Greetings from HEL
So, I’m here, and I can tell you there’s nothing to worry about. It’s quite nice, actually, if a bit Nordic.
That’s right, I’m at Finland’s air hub, the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. One of the attributes of HEL is a new premium spa available as part of the Finnair lounge – although my short connecting time (and the €45 charge) means I won’t be trying that. Although that might sound more like HVN, I think we can all agree that the Tweed-New Haven Airport in Connecticut doesn’t live up to that!
Anyway, fun with IATA airport codes aside, I am on my way to Tokyo, less than 1/3 of the way there, furiously studying my guidebooks on the planes and hoping to get a little sleep on the long flight coming up of 9 hours, 40 minutes. We’ll arrive just before 9am local time at the Tokyo Narita Airport, in a land far far away. It is quite ironic that just 6 months ago I was preparing to move to a foreign land far, far away – and remembering how big that felt then – and now I’m going to the far side of the world!
The itinerary is focused on learning about suburban rail operations around Tokyo on Japan Railways (JR) East, which carries more people per day than the NYC subway on “suburban” or “commuter” trains (and does not include the very large Tokyo Subway system). We’ll be meeting with their officials one day, touring the network another, and then heading through Yokohama to Kobe and Osaka to check out the urban rail (i.e. subway/metro) systems there before returning to London on Saturday.
Apologies for not posting anything about the business trip to Montreal and very brief swing afterwards through the East Coast, but hopefully I can catch up with those and the Japan-related posts to come – not to mention ongoing musings and other things about London and England – in the weeks to come. Cheers!