Wednesday, June 15, 2005


I'm planning a trip to the States from July 9 to Aug 5, to visit relatives and friends - in Santa Barbara, renowned venue of my brother's residence and the recently concluded Michael Jackson trial; and Santa Fe, a beautiful and artistic town of dear friends where nothing much of prime-time newsy note has happened recently, if you except nearby Los Alamos.

Time and computer access allowing I shall be blogging as I go, noting the inevitable cultural shocks both good and bad. I haven't been back to the A-culture in 3 years, so I've pretty near fully reverted to the J-culture groove; e.g., I stare at westerners. America will be full of westerners and I shall pass among them unremarked, which will be refreshing.

Already there's been a surprise: when I went into the city to buy my ticket I found that there was now, for the first time, a "fuel charge" of about 10% of ticket cost. I'd heard about the oil price increase, of course, but hayseed that I am I'd thought that that was already ongoingly factored into the advertised ticket price. With the fuel charge plus Sales tax, Osaka airport tax, LA airport tax, Sky tax, Wing tax, Walking tax, Breathing tax, Taxation tax and various other VA surcharges, I'm paying nearly 15% above the advertised ticket price. The ticket was a lot cheaper before I bought it. Looks like oil has peaked; 20 years from now it may cost a million yen to fly the ocean on the few carriers that may remain...

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