Getting here and first impressions part one
Wow. Well I got a few hours sleep last night and will continue taking arnica and travel essence for a couple of days, so should be fine.
All my detailed planning for Monday kind of crumbled away with a last minute rush and friend taking off boxes to post office to be posted to me and others. This was followed by a taxi company fuck up where, to cut a boring story short, two drivers were standing in front of me and my house arguing about who should have come to pick me up. I was already running later than planned and this kind of stressed me out. I said I REALLY didn't care who took me, but I wanted to get the airport....
I'm so glad I didn't agree to let anyone drop me off. I had to fight back blubs when I got out the taxi to grab a trolley. I managed to then hold it together pretty well, until I got towards check in and then started crying. They let me check in twice the allowed weight without question or charge though, so maybe they were just desperate to get rid of me? I was also amazed that nobody questioned me staggering onto the plane with two bags and a laptop.
The flight was uneventful. The highlight (yes, I AM a sad person) was the realisation we were on ANA's Pokemon Jet! http://nu.ourfamily.com/pokemon/airpoke.htm and it was hilarious looking out of the window of the plane to see a giant Pikachu staring back at us from the wing tip. It completely unnerved my row mate, but he WAS unnerved pretty easily. We freaked him out telling him you can get used knickers from vending machines here.
It took forever to get from having landed to arriving at hotel and I was completely overwhelmed and assaulted by everything around me.
First impressions then, in no particular order:
I'm in a hotel until Sunday, with free internet access in my room. Everything in Tokyo is big and bright and brash and tacky and confusing and, apart from our group, I've seen no other white people outside of the airport which is most odd for me. The Japanese aren't as polite as I'd been led to believe in general, though several individuals have been very polite and helpful. The ads on the trains could be for absolutely anything. I've already discovered the joys of 100 yen shops. My hotel loo is a toilet and shower and bidet with a toilet seat that heats up. I tried the shower bit (you can vary the intensity) and tried the toilet seat on the hottest setting! I don't think there's any going back now and I'll be gutted if my appartment doesn't have one! There's a very interesting looking cemetary outside the hotel. I'm got a robe in my room that's identifcal to the one they wore in Lost in Translation. I'm too shy to use any of the Japanese I've learned yet, though have progressed to thanking people. KFC does a green fanta. ANA (All Nippon Airways) does lovely food, had good movies and games, but there seats nearly crippled us all. If the organisation I'd gone through hadn't been so good we'd probably all still be at the airport wondering what the hell to do. Everything I'm seeing is fascinating me and I can't wait to explore it properly now, though i'm not sure when i'll get the first chance as we've training all week and i move to my apartment on sunday. tokyo is flat so i'll get a bike. 'sapporo' isn't just a beer, it's a range of soft drinks too. the straps in the trains are really low. all Japanese seem to be addicted to their phones, even more so than London. On the trains, most of the Japanese men, who aren't playing with their phones, are reading comics. Half the Japanese TV channels seem to have Japanese subtitles. The taxi I got into had white seats and white lace thrown over that. Imagine that in London?? It was spotless too. I loved the automatic doors of the taxi as well. Everything seems to have a little motto on it - things like the wrapping of the hairbrush in the hotel room. I bought some pot noodle thing from the 100 Yen shop for breakfast. Seemed a nice thing to do for my first breakfast in Japan, especially as I have a kettle but no cooking facilities until I move from the hotel. It may, of course, be horrible!
I think I'm going to love it here!