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Final Moments in Japan

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Cherry Blossoms at Night



We were sad, but the time had come, we were leaving Japan for a 2:30PM flight.  We knew there wasn’t much we could do, so we got up, had breakfast and decided to head out to the Sumo Wrestler Museum as we felt we needed to give some homage to something so important to the culture.  We had wanted to watch a match, but there weren’t any as the biggest match of the year was right before we came and this was the off month.

 

The night before, while leaving the subway, we had come face to face with a sumo wrestler, but we didn’t want to blind him with camera flashes and decided to leave his alone.  We now looked back with regret as we would probably never see one again.

Sumo Wrestling Museum
  For some strange reason we thought you could watch morning practices, but what we didn’t realize was that they are held in their stalls where they live and we were not getting in. 

 

When we got to the museum we were surprised to see that it was only one room, thus making it the tiniest museum in the world.  On the wall, they had photos of the winners over the years and a TV showing you some Sumo moves.  Okay, I won’t lie, I was disappointed.  We had though maybe we had made a poor choice by not going to the fish market instead.

 

We headed out and came upon an Australian couple that was there with their students for a scavenger hunt.  She told us how we could possibly see a sumo wrestler if we were to wander around the district as they would sometimes train by the water or come out of their stalls.  Yes, it was weird to hear that they lived in stalls as they are human beings!

 

As we were walking and taking in the sites we came upon a group of their students and they were knocking on one of the stalls.

Sumo Wrestler! We Both Seem Confused
  Out came a sumo wrestler looking dazed!  We couldn’t believe it!  We tried to act like we were with the group, though there was no way we were passing for 10th graders!  Still it worked and he let us take a photo with him though he really appeared to be confused.  That is what happens when your stall is next to McDonald’s I guess!


In the end we were stoked and happy that we had skipped the fish market as fish aren’t nearly as good for a photo opp as a sumo wrestler.  We were told later that it was hard to get a photo with a sumo wrestler and that we had been very fortunate, though I look like an idiot in the photo.  Heck yeah!

 

Now it was time to head back to Narita so we grabbed our suitcases from the hotel and we were out.  To others reading this; please take the Narita Express as we made a huge mistake.

Yep, Still in Japan
  We thought it would be better to take the subway as it is cheaper than the express by $17.00 Yen.  Not in the long run.  What we didn’t realize was that on the way in, many of the subways went straight to Tokyo.  On the way to Narita, they split off and you have to transfer which could take a couple hours.  The person at the JR Office didn't explain this to us, because her English was limited as was our Japanese and she thought we knew what we were doing.  Yeah, so did we, but in the end we sucked!  Long story short we ended up taking a taxi for 140.00 and barely making our flight with me slapping my face into my palms every five minutes.  It was stressful and could have been avoided by not being cheap.  Take the Narita Express!

 

In the end we made it home with five minutes left to check in.  The flight was long, 14 hours in total, but I watched a few movies to pass the time.  Interesting note, the Japanese like doing exercises mid flight which kept waking me up.  I have heard it is good for the circulation so I had no problem and even joined in. 

 

Even though I wish I had had more time in Japan, part of me was still glad to be home, though customs was crazy and JFK, was well JFK.

  After being in Japan, for so long, it was strange to see how disorganized NYC really was.  Example, on the subways in Japan, people stand in two lines, move to the sides when the door open, let everyone off then proceed to get on.  In NYC, you shove people to get to the front, shove people on the train when the doors open instead of letting them off first and finally shove to get a seat.  People are animals here.  I can’t even imagine what it must be like for Japanese people visiting NYC for the first time as I was seeing it in a whole new light.

 

After being interrogated for several minutes and then being hit on by the customs guy (real professional), we grabbed our suitcases and headed to the taxi stand to wait for the car I had ordered.  The trip had been amazing and one I would definitely repeat again, though at times it was challenging due to the cultural differences.  But that is the reason I travel, I love the differences of the cultures and the similarities that bring us closer together as human beings.  My first trip to Asia had been a success!





Airportman says:
Great blog, Binky! :) Next time you should attend a sumo tournament
Posted on: Nov 24, 2011
LostInSpace2010 says:
That was amazing experience, great blog, thank you for sharing! =)
Posted on: Aug 09, 2010
binky says:
Yeah, especially in NYC waiting for a taxi. People were swearing at each other and honking. I was in shock after the peacefulness that is Japan! Too funny!
Posted on: Jun 17, 2010
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Cherry Blossoms at Night
Cherry Blossoms at Night
Japanese Flag
Japanese Flag
Sumo Wrestling Museum
Sumo Wrestling Museum
Sumo Wrestler!  We Both Seem Confu…
Sumo Wrestler! We Both Seem Conf…
Yep, Still in Japan
Yep, Still in Japan
Tokyo
photo by: maka77