Airline ticketing bullshit

I was supposed to go to Paris with my girlfriend next week, but I suddenly have to cancel for various reasons. Checking the calendar, we decided we could report the trip to August and match it with a friend’s wedding in Rome.

So I cancel her ticket first, which was an award ticket so it was rather easy. Then looking at my ticket, here’s what I find in the oh-so-buggy Air France website:

  • It would cost me ¥650.000 to change my ticket, including the ¥15.000 modification fee

650.000 yens for changing my ticket

  • On the other hand, I could cancel my ticket for ¥30.000 and buy a new one for the exact same flights for ¥175.000

new ticket for 175.000

I’m calling the reservation desk Monday to see what they’ll say (because of course there is no way to cancel the reservation online) but I’m sure they won’t even blink…

U.S. Elections impact on Japan

I don’t know if we will see any real difference here with Democrats instead of Republicans at the helm over there. All I know is this made me laugh right after lunch.

A friend of mine who works in a cargo ship brokering firm forwarded me a market report written by another broker:

Following the American erections last week, it is expected that Mr. Obama will decrease the Japanese car import ratios starting next year.
Thankfully, most Japanese cars exported to America sport an automatic transmission as most Americans are not comfortable holding a stick, according to a poll conducted few hours after the erections.

More tax fun!

January sees its share of administrative tasks for the new year that just started. So I received some new forms from my office’s executive assistant and as usual the English information sheet is of great help:

Special Tax Credit
Inform of special tax credit (deduction of housing loan) system like house loan etc. of residence tax. It comes to be able to deduct the amount of a special deduction like the house loan etc. that were not able to be deducted from the income tax is able to deduct from the residence tax in 2008 fiscal year.

Okay… As usual I’m going to stamp the paper with my hanko and give it back praying that I have not signed over my soul to the devil…

Another tip about teeth

I just received the new Health Insurance Bulletin from my company and we have a new installment of my favorite healthy advice series about dental hygiene:

A tip about teeth
Winter is here.
Do your teeth feel sensitive when you bite into something cold?
It might be a gapalong the line between your teeth and gums.
This happens when you brush your teeth with a strong scrubbing motion from left to right.
Brushing this way can wear down your teeth.
Try visiting your dental clinic to ask which method of brushing is best suited to your teeth, before they become damaged.

Japanese people must really have weak dentitions, seeing as most of the toothbrushes you find in the stores here are softer than mohair, I really doubt you could damage your gums with that. Not as funny as the last one where they we’re looking to cash in on any opportunity to remove my teeth

A tip about teeth

In exactly 4 days I will officially become a fully local employee in my company. My salary will be in Japanese Yens, I will pay Japanese taxes, be under a Japanese pension plan (although I still retain an extra pension plan in France as a bonus) and be protected by a Japanese health insurance.

Although this will only start from Thursday 1st, I already began receiving the Health Insurance’s newsletter which has an English version for us foreigners. This is where I found this little gem:

A tip about teeth
We are now in the autumn.
You see, I would like something nice to eat.
Is everything fine in your mouth?
If plaque or tartar has formed on your teeth, let’s use this opportunity to remove them.

Remove what? Plaque or teeth? Poor grammar or barbaric oral surgery practices? I let you be the judge… Anyways, this does nothing for my fear of Japanese dentists…

S-Air summer ski jump

What to do when you really want to snowboard in summer and you like stupid crazy activities? You find a place where they built a big-air jump on a hill with a pool under it.

me, ready to jump

The place is called S-Air and is located in 所沢 in southern Saitama. You can get there from Tokyo in around 45min by train and the full day pass + rental of everything will cost you 8,300¥ (or 7,000¥ for 2 1/2 hours).

This was really really scary and even though I probably never cleared 3m, it felt really high. I had never taken a real jump on a snowboard before, and I will probably never do it on snow now that I know how it feels: I had so many potentially-fatal-crashes in that pool, I’m scared for life now…

What’s in my brain?

Today, a colleague of mine introduced me to the latest viral website to hit japan: 脳内. It’s a simple form in which you type your name and through a certain algorithm, it gives you a sliced-up image of your head with words inside. Here is mine:

pretty much empty

And for those no familiar with the Japanese language, here’s the key to decipher it:

H – sex
休 – vacations

I guess it’s pretty much right on spot…

Cursed business trip

I’m in Detroit Metro airport waiting or my flight back to Tokyo from my 1 week business trip to the US and I hope my troubles are over. Here’s a quick list of the problems so far:

  • In NYC on the first night, my friend got strangled by a crazy drunk jock as we were coming out of a Japanese restaurant close to his place. The jock finally let him go and went on to hit another random guy a block away. He wasn’t hurt but we had a good scare.
  • When going to Greenwich Village to buy a bag my girlfriend asked me to bring back, I got fell into the Gay Pride parade and got stuck for over an hour trying to wade through the crowd back to Broadway.
  • On the flight from NYC to Dallas, I was randomly selected for a special security check. Random is the word, it’s the second time out of 2 US flights I took since 9/11.

SSSS over and over again

  • My flight today from Dallas to Detroit was cancelled and rebooked for tomorrow 6AM. I will have to wake up around 3:30AM to leave at 4AM for the airport.
  • I was randomly selected again 30 minutes ago after checking in for my flight to Tokyo. This time the machine smelling explosives started to beep and the officer called a supervisor to recheck my bag, pat me down and ask me a bunch of questions…

Just a 13 hours flight left to go and I’ll be back home in Japan, safe from all this crazy stuff. I can’t wait!