ohayo gozaimasu from tokyo

Hello! I am safe and yes, I’ve arrived in Tokyo. Ohayo Gozaimasu (that means good morning!). What an adventure it has been so far! Just getting to my hotel was pretty crazy. My first flight in the morning was to Brisbane, where I caught a connecting flight to Tokyo. When I was walking down the aisle to get on the plane I thought to myself ‘I am going to Japan!’ and I was happy. This was the view of the sunrise from the windows of the plane – so pretty!

So, we landed and what I hadnt remembered was that Brisbane airport has two terminals – one for domestic and one for international – so I had to rush around to try and find out how to get there to make my connecting flight. I eventually found a bus and by the time I got through immigration and looked at the flight board it said my plane was boarding in 20 minutes. Yeah, we cut that one a bit fine! While I was waiting I went and got some money changed over into smaller amounts (they were more helpful than melbourne airport) and then took this photo before I boarded.

This was my view for the next 8 hours.

And this was the tiny, tiny screen where I watched three movies – Whip it, The Blind Side and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. The Blind Side was the best of the three, I almost cried several times.
Whilst flying I decided that I’m not a fan of long haul flights – I dont know how anyone can sit on a plane for longer than I did, I couldnt sleep and after a sleepless night before I was worn out.

When we finally arrived at Narita Airport we were ushered into a small train, which then took us to the main airport. We waited at immigration for around an hour, before collecting my bags and going out through customs! Next I had to find the luggage storage to keep my huge suitcase at the airport for the 4 days I’d be travelling. I asked three people for help and even though they didnt speak much english they all did their best to send me in the right direction. The Japanese are so polite and helpful! After more confusion and asking one more person I found myself on the right level and checking my bag in. Hopefully I can find it when I want my bag back! hahaha.

Ok so then I had to find the japanese JTB rail window, where I had been told I could convert the rail pass I had bought before I left. After asking someone I found the window, and the queue that was waiting just like me. Half an hour or so later I was served and promptly handed my new japan rail pass (something I’ll need today for my trip to Kyoto!).

I followed where I had been told to go and ended up on one of many, many platforms. Everything was written in japanese, so I wasnt too sure if I was in the right spot but I thought I was. You may have heard Japan is big on these things.

I just wanted some water and it took me a while to find it – right next to this interestingly named drink.

Pocari Sweat? Who is he and why do people drink that? Hehehe.
I took some headache tablets and tried to will myself to feel better. At this stage I just wanted to curl up in a ball – I needed sleep, I had a headache, I was hungry, my bags were annoying me and I felt a little overwhelmed to say the least.

Then a train pulled up and I checked with the man beside me if this was mine, he said it was – so I hopped on and found my seat. A lovely japanese lady hopped out of the row so I could put my bags in first (I had the window seat) and then in the process of trying not to hit her with my bags getting them infront of my seat I smashed my head on the bar above the window that I hadnt noticed. I couldnt help but laugh.

It was dark outside, so I couldnt see too much of Japan passing by – my eyes were closed half the time so that was ok by me. I kept thinking about how when the train stopped at Tokyo main station I had to find my way onto three more trains and three other lines before I’d get to my hotel. The time was quarter past 8pm and I was thinking of other options. I made a choice to try to get a taxi from the station, as I thought it might be easier and quicker. I didnt care if it’d be expensive I just wanted to get to my hotel. I looked at the huge signs detailing every different line in the station, desperately trying to find an exit. Swarms of people walked around me and I felt lost in an endless sea. Still, I pushed myself and followed the way I thought I was meant to be going. The tunnels went left and right and winded around for ages. After help from another lady I found my way out into the open. I could breathe.

This was my first real look at Tokyo and I liked what I saw. I crossed the road and headed in the direction of a line of what I thought were taxis. I stepped onto the road and the man in the first car opened his window. “I want to go here” I said, and handed him the paper I had so thoughtfully written down with the address of my hotel. He entered a few numbers in his JPS and got out to put my bags in the boot. Then I hopped in and he drove off. He said nothing, as we drove around the streets and I stared in awe at the lights and trees and skyscrapers.

Then he asked me “where you from?” I told him Australia.
“How many time?”
“How many times have I been here? This is my first time.”
“First time? Ok. I tell you places.”

As we drove along he pointed out The Imperial Palace, Ginza provence, Tokyo Tower, The Parliament Building (which looks a little like our shrine of rememberence), The Canadian Embassy (funny that!) and then we arrived at my hoteI. I tell you what – when I saw the sign it was like a beacon of hope to me. I was so happy! I thanked the taxi man, gave him a tip and then checked myself in. I went to bed right away and slept well.
My room is tiny! But it has all that I need! I will be checking out the breakfast buffet soon – on the menu is dried seaweed, fermented soybeans, japanese pickles and grilled fish. I think I’ll stick to eggs, bacon and bread. Then I might go for a wander along the streets before checking out and heading to the train.

I am feeling better after my sleep, and looking forward to some more exploring!
Sayonara!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. elvisandthewhale
    Apr 03, 2010 @ 18:06:18

    hello!

    I will be visiting Yokohama and Tokyo April 9th to the 24th. How long are you staying? I’ll be staying with my uncle. Im half Japanese but basically a foreigner since i dont speak much Japanese and havent been in 12 years or so. Since you’ve been there for a couple days now, what are some good places to eat? To see?

    Reply

    • Alesha
      Apr 03, 2010 @ 19:15:54

      Hi there! I’m staying in Japan until the 5th April. I was only in Tokyo for a night (where I slept) and the morning that I just posted about. I’m now in Kyoto – where I’ll be for the most of my stay. I cant recommend anywhere specific but I can tell you to just get out there and wander around! Thats always fun and you never know who or what you might see! Have fun and thanks for the visit šŸ™‚

      Reply

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