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The Daily Paul in Tokyo: The Internet is Incredible

Simulcast at michaelnystrom.org

Get on a brand spanking new 787, one with cathedral ceilings and plenty of room, unlike any plane you've ever been on. It is so roomy! Every seat has its own personal LCD touch screen, overflowing with media options - movies, television, music, news.

Watch a movie and listen in full stereo.

This isn't like the old days of the wide body 747s, when there was just a single movie screen at the front, and if you had a bad seat, you were out of luck. And instead of wired headphones, you actually listened to to the sound through hollow tubes connected to your ears. Pinch the tube and the sound got cut off.

Sit on the plane for 12 hours. Observe that the windows on this fancy new plane don't have shades, but instead a button that tints the windows themselves and makes them darker. Watch a Japanese movie that has you in tears from the get-go for reasons you don't fully understand and can only guess at.


Stare out the tinted window at the surreal view of the wing of the airplane every once in a while. Make sure the wing is still there. Observe its eery, utter stillness. From eight miles high, look down at the landscape below.

Have a couple glasses of complimentary wine. Be grateful to JAL for the free booze. Marvel at the fact they also have free toothbrushes in the spacious bathroom.

Eat. Look at some magazines. Sleep. Wake up. Watch another movie. Eat. Finally finish that article from the New York Times Magazine you’ve been meaning to.

Touchdown. Plod your way, tired & disoriented, with the rest of the passengers to the exit and immediately get hit with the wall of Tokyo humidity, that envelopes you like a glove made of sponge when you "deplane."

Revel in the memories. Memories from what seems like another lifetime, 20 years ago when, for a time, this was the place you called home.

Make your way to the hotel. Sweaty. Sleepy. Check in. It is 4:00pm local time, 3am Boston time, 18 hours since you left the house.

Samantha says, "I'm going to take a shower." Say, "Ok. I'll take one after you," then lay down on the bed, on top of the covers for a tiny little rest and zonk out completely.

Fall into a deep, dreamless sleep for the next 10 hours.

Wake up. Feel your own consciousness come back online, first slowly, and then suddenly. Fully functioning. Go to the window and marvel at the Tokyo skyline at night.

Open the laptop. Check up on what happened with Snowden over the last 18 hours, while you were up in the air.

3am Tokyo time. Wander downstairs to the lobby with Samantha.

Whoa! All these people working! There must be 5 people at the front desk, dressed in uniforms with crisp white shirts. There’s a bartender at the bar. And not a soul in the lobby aside from us.


Samatha wants coffee. “Coffee at this hour?" I say. "You won’t be able to go back to sleep.”

“I won’t be able to go back to sleep anyway,” she says.

True enough.

Stroll through the ghostly, humid Tokyo night looking for a conbini.

Find a store that’s open - a Family Mart. Samantha gets a prepackaged, refrigerated coffee. It is not bad, but just a tad too sweet. Tastes like Japan. Memories flood the brain again.

Look over the beverage section, and ponder getting a beer. This is certainly something you’d never see in Boston, you think: Beer at a convenience store? You can’t even get a beer at the grocery store in Massachusetts.

Ultimately decide against the beer. Get an onigiri - one for you, and one for Samantha. Finish them before you make it back to the hotel room on the 33rd floor.

Dial into the Daily Paul. 10,000 miles from home, on the other end of the earth, and after all of that, it is right there. Right where it always is. Right where it belongs.

The internet is incredible.

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Jefferson's picture


That wing pic is surreal. Have a great time man! Thanks for taking us along for the ride. I look forward to hearing about the trip.

If you make it to The Sunny Climes of Western Japan

Say hello to James Corbett for me. :-)

hollow tube headphones

I think these are the safest for cell phones. I have used them in the past but they wear out easily and need to be replaced often. Does anyone here know a good supplier of these? I'm looking for a headset that I do not have to put in my ear but one that just sits over it. Maybe I should call Japan Air Lines!

Have a great trip!


I think Mercola used to sell

I think Mercola used to sell those on is website.

Glad you made it safely.

I know you said you're there on business, but I hope you and Samantha have plenty of time to get out and enjoy yourselves while you're there, too. :)

What land mass is below the

What land mass is below the wing?

