Tokyo Travel Blog› entry 1 of 15 › view all entries
August 12th, 2009 – by: andytite
Now a little perturbed, ruffled and forgetting things I headed to the airport. On the way my mind went over all the things I'd heard about Japan before the trip. It turned out that whilst none of my immediate acquaintances had actually been, nearly everyone knew someone who knew someone who had (or similar) and a wide variety of horror stories reached my ears - transport chaos, social faux pas, force feeding of whale and fugu.
Luckily, all my concerns (be they phantom, fable or fallacy) were quickly put to rest as soon as our ANA flight put down in Narita airport. I didn't realise how far the airport actually was from Tokyo - owing perhaps to my habit of traveling with minimal research into such matters. Clutching a fistful of yen my friend and I embarked on a series of train journeys across the intervening seventy kilometres until, finally, and incredibly exhausted we climbed out of Toranomon metro station, blinking into the light of Ginza.
This journey put the first of my fears to rest. The metro map, once we worked it out, was easy to use. The journey had been inexpensive. The kind Japanese has included judicious amounts of English on the trains, stations and sign-age; so the journey had turned out to be surprisingly (almost shockingly) easy, and as a result enjoyable. It was actually quite humbling just how easy it had been, and the guilt of being a useless gaijan with a phrase book and only five words of Japanese in my working vocabulary began to gnaw at me - a feeling that increased as the trip wore on, and more and more people went out of their way to help us out.
As my companion studied the map from a selection of interesting angles and heights, I took the opportunity to have my first cigarette in many hours.
The hotel was pleasant - spacious enough with a great view from the window, we were on the the tenth floor; and more excitingly a toilet with a built in bidet. Now I've never used anything like this (those with experience can possibly see where this may be going), and the phrase "when in Rome" popped unbidden into my brain. I tried. I think my first effort can be best described as bidet fail...
What I had failed to do, it turned out, was check the water pressure. Someone had kindly turned it to maximum, and the ensuing jet was a little uncomfortable to say the least.
After a brief nap, we ventured out to walk around the block as it was now quite late and we were shattered. The Tokyo Tower, our first 'sight' gleamed in the distance like a neon, well, Eiffel Tower. We headed for it and duly got lost in the back streets. After snapping away with the cameras we finally stood at the foot of the Tower and stared up. And up. "Nice," "Oooh," and "Wow!" are representative samples of the scintillating banter on offer. Well, we were tired.
After staring for some time, until our necks ached, we decided to head for home. Cue some more getting lost. A running theme was emerging perhaps?
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