Japan Does Exist!

SATURDAY 4/18/15

Waking up bright and early Terianne and I were determined to get to Japan asap. The breakfast buffet at the hotel was great. A shuttle bus took us from the hotel to the airport where we slipped our passports into the ticket kiosk. Our boarding passes dropped into the awaiting tray and guess what? Our tickets had not been upgraded after all. The gate agent was kind but “United policies” kept her from doing anything to make up for all the time we’d lost. She did allow us to board with group two instead of group four so at least our suitcases would be nearby.

It amazes me that so many people are so lazy they don’t want to take their carry-on bags all the way down the aisle to use an overhead storage near their own seats. I guess the wheeled cases are just too difficult to push along so they fill up the overheads nearest the door first. Which of course means when all of us deplane some people have to try to squeeze by everyone to retrieve their possessions from the tail end of the plane. How inconsiderate! But we did dodge that trauma on Saturday.

Our seats were cramped which made me feel really sorry for the folks in Economy seats. We watched a movie on Terianne’s computer and I read while she slept. The flight seemed to get us to the Narita airport Toyko faster than I expected.  Jeff meet us after we went thru immigration and customs. The customs agents waved us through without even glancing at our luggage. Traveling with a beautiful young woman has some advantages.

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At a vending machine we purchased train passes which look just like a credit card 💳 but has the amount of yen that you fed into the machine. Every time we went through an entrance gate at a train station, it showed how much yen was on the card. Exiting we saw how much the particular ride cost and how much was left on the card. At first the money seemed confusing with so many zeros on the bills but if you think of a decimal two digits from the right it’s the same as our money. Except there are no paper bills for one dollar or five. Those are coins.

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We took three trains to get to Jeff’s place. The first one was a mini bullet train and had the same kind of seating as our commuter trains. The second and third were the traditional Japanese style:

train 2 train 3

Getting off each train we headed up an escalator, following the strict rule of standing on the left or rushing past everyone on the right. At the top we followed Jeff through a maze of people each hurrying to their own destination, making several turns and then down another strictly ruled escalator. Seriously if you are standing on the left and put your hand on your hip you might be in danger of losing your whole arm.

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After we dropped off our stuff we headed back to the trains. Jeff was hungry, so we stopped at a fast food place, Matsuya, where stools surrounded a counter. Workers cook and serve from the center. We ate gyudon, which is a bowl with beef that looks like bacon, onions and rice.

Matsuyagyudon

Then on to Shibuya so Jeff could get laundry detergent and such from Don Quixote a store similar to Walmart crammed into a space smaller than a drive up coffee stop. Shibuya, Japan which boasts the busiest intersection in the world is only one stop away from Jeff’s station in Ebisu. As many as 2,500 people cross the street every time the light changes. (according to the internet, so of course that must be true.) I didn’t count. But it is amazing how many people swarm across the street when the light changes. Plus they all seem to be in a big hurry no matter what time it is, and they all know exactly where they are going.

Shibuya first night

After getting Jeff’s supplies, we walked around seeing the sights. So many people everywhere. We waited in line at a restaurant for dinner but both Terianne and I were exhausted so we opted for sleep over food. Back at Jeff’s place we crashed.

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One Response to Japan Does Exist!

  1. Donna Likens says:

    Mary, this is so interesting – Jeff looks great, it was so nice that you and Terrianne went to visit him, I’m sure he enjoyed it.

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