Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Japan 2017: Jet-lagged in Tokyo :)

Obligatory airplane selfie :)
We've made it to the other side of the world again! Hard to believe we've been traveling to Japan for 10 years. This time, though, it's just Charlie & me. Brendan, who was 11 years old on our first trip, is nearly 21, and in the middle of his college semester. He decided after the last trip, summer of 2015, that he was ready to let us do the world-hopping, for a while at least. And we decided, after once again enduring 100-degree summer temperatures in Japan, that we'd try visiting in the Spring this time. Bonus- we expect to see cherry blossoms! We also had to pack for potential snow in some of the areas we're visiting. Always something new!

This trip is feeling very different already, with just the two of us. We've left Brendan not only knee-deep in school work (to keep him busy) but also in the warm embrace of many friends (to keep him going when he's not busy- thanks everyone!!). It was very hard to leave him! But I know he'll be just fine. Normally I'd be just a text away, but now our days & nights are reversed from his (we are now 14 hours ahead of him, time-wise) so communication takes some planning. We have hit our communication windows a couple of times already & have planned to FaceTime with him in just a couple hours. Yay technology!

The trip was blessedly uneventful, although the layover in Detroit was the shortest ever, so we were a little concerned when our plane was late leaving Rochester. But it all worked out & the 12 1/2 hours from Detroit to Tokyo-Narita was as comfortable as it could be.

Almost there!!

We left Rochester on Tuesday the 7th, & arrived around 2:30 am our time, & 4:30 pm Tokyo time on Wednesday the 8th- bye bye to a whole 14 hours! Every time I arrive I feel very nostalgic for the welcome sign in the airport, that says "Welcome Home" in Japanese :)

After clearing customs, we bought our tickets for the limousine bus into town, & had about an hour to wait. Our tradition is to buy some bottled tea (milk tea for Charlie & green tea for me) and rehydrate while we wait.

 I always am amused by the interesting signs found in Japanese restrooms, & the airport did not disappoint. New since last trip was a dispenser in each stall for special paper to disinfect your cell phone :)

We got an unpleasant surprise when Charlie got his email, though. There was a notice from our bank about possible unauthorized purchases on our card, sigh. He called immediately, explained that we were in Japan (he'd already notified them that we were traveling), so we couldn't just get new cards by mail. They worked things out, though, so we should be A-OK.

The bus trip was an hour & a half, to our hotel in Shinjuku. This is always very nostalgic because we've been taking the same bus for a bunch of our trips. We always look out for the enormous, beautifully-lit ferris wheel on Odaiba. Once we hit town we slowed down enough (due to traffic) for me to see Tokyo through the lens of Pokemon Go for the first time :) I have really been looking forward to this! I started playing last July & it has doubled my daily steps & resulted in my losing 12 lbs! Plus it's a lot of fun! I was not disappointed. I caught 2 brand new-to-me Pokemon before we stopped at our hotel- score!!

By the time we got checked-in we'd been up for too many hours, & although I was hungry (didn't eat much on the plane) I wanted a shower & to sleep so much more! Charlie sacked-out immediately :) I went to bed around 9:00 pm local time, but was up again at 12:30 am :(  Charlie woke up too, so we stayed up for an hour reading, then tucked back in. Sadly, I was up again at 4:30. I'm too tired to sleep, apparently. Once the sun came up, we were treated to a lovely view of Fujisan (Mount Fuji) from our hotel window.

Charlie got up & showered, & we have been slowly starting the day. I've been perusing Google maps for places I want to go to in Tokyo (Pokemon Center Mega, here I come!!) & Charlie was looking at train schedules for our next leg, on Saturday, to Kanazawa. Charlie put NHK on the tv (like PBS in the US) and we've already seen our first Pythagoras Switch!

The plan is to hit Starbucks for breakfast & watch the river of humanity streaming out of Shinjuku Station (the busiest in the world). Then we'll see... stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you made it safely! Have a wonderful time! I'm looking forward to my evening out with Brendan next week.