i’ve been in japan now for…i don’t even know, maybe 4 days now? life here has been pretty hectic. there is so much craziness going on here, i don’t even know where to begin.
well, let’s start at the beginning.
the flight into japan was pretty uneventful. i got the first row of the economy class which gave me more leg room than the rest of the economy class. that was pretty nice. the flight was only about half full, so there were a lot of empty seats available. i had the whole row to myself. i had a tv screen that folded up in front of me and was able to select from a variety of tv and movie programming. that was pretty cool. i think that you could play some nintendo-esque games too, but i didn’t. i ended up actually rewatching mission impossible 3. the same movies that were available on ATA were available on ANA, which is sort of unfortunate because i’ve seem them all. MI:3, failure to launch, and last holiday. i tried to watch RV, but it was just too painful so i had to stop.
i tried to sleep a lot on the plane, but i ended up reading the new book i brought along. i’m reading wicked. it’s not at all what i had expected it to be. definitely a lot more dark than i anticipated, but then again, i guess when you think of the wizard of oz, you do only think of wonderful magical things.
finding the train, buying a ticket, and getting to the tokyo station was not terribly difficult. the ticket girl spoke very good english and i was able to purchase my ticket just fine. i bought a reserved space on the narita exppress to the tokyo station. getting out of the tokyo station and finding a taxi was much harder than i thought it would be, but after walking a bit and finding the end of the station, i was much relieved.
on the train ride, i was amazed at just how much farm land there is in japan. though i knew that there was a lot farming in japan, whenever i think of japan, i always think of a very industrial nation. just about every little space available was used for farmland. under overpasses, inbetween roads, and anywhere else that would fit. i guess space is a premium so that makes sense.
from there i took a taxi to the hotel. the hotel room i have is pretty small. it fits the bed, a small desk, and a tv that has 9 tv stations. it’s awful. that’s ok, i guess, people don’t travel to watch tv…well, most people anyway…
what i didn’t realize was that the hotel was not paid for when i got there. i didn’t have enough cash on hand to pay for the week+ that i was staying there and my credit cards weren’t working. this was my first moment of panic.
i grew up in a family of nervous travellers. i think it is my mom’s nervousness that had infected the family. when we would vacation, my parents would get traveller’s checks instead of relying on cash or credit cards. we would even do this when we go to places like disneyland, in the same state!! so having been bred in that kind of a family, i still have a minor amount of discomfort when it comes to travel. it used to be much worse, but back in the dot com days, i travelled around for work and was able to get by just fine and i think that helped to calm me down.
but all of those fears and anxieties came rushing back to me when i barely had any cash and no hotel to stay in. i looked for a bank or an ATM, but they were all closed or were not accepting my cards. i decided to head back to the hotel and see what i can do.
i had changed enough money where i could pay for one night’s stay, but that used up pretty much all of my cash on hand. dinner was going to be an issue.
i was too tired to care, so i went to my room to wash up and see what i could scrounge up on what little i had. as i was settling in, thankful that i had a room for the night, i got a call from my japanese counterparts and they bailed me out by paying for the rest of the hotel and taking me out to dinner.
dinner was actually really good. we had yakitori “omakase-style”. that basically means that the chef will just keep bringing you stuff until you are full. yakitori is basically sticks of fried food. heavenly, no?
i ate fried ginger, fried scallops, fried chicken, fried pork, fried shitake mushrooms, fried shrimp, and other things i can’t even remember. there was a turning point where i started to get overloaded on all the fried food.
happily full, i went back to the hotel to sleep and hopefully not get too jetlagged. the food was a little heavy, but it was good.