It's one a.m., and I'm wide-awake, so I pull out the map to the Nissan office about ten blocks away. The perfectly British head of public relations, Simon Sproule, insists I can walk to my late-afternoon interview with design chief (and accomplished jazz bassist) Shiro Nakamura. The map is mostly in Japanese, but it looks easy enough.
The view at street level is another matter, nothing but a wall of new buildings with trains rocketing around on overhead rails. It's starting to rain. I grab a cab and pay close attention to the driver's route. It's a straight shot under the humming city above us.
Night has fallen early as I leave Nissan, insisting to my PR host, Shotaro Ogawa, that, no, he won't have to walk me back, that I track like a guided missile. I march confidently down the pitch-black street toward Shiodome, which is gleaming somewhere ahead. In only a few blocks, I've lost sight of my Emerald City. I'm a little too dressed up to be out with no umbrella, lost in the dark with the rain picking up.
A long escalator runs up to the skywalk above me, so I go up for a better view. It's a much quieter world high above the noisy street, with nary a soul around. Soon I can see I'm just a few blocks away, so I head down another long escalator.
Something is tugging at my ankle. My pant leg is caught in the escalator. And it won't come out.
The waistband is elastic, and it's starting to slide down my hip. I hang on for dear life, jerking my leg up, but no dice. The pants are stuck, and I see over my shoulder that a trainload of salarymen are now descending, about twenty feet above me.
I'm now hunched over, jerking away at my pants while the stairs disappear into the sidewalk. The cloth isn't budging. I am about to become every salaryman's fantasy, a woman wearing nothing but brown knee-high stockings and high heels. I tug furiously, finally throwing myself on the ground. I grab the straining pant leg with both hands and pull with all my might until it rips free of the metal maw with a very expensive shredding sound. I struggle to my feet moments before the line of horrified guys with umbrellas has to crawl over me.
I slop along with tattered pant leg, tracking like a scud through Blade Runner world until a doorman at the Conrad Hotel points me to the Park Hotel next door.
It's one a.m., and I'm wide-awake.