At some point in the future I’m going to pop over to Japan for a few days vacation.
This will be the furthest east I have travelled (or west, but I haven’t ever crossed the Pacific, and Japan is certainly east of Germany) and there are a large number of things about the trip that excite me – things that are probably mundane to most: four new airports, two new airlines, and one new airplane.
Hold that last thought for a second – I’m going to fly on the 787.
But once the meta-getting there and getting back aspect of trip planning was decided, it was time to get serious about picking a hotel – which is when I ran into the first two surprises of my upcoming trip.
First, many of the hotels distinguish between smoking and non-smoking rooms. The hotels apologize, in advance, if non-smokers are not able to get their preferred choice, explaining that deodorizers would be provided.
Talk about a step back in time – I cannot recall the last time I found a hotel in the United States that offered smoking rooms (and certainly, I would tend to avoid said hotels, even if my room was promised to be non-smoking). They’re a bit more common in Germany, but I think that, generally speaking, the assumption is of non-smoking first, with a couple of rooms available for hard-core smokers.
I hope that the availability of smoking rooms does not translate into people smoking everywhere, although I might note that one of the most recent announcements on the local airport’s website is that from April 26, 2013, no smoking will be allowed in its restaurants and coffee shop. That’s less than three months ago.
The second surprising thing is that many of the hotels appear not to offer WiFi – but, rather, wired internet access. My choices, once I said I wanted WiFi, were more than cut in half.
Again I feel like I am taking a step back in time—just not quite as far. I can think of several hotels that I’ve stayed in where the WiFi was only available in the lobby (nothing like showing the world your expensive laptop), or where you are charged a fee to access the WiFi (strangely, the more expensive the hotel, the more likely a charge), but… assuming the presence of internet access, it’s been WiFi for at least five years. I actually stopped carrying my LAN cable, and my current laptop even lacks a LAN port.
Meanwhile I should probably start planning what I’m going to do whilst in Japan. There are already some things on my must-do list, but, essentially I have three full days unplanned at this point.