I'm at Narita, connecting to an HNL flight and will speak at a seminar in Hawaii and then go on to the Masters next week. I had a nice seat on the upper deck of the 747 coming from Bangkok to Narita this afternoon, and saw this 777 out the left side of the aircraft as we flew past Nagoya.
I have had occasion to reflect on the great advances in men's grooming products, particularly with my discovery this month of the Dark Temptation body spray that frankly is one of the most brilliant things I have seen in my life. And yesterday I finally was able to purchase some. This item is so popular in Thailand that I have had trouble finding it on store shelves. I can find other flavors of Axe deodorant body spray, but the Dark Temptation has been a struggle to purchase. You can imagine how ecstatic I was to grab one of the few remaining cans at Tesco Lotus yesterday, to bring it home, and to coat myself with flavors of chocolate, cream, roasted pears, ginger, hot cocoa, and roasted cinnamon. If you haven't tried Dark Temptation yet, please do; there is a body spray, a shower gel, an anti-perspirant, among other items; in 2009, I think more people would be happy if they (or their loved ones) smelled of chocolate.
The other great advance, not so recent, but perhaps equally groundbreaking, is of course the Fusion razor from Gillette. With the five-blade shaving surface and precision trimmer and microfin comfort guards, this razor is incredible.
This will be an irregular series, with my updates of great advances in men's grooming. I say irregular, as a precaution, because it will be some time before the Dark Temptation or the Fusion razor are surpassed.
This is the view of the Japanese alps from my hotel room window last Saturday. I was at Japan for 春分の日 (vernal equinox day) and skiing at Sugadaira in Nagano. Each time I have been to Nagano I have been more impressed with the prefecture. Nine of the twelve highest mountain peaks in Japan are in Nagano, and I want to come back in the summer and fall too.
Although there wasn't much snow by mid-March here, the skiing was still good, and there are plenty of roadside attractions and good local delicacies to sample.
I stayed in Japan an extra day because of a runway closure at Narita, and when I did leave for Hong Kong this morning there were nice views flying directly over Mt. Fuji and then over Osaka Bay and Kansai International Airport as we flew southwest towards Hong Kong.
I don't spend much time at my house in Thailand, but when I do, it is remarkably free of pests. My gecko Oliver takes care of ants and flies and mosquitoes so that I am not bothered by them, and I was thrilled tonight to welcome a new addition to my flock of geckos, little Pip here on my window-screen, ever vigilant, ever watchful.
I'm at Kuala Lumpur International Airport now, returning to Bangkok after concluding three turfgrass management seminars and a turfgrass field day over the past eight days in Thailand, Philippines, and Malaysia. Steve Isaac from The R&A came from Scotland for these seminars; Dr. Doug Soldat (blue shirt) and Dr. Jim Kerns (orange shirt) came from the United States.
These seminars were especially fun because of the international nature of the delegates at each event. Over the course of the week there were delegates from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia, Brunei, New Zealand, the United States, Hong Kong, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Qatar, India, Taiwan, Indonesia -- perhaps other countries were represented also -- I disremember. This was a great chance to meet with friends from the turfgrass industry and to make new friends; the full-day sustainable turfgrass management seminars were followed by social events each evening.
We also visited many golf courses this week. I believe I went to eleven golf courses and the ATC research area in the past week, so I got to see a lot of turfgrass types and turfgrass management challenges. Below at Royal Selangor Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur, with officials from the Club, from the Malaysian Golf Association, and the seminar speakers. Great views of the Petronas Towers from the course!
We were quite busy but still found time to look at the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur. Imagine our surprise (and Dr. Soldat's exuberance) when we discovered a soil profile in Hall A of the museum!
For the past twelve months I have written a monthly column in ゴルフ場セミナー (Golf Course Seminar, a monthly publication by Japan's Golf Digest group) about the six key points of greenkeeping. For a brief summary of these topics in English, see this article I wrote for Golf Business Asia (Singapore).
The first series has been completed, and next month I will commence a new series of twelve articles, this time focusing on "turfgrass science stories", telling about interesting research projects and how the techniques or results of the turfgrass science stories are applicable to golf course maintenance in Japan. And of course I'll keep my focus on agrostology, not agronomy.
If anyone has article suggestions for me, I'll be happy to consider them; I have nearly 14,000 words to write as I tell these stories for the next year!