West meets East

by - February 13, 2018

It's currently 3am local time in Tokyo, I'm laying in bed, having gone to sleep early and woken up again. What better time to start writing?

It feels really weird to actually be here, having booked the trip almost a year ago, it felt like forever away.

The adventure began in Paris, where I spent a day and a bit at Disney, what better way to forget how unprepared you are for Japan than riding rollercoasters? 

Monday morning rolled around and I had a quick shower, packed what was left to pack and checked out of the hotel, ordering myself an uber to the airport. Definitely not the cheapest option, but it was early and I really couldn't be bothered with the multiple trains and wait times. It was nice to just be on my way, not having to think about it. 

Check-in went without any issues, and my back was checked through to Tokyo (a bonus, after the hassle of my very first trip). 

I had a quick breakfast and headed through to my gate to await my flight to Moscow. 

I was due to have a couple hours layover in Moscow, during which time I figured I'd be able to do some final checks/preparation for Tokyo. I was wrong. 

We got off out plane from Paris and without really being told where we were meant to be going, had to get through a pointless security check. The whole ordeal took so long that by the time we were on the other side, the next plane was boarding. 

I say 'we', because on the way through and in the slight confusion of where I was supposed to be going, I heard some people speaking English - "Are you going to Tokyo as well?" - they were. "I'm going to stick with you, if we get lost, it's your fault." 

They seemed OK with this and so it was. We got to chatting as we went: 
We were all going to Tokyo. Great. 
Both staying in AirBnB's. Cool. 
Where is your AirBnB? ...Mine, too...
Who is your host? ...Mine, too...

The AirBnB I'm staying in is one of a few apartments in a small apartment building. Turns out, the people I'd spoken to completely by chance are staying above me. 

The flight to Tokyo was, uncomfortable. I tried my best to sleep the whole way, but all I was able to do was drift in and out. I even put my chair back at one point, which is something I never do - and something that annoys me when people in front of me do it, but it was a last ditch attempt for comfort and only kind of worked. 

Arriving at Narita airport, it was like a different world from the disorder of Moscow. It was calm, it was quiet, it was orderly. I sailed through the border check and went to wait for my luggage, being joined by my new-found English friends after a while. 

Once we had everything (a head and bag count was done), we got our train tickets and sat down. 

Minutes later, there was a microphone and camera in my face. Japanese TV, apparently. They did a quick interview with me (there wasn't much option to refuse), asking where I'd come from, what I was going to be doing in Japan, etc. 

After that, the train from Narita to Ikebukuro was uneventful. Once we were allowed on, that is. We tried to board and a guy came running along, he had to clean first! We watched him go on, clean the carriage and turn the chairs around so they were facing the direction of travel. Japan!

Once at Ikebukuro, we split up. Nicola and I walked to the AirBnB while the other two took a taxi with the luggage. 

The walk was pretty straight forward, but somewhere along the way, we missed a turning. Standing, looking a little lost, an elderly Japanese couple stopped and offered us help, ending up walking with us to the apartment. I don't know if we could have refused their help even if we wanted to - which we obviously didn't. The man didn't seem to speak much English (but he spoke enough) and the woman was a big fan of the Beatles. 

In Paris, before leaving, I bought a 'world adapter', because I am a massively unprepared person and I hadn't picked up any adapters before this point. However, upon arriving in Japan, the 'world adapter' (which says Japan on the label) doesn't actually fit any of the sockets. So after a quick google, I ventured back out into the city, this time alone, to see if I could find one that works. 

I knew we had passed a number of big electronic stores near the station, so that's where I headed and I found myself in Bic Camera. 8 floors of... stuff. A couple hundred yen later and I was leaving with what I went in for. Easy. 

Once back at the apartment, I was tired and opted just to sleep - which is why I'm now awake at this hour. 

Today is the 14th. I'm here until the 24th and I have no idea what I'll be doing in those days. We'll see what I decide to do when I wake up!

You May Also Like