One might think that after an 11 hour flight to Tokyo, one hour standing in line to clear immigration and customs, a three hour layover, an hour and a half commuter flight to Saporro, then an hour and a half cab ride to the hotel in Otaru, I would have slept till noon. Not so. At 7:30 not quite 8 hours of sleep later I suddenly woke up.
This was my commute to work yesterday. Although technically it is two days ago with a change in the calendar day somewhere over the pacific. I know some people complain about the traffic in LA and their difficulty getting to work, but I will offer my schedule as an alternative. I am an entertainer and my job for the next 10 days is to entertain an audience on the Crystal Serenity Cruise Ship. Right here in Otaru, Japan is where my job, that venue and that audience meet.
It was dark when I arrived at the hotel and in broken English the clerk said my room had an ocean view, I didn't bother to open the curtains, just crashed on the bed. I was wasted to say the least. For what turns out to be two days worth of travel I have been chasing this ship. What seems like thousands of details have to come together just right for this to happen half way around the world. I tend not to be able to relax until I am on the ship with all my stuff, unpacking in my cabin. Yes there have been times when I arrived without my clothes suitcase. Once I didn't have all my props. These are only two of the details that matter when you have such a commute. But this time I have all my stuff with me in good condition halfway around the world. The only challenge left was to get from the hotel to the ship at 12:00 today. I have an address of the dock but no clue how far away that is. It could be another hour by cab, I just won't know until I begin the last leg of the third day of my commute.
I don't have to figure the logistics out until about 11:00 at the hotel, so I planned to sleep till at least 10:30. But my body clock was not in agreement with that plan. I suddenly woke up at 7:30 in sort of a panic. My LA timing system said it was middle of the after noon the day before, and as I became conscious of my surroundings nothing seemed familiar. I never get used to that feeling of not knowing where I am for a few seconds after I begin to wake. It is an occupational hazard of the long commute, but it always arrives with a sudden sense of confusion. As I got my bearings earlier than I thought I would have to, I stumbled to the window. If I did not see the Eucalyptus tree in my back yard I would know that, in Dorothy's words, "I'm not in Kansas anymore."
Rather than my tree I saw the Sea of Japan and a passenger ship slowly sailing into the harbor of Otaru. There was not another ship in the water and as I focused more clearly it dawned on me that it must be the Serenity, my ship, the vessel I have been searching for. It was at that moment I saw the flash of a camera from the upper deck midship. Some one took a picture of the skyline of Otaru and will never know that they microsopicaly photographed me in my underware staring out a13 floor window of the Grand Park Hotel. I immediately returned the favor and photographed them as well. That is the picture at the top.
Some how my consciousness knew the ship I had been searching for had arrived. I could see the end of my long journey quietly sailing into the bay. As I write this I can see the ship from the mirror in my room at the desk where I am sitting.
I know not to celebrate too quickly. I am still "this" far from unpacking my stuff in the cabin. But I can see the ship and don't have to try and communicate the address to a taxi driver if I can just point to it. I would say that I am 95% calm. The things that can go wrong from here on out are easier to deal with. I still love to entertain an audience no matter where they might be and it is that thrill that compels me to come this far just to do it. But I have to say, this sort of commute is not the fun part. I have graduated from the idea that travel is fun and exciting. For me, now, it is long and taxing.
And none of this addresses the fact that as I am flying to Japan they are experiencing several 6.0 to 7.0 earthquakes. For a Southern California guy who knows all about earthquakes this does not fill me with excitement. Fortunately for my anxiety I will be on a floating vessel in a matter of an hour or so. But wait, didn't I see the YouTube footage of the Tsumami that hit here not that long ago? AND... Isn't that the plot of the Posieden Adventure movie. Shit... Take that calm level back down to 75%
Ahoy and anchors a weigh.
As you were,