It is 3:30 am here in Tokyo, Japan, and I absolutely can not sleep. But, how about I start from the beginning and fill you in on my travels to get here, first?
The plane ride was about 11 to 12 hours, and it was a roller coaster for me. I spent the entire flight switching between absolute regret and slight excitement. It wasn’t until I landed that I remembered why I had put myself through this and became happy and thrilled about it all again. Luckily, on the plane, I had Clownie (a stuffed animal from childhood) to keep me company (a girl my age cuddling with a stuffed clown in public must have been incredibly strange, but oh well). I watched three movies: “Just Go With It,” “Valentine’s Day,” and “Limitless.” That’s pretty much all I did, though. I tried to copy my notes, but I was really sleepy and they were coming out messy, anyway. I also tried to sleep, but that didn’t work well, either. I talked a little bit with the passenger next to me, who was an Indian man traveling to study agriculture. He had gone through Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Miami, Los Angeles, and now Japan. Our only common language was English, which he knew only the basics of, but it was interesting to practice explaining things in different ways when the other didn’t understand; what I see as a useful tool when learning another language. Other than that, I didn’t do too much on the ride there.
But I HAVE to mention the service. I was in economy class, but I still felt like I was just in a really really small and crowded first class. They handed out damp rags (using tongs, so as to keep from contaminating them) to everyone at the beginning and the end of the flight, to clean off. The bathrooms were also unbelievably clean!! We also got constant drinks, and I mean constant. After giving us our original complimentary drink choice, they would come around with just one choice and offer it to everyone. First it was a water bottle, then apple juice, then orange juice, then green tea, then coffee. They came around with green tea many times, actually, and because I know it’s good for me, especially being tired and in an enclosed area with many people, I took some every time they brought it, and it grew on me very quickly. We received two meals. The first one we had a choice between something with beef and this eel one. Eel is my absolute favorite meat, so I was beyond thrilled.
Later, we got a second meal. No choice, but it was still awesome.
|From top left to bottom right: noodles with vegetables
and ham?, salad, asparagus and salmon?,orange juice,
noodle sauce, caesar dressing, miso soup,
eel with peas and rice, assorted rice crackers.
|Top left to bottom right: salad dressing, salad,
fruit (cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapefruit),
a cup that had green tea, average pasta.
That’s Clownie’s hair at the bottom.
Then they came around and gave us Japanese candies. One thing I got was like sweet tarts, but a thousand times better, and the other was like a chocolate wafer cookie. Both amazing, obviously.
After we got off the plane, we went through customs, baggage claim, etc., and then paid to have our suitcases shipped to the dorms. Then we got a cab ride to our hotel. The ride was absolutely beautiful. The first half all you could see other than the roads were fields and trees, trees, trees. There were pretty much miniature forests lining all the roads, full of so many types of trees, all lush and wild, but still well kept. When we got into the city, it was just building after building next to buildings with more buildings, but unlike back home, it was still clean and organized, and they still managed to put foliage in everywhere they could manage. I even saw grass or something along the entire roof of one building. I wish I would have taken photos or video, but my cameras were in the back.
The streets were also really fascinating to me. They drive on the other side of the road, so that was strange. Also, the street signs are sometimes full maps, with exits and arrows and digitalized traffic readings and other numbers. They also have a lot of these things that look like toll booths or check points, but nobody was attending them. Instead, there was a bar that went down after every car, like in parking garages, but it automatically flipped up to let you through without you doing anything. I kept thinking the driver was going to slam straight into one because it would just barely flip up in time to let us through. Another thing that tripped me out was when I noticed the speedometer. Since everything there is metric, he was going over 100, and it took me a second to realize we weren’t speeding. Everything here just seems so efficient. I’m sure I’m glorifying it, being a tourist and all, but it made me smile the whole ride to the hotel.
The hotel is very nice, and very, very small. But, it has air conditioning, and that’s all I needed when we got back at around 7:30 pm. We got settled in, I took a shower, and went to bed at about 8:00 or 8:30 (4:00 or 4:30 according to my body). After having been awake for 21 or 22 hours straight, I knocked out. But jet lag is still messing up my body clock, and that’s why I’m sitting here at 4:30 am writing this.
Though I was feeling a lot of remorse on the way there, as soon as I started experiencing my new life, I snapped out of it, and even though at 4:30 am it’s 76 degrees F with 87% humidity, I can’t wait to get back outside my hotel room and explore this beautiful place.
I also promise to take more pictures from now on.