. It was good to talk to her.
Promptly at 715 I called the “Big Event” and checked in. Greg, the host, told me he only had one sound source and that he needed to play my video and then have me dial-in. So, I disconnected, read e-mail, and called back in at 8 AM local time, 4 PM July 10, Santa Clara time. The audience was great and asked some good questions after which they went off to hear another speaker and I got dressed. Since this was a day of rest, no suit and tie for me.
At around 9:45 AM local time Yoshi and Mr. Shirai fetched me and we went outside to walk Africa. Then we went into a small quiet breakfast which consisted of some vegetable soup, salad, Chinese custard, and bread. In all it was quite tasty.
The next thing on the agenda for this “rest day” was a 12 noon visit from Dr. Suzuki, a veterinarian tasked with giving Africa one final examination before her time in Japan truly began. Dr. Suzuki came and gave Africa a thorough check over at including, of course from Africa’s point of view, some quality playtime and a walk just to observe her. He did quite a thorough job. I learned from him that his service had several Japanese guide dog clients.
After Dr. Suzuki completed his mission and left us with the appropriate papers, we decided to go for a dim sum lunch. Another one of the members of Team Africa, Mr. Ujita, had joined us just after breakfast. He was the expert concerning dim sum and our location. So, he led the way. His favorite restaurant was full so we had to go to an alternative choice. We spent the next two hours eating, talking, eating, eating, talking, eating, and then talking a little more while eating. Do you get the impression we all had a great and wonderful time? You’re right.
Before heading back to the hotel we took Africa out to relieve one more time. She was much more interested in sightseeing and visiting rather than she was in doing her business. Oh well, after all, how often does she get to Japan?
We came back to the Tokyo Rose Hotel for some much needed rest and relaxation. I had wanted Wi-Fi access, which my particular room did not have. The hotel generously moved me, (not my idea), to a new room which had Wi-Fi. I wanted Wi-Fi for my iPhone, but it wasn’t crucial. However, the hotel was nice and what more could I ask for? We moved me from the sixth floor to the ninth floor and suddenly my iPhone new where it was. I had chosen not to try to get a new Sim card to work in Japan has phone service, especially calling back to the states, would’ve been horrific in price.
We agreed to meet at around 8 PM for dinner, (UFTA). For me rest meant taking a real map. So with my iPhone set to an old-time radio channel I promptly slept through The Whistler, Lum and, Abner, and other shows I really slept through.
At 7:30 PM I awakened and fed Africa. I should explain here that I was unable to bring my own food for her. Japan does not allow importation of dog food from the US. Yoshi had arranged for Africa to have 7.5 kg of Natural Balance Lamb and Rice. All the comforts of home. Africa ate with her usual gusto and lack of decorum and finished in record time. Does she even taste her food? Yoshi and I took Africa for another walk just before dinner.
At 8 PM we met Mr. Shirai in the hotel restaurant for dinner. We were to be joined by another member of Team Africa, Ayako, from the Yokohama YMCA, one of the major sponsors of the trip. Earlier in the day I shared with some of Team Africa are new introductory video and some of the other videos contained on our new introductory DVD. They decided they wanted to use some of the videos during my upcoming talks. Ayako in joining us for dinner came to get a copy of the DVD so that she could review the videos. She definitely wants to use one of them, probably the KGO news video, for my speech in Yokohama on July 14.
For dinner I had shrimp curry rice and pork. After our sumptuous lunch I must admit that I didn’t eat very much. As I understand it, no one ate very much. Could it have been the dim sum?
Mr. Shirai went off to bed about 915. It had been a long day for him. He is 75 and recently he injured his neck. So, he wanted to take it easy. At about 945 I suggested we take Africa for a final walk and then I too was going to go to bed. Africa was happy for one final outing.
Upon returning to my room and before going to bed I wrote this blog entry. We are having an amazing time here and I am looking forward to speaking and meeting over the next 10 days. Tomorrow I meet some people from the local guide dog Association in order to receive Africa’s official certification card. Then we have a press conference followed by an official “Michael Hingson welcome party”. During dinner we discussed what Mr. Shirai wants me to speak about at the press conference. He wants me to acknowledge the Japanese earthquake of 2011 and its similarities to the tragedies and loss of life on 9/11, 2001, guide dogs and their impact on the lives of blind people in order to help promote guide dog use in Japan, and he wants me to discuss the first ever quote disabled businessman’s conference” which he organized to be held on July 21. I will be speaking at the conference as well as participating in a panel. More about that when the time comes.
Okay, it’s getting late. Time to go to bed. Good night to all and now I’m going to go dream about all the adventures to come.