Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Japan 2013: Getting There...

We are here, blog-friends!!!

Getting to Japan from Rochester, NY takes a long time! Around 9:45 am on July 2nd we boarded a plane to Detroit, which got there ~50 minutes later.

We found our usual haunts in the Detroit airport, including the Sora Japanese restaurant, where we had lunch (just to prime ourselves, of course :).

We boarded the plane for Narita about 2:45 pm & it took off around 3:30. Our seats were near the galley (& a bathroom) & had the usb plug-ins- hooray!! Electronically we were set. Honestly, with the electronic interventions, the long flight is soooo  much easier to cope with! Our first flight to Japan, in 2007 (Brendan was 11 then), was pre-ipod/ipad/iphone & it seemed to take so much longer! Back then we packed a few paperbacks that we all wanted to read (Artemis Fowl was popular :) & then ran out of reading material halfway through the trip. Now Brendan & I are packing 50+ books on our iphone Kindle apps, & Charlie has the resident kindle in tow (with all of Terry Pratchett's Disc World books on board). Now nobody runs out of reading material!

But I digress...

Along with our electronics there were loads of movies to watch while we flew. Brendan went for Iron Man 1&2,  Charlie went for nostalgia with "All the President's Men" & "Driving Miss Daisy" (& he started "Hairspray" as well :), & I was so please to see "Rise of the Guardians" & "Coraline", both of which I'd really been wanting to see. They fed us well & continually, too :) They do not stint food-wise on international flights... I found myself barely able to keep my eyes open around 11:30-ish (Brendan was already conked-out) but, as usual, that was as far as it went. No sleep :( Charlie didn't either. Which made it soooo hard to get it together when they served us breakfast at, for us, 3:00 am. I cannot face couscous that early in the day (Brendan & I both had vegan meals) so I had faux-cheese crackers instead (don't leave home without them!).

We landed around 5:30 pm local time, 4:30 am body-time.

Customs & Immigration went quickly & we found our Friendly Limousine kiosk & bought our tickets for the bus that would take us right to the hotel, which left at 7:10. So we hung out in the "meeting point" until it was time to go out into the pleasant evening for the bus (first time in a while it wasn't raining when we arrived, since this time of year is the rainy season here).

The bus trip from Narita Airport to Tokyo takes about an hour & it was fun to see the night-time sights, like the iconic ferris wheel on Odaiba in Tokyo Bay, & the increasing number of skyscrapers the closer we got to Tokyo.

It was very pleasant to check-in to our hotel, the Century Southern Tower in Shinjuku, where we've stayed for 3 visits now. It's right across from the Takashimaya Times Square, a giant department store complex that's on the south side of Shinjuku Station, the busiest train station in the world. Normally, we wouldn't be caught within 20 miles of the busiest station in the world, but Shinjuku is a great home base for visiting lots of places in Tokyo, particularly if you avoid rush hour :)

Our room looks out over Takashimaya Times Square.

So, after getting settled, wrestling with wifi & 4 electronic devices (iPad, & 2 iPhones worked, laptop didn't, sigh) we headed for bed around 9:00 pm, after way more than 24 hours awake.

Brendan slept like a log- lucky duck!! Charlie & I did wake occasionally (I kept worrying about the laptop/wifi situation, sigh), but neither of us felt like we had to actually get up until 6:00 am-ish. I did some Ravelry work on the ipad & Charlie listened to music on the iPod mini that he'd brought. We got up-up around 8-ish to cloudy skies over Shinjuku.

Charlie & Brendan showered, I sorted the laptop situation, & then we got ready to go to out favourite Starbucks in Tokyo, right down the way from our hotel. We all ordered in Japanese (Charlie's been practicing!!) which resulted in big smiles from the folks there :) Oooooh, those soy lattes were good!!!

And so, with the rain heading our way, we're getting ready to head over to Takashimaya for shopping, food, & fun!!

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