Dispatches

August 13th, 2014 | 6:00am

Photo by author

Each day during my week in Yokohama I played a game with Yoshida and Tanaka. They were responsible for the cleanliness of rooms on at least the 14th floor of a towering, fan-shaped, waterfront hotel. I was there for a geotechnical engineering conference.

I don’t like to leave my room a mess in hotels. It’ll be cleaned, sure; but I don’t take that as an invitation to complicate the lives of those who clean the room. But Yoshida and Tanaka were so exacting in their orderliness that I could not help but test the finer limits.


A great number of my industry colleagues live out of suitcases far more often than I do, and they do it, nearly always, in far less serene locations than a nicely rated hotel overlooking the gray,...