Eight miles high, and when you touched down, did you actually find it stranger than Nod?

By the way, your "onigiri" link address contains a typo.

manystrom's picture

Thank you

Don't know what that is down there. Earth is the best I can say :).

I fixed the link. Thanks. There were other broken links too. Fixed in from my phone in the hotel lobby. Again the internet is amazing.

Stranger than Nod? Is that how the lyrics go? If that is true, then most definitely! Way stranger than Nod.

What does it mean?

no known Nod ...or... no known, Nod

Gene Clark's [of the Byrds] lyrical reference was most likely inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson...

Here are other references to Nod...

Most lyric sheets and common reference claim the lyric as "stranger than known", but I recall a Gene Clark interview from when I was a kid in which he clarified that it was originally written "stranger than Nod". It is originally a biblical reference associated with Cain's exile on the "East of Eden" in the book of Genesis. Your touchdown from eight miles high to a strange milieu in the Far East certainly... well, your journal bits posted here made me think, "Wow, Tokyo appears to be stranger than Nod!" :D

Much like the bible's book of Job is commonly pronounced with a long "o", such is the sound of "o" pronounced in the bible's land of Nod [node].

Eight Miles High...

stranger than Byrds...

stranger than Kottke...

no known Nod nor no known, Nod! ;)

Michael Nystrom's picture

Wow! Thanks for all the info

Wonderful. And I'm glad to know that someone picked up on my reference. :)

I learn something new here every day.

Thank you.

All art is only done by the individual. The individual is all you ever have, and all schools only serve to classify their members as failures. E.H.
Cyril's picture

Bumpy BUMP. :)

Bumpy BUMP. :)

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

This made

my day. Thanks for sharing! Nice writing too BTW.


The internet is incredible.

I love my country
I am appalled by my government

infinite potential

Humanity rocks

Cyril's picture

Woohoo. :) Nice pics, Michael!

Woohoo. :) Nice pics, Michael!

Enjoy your stay and business. :)

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Mikerascan's picture

Mmmmm Beer

Two of my personal favorites in the cooler for when I travel to Kyoto\Osaka... Asahi Super Dry and Suntory Premium Malt.

You're making me want to to go back there soon.

Have an awesome trip!

Michael Nystrom's picture

Japan brews excellent beer

but 3am this morning was a little early to start drinking, though. Let's see, it is 7am now... Hmm... It is Sunday after all.

Just kidding.

Asahi Super Dry has always been my favorite. That is what my cousin, who I stayed with when I was 19, drank. It was my first introduction to Japanese beer, and in fact, beer itself.

I'm looking forward to having one with a nice sushi dinner tonight (if I can stay up!)

All art is only done by the individual. The individual is all you ever have, and all schools only serve to classify their members as failures. E.H.

Japanese beer

It's a rice brew, right? Just perfect for we gluten free folks. Not many american brews that are rice. I think Rolling Rock, not too many others. Sapporro is one of my favorites.

Colchester, New London County, Connecticut

Michael Nystrom's picture

Sorry to break it to you, but beer is beer

Japanese beer is as beery and gluten filled as any other (including Sapporo) :(.

You're thinking of sake, which is rice wine. Also quite good, and definitely gluten free. Served chilled on a summer day, but best drunk hot on a winter's evening.

All art is only done by the individual. The individual is all you ever have, and all schools only serve to classify their members as failures. E.H.
Mikerascan's picture

Asahi Super Dry


Here is the official information on the product. It is not a rice based beverage.

Mikerascan's picture

Single Malt Whisky

I think you will find a way to stay up for that sushi!

I am also a big fan of Japanese single malt whisky. A few months ago, I toured the Suntory distillery south of Kyoto where they make Hibiki and Yamazaki. I think that they have a sister factory where they make Hakushu near Hokuto. Probably too far for a day trip from Tokyo though.




Michael Nystrom's picture

Suntory is an awesome whisky

They do it right here.

I got enough sleep last night that I'm sure I'll make it to dinner. 2:30 pm here, 1:30 am back in Boston, but I think with a strong cup of joe, I'll be just fine.


All art is only done by the individual. The individual is all you ever have, and all schools only serve to classify their members as failures. E.H.