March 11 – Train From Morioka to Tokyo

We covered the 287 miles between Morioka and Tokyo in two hours for an average speed of 147mph. But this was with 3 or 4 stops. If you want to see what 175mph looks like from the window of a train, there is a video at the bottom–I was capturing the mountains because of how much the scenery reminded me of the Sawtooths as seen from a distance.

Whenever I have struck up conversations with Americans about how great it would be to have highly functioning public transit options, I most often get a blank stare at best, or at worst, the usual tired excuses about how we are different and love our cars. What’s not to like about traveling by rail at 175mph. And this, there are still highways for the people who want to drive their precious cars. But for the others, who may want to nap, or read, or write, or work, or have a few drinks, the train is a great option. The seats are very comfortable and the cars are clean and the Japanese train system is notoriously reliable and on-time.

It’s the type of great infrastructure thing that America may have done way back when—when we had motivation and ingenuity and desire and rational thought was respected, not disparaged. Now we make Facebook. And excuses.

This beautiful baby (pictures below) and her mother sat next to me. We had no common words–I don’t speak baby or Japanese and she (or her mother) had no English. But we still sort of communicated and had fun.

The ski weekend get away was a nice break. These 3-week business trips are brutal. Too much. One week is fine. Two is tolerable. Three is bullshit. Skiing was not that great but just getting out of the hotel and out of Tokyo was good. I skied last year at Nozawa Onsen which I think I like better than Appi. More bars and better access to town and more things to do.

Back in the Hyatt in Tokyo now. I arrived around 1:00 and got in a short run and then worked for a few hours and now just finished dinner. Writing this from the executive lounge.

I will get to bed early tonight as this week is sure to be a killer. Lots to do to get ready for our gate review Friday morning. I expect it to be complicated and borderline disastrous.

But I go home right after either way.

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