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Exploring Japan – Arrival – [Day 1/40]

Exploring Japan – Arrival – [Day 1/40]

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Wi-Fi router got shipped to the wrong airport [Haneda airport instead of Narita airport] and now we are traveling to Jasmine’s family to regroup, recoup, and then travel to the other airport in Tokyo to get the Wi-Fi router.

Hopefully we don’t have to, because I sent a strongly worded email to get them to ship it to Jasmine’s family, express. By strongly worded, I mean politely and with deep-seated anger by saying “please” and “thank you” a lot in Japanese.

We boarded the Kesei public transport bus to Tokyo station. Jasmine’s relative lives somewhere in the Yoyogi neighborhood so we’re going to try taking just public transport to get there.

Everyone has been so helpful and friendly in Narita so far. Also, the bathrooms are very accommodating. There’s like three different kinds of toilets. The hole in the ground, the toilet with a bidet that also shoots water and you can adjust the pressure, and press air dry to blow you dry. Then the handicapped sort of bidet toilet that looks like a half squat.

Bus was 1000 ¥ a person. Coach bus limo to more stations is 3000¥ a person. Express train is 1800¥ a person. So we paid 2000¥ [1000¥ per person for bus] for us to go to Tokyo station and from there to Yoyogi to drop off stuff before going to Haneda to get our wifi router.

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The bus ride from the airport. Notice that the wall dividers curve inward. To keep something out, or to keep something in? hmm 🤔

Sitting in the bus, it’s crazy to see how many apartments still have people drying their clothes outside even when it’s winter out. It’s 30 Fahrenheit at night and 45 during the day and they still air dry their clothes outside.

[I would eventually find out that a majority of Japanese actually air dry their clothes, and if they have space in their house, they sometimes air dry them inside as well and not just hang it outside. It’s nice to see that even if some of them do have dryers, they conserve electricity, and therefore energy, by air drying. Air drying also uses the wind, a completely renewable resource that we don’t have to expend any energy to get. All for the couple of minutes it takes to hang up clothes.]

We made it to Yoyogi via the Chiyoda line. It took a little bit of lingual hassling but we made it. Getting to downtown Tokyo and here was super easy. The subways are super clean and the trains are modern and updated. They have screens in the trains that tell you everything in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

People are very considerate here. The streets are clean. No trash anywhere. On top of that, trash cans in Japan are so rare and hard to come across. The houses are sleek and cool looking. And people are friendly and helpful. When we got into the house, we were greeted by a very friendly Filipina lady who had been working in Japan for 20 years. The house is something straight out of America but more zen. Jasmine’s relative’s wife, a Japanese woman, came to greet us shortly after we got home.

[We set our bags down and went to Haneda airport. I remember the subways of Tokyo being SOOOO much easier to navigate and read and understand then the NYC metro. Not to mention cleaner.]

Just made it to get the Wi-Fi router as they were closing at 5pm. They didn’t let Jasmine through but they let me through. Jaz says it’s because I look Japanese with my blonde hair. [It would also explain why they looked slightly shocked that I didn’t speak Japanese lol. I remembered seeing their micro-expression.]

We’ve been in the subway for hours now between all of the transfers getting to Yoyogi and then from there to Haneda airport and back to Yoyogi. We got to Tokyo Narita airport around 8am and it is now 7pm. Almost 12 hours of just public transportation and walking.

Japanese people are polite and proper. I’ve observed that a lot of them read books in the subway. As opposed to NYC