Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day One - Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more

We got off the plane and realised that it's pretty cold over here! However a few minutes of trying to navigate the airport and we were down to t-shirts. Getting through immigration and customs was easy - no waiting. The tricky bit was figuring out where to pick up the Rail Pass. Found it eventually from the map on the back of the exchange form and a bit of wandering around. The lady at the ticket counter helped get us to Tokyo Station. There was pretty scenery and lots of old Japanese style houses on the way. We've realised that nothing over here is less that double story!
Once at Tokyo Station, Michael's Japanese got us directions for the next two trains to Asukasa Station, the closest station to our accommodation. Then came the hard bit - figuring out where the damn place was. We had the address, but in Japan there are hardly any street names, the address goes by block number -> section number -> suburb. Unfortunately the block numbers aren't in numerical order, according to Michael they're in order of construction date or something crazy. They also aren't signposted. Once you have a map that shows the block numbers you then have to make sure that you are looking in the right section number. Because if you are looking for block 14, there are about 5 of them on the map! One helpful guy noticed us squinting at a map and offered to help by walking with us for a bit to point our feet in the right direction... but we still got lost.

In the end I just ended up following Michael, who managed to figure it out before we both collapsed (something we'd better get used to I guess!) - if only there was an emoticon for the feeling that we felt when we finally saw that sign!!! It was so good.

The hostel is really nice with free WIFI, free computers, tea and coffee, TV and ensuite with fancy toilet that has heated seat and makes a flushing noise so that people can't actually hear you going to the toilet! The staff are really friendly and speak english and told us all about the area.

Our beds weren't ready yet so we stashed our bags and went in search of MOS burgers, recommended by Chang, Anth and Sharon, which we had seen on the way over. Michael reminded me of enough Japanese to be able to order the most delicious little cheeseburger. Mmmmm, cheeseburger. After that we went back to the hostel to chill for a bit before the room was ready, reading some Sherlock Holmes and sending emails to anxious family members to assure them that we were still alive. Then up to the room for a nanna nap. Then a quick shower (quick for me anyhow) and a costume change, then out in search of more food. This took ages. There were too many things to choose from! Luckily one of Japan's specialities is fake food so the displays were very helpful. After a bit of wandering around we found somewhere promising, cheap but clean, with other customers, always a good sign. When we tried to order they directed us to a ticket machine where you put in your money and select the button that's got the picture of what you want. It gives you a ticket and you give that to the cook. We didn't really know what we had ordered, but it turned out to be really nice noodle soup. Totemo oishi deshita!

Then off to the supermarket to stock up on supplies - tissues for my permanent sniffles (a pain since blowing your nose in public is considered rude!) and some breaky for the morning (utilising our collapsible bowls and cups so that we can eat in the room. The issue of keeping the OJ and milk fresh (no fridge) was solved by Michael's ingenious plan of putting them into a bag and then hanging it outside the window (since it's freezing outside at night!). Now we are just going through the rest of our trip, making accomm bookings, since everything seems to be booked or nearly booked out already. And then I am ready to crash, what an awesome crazy day!

1 comment:

  1. "I wish there was an emoticon for the feeling that we felt" - that's worthy of the quote board ;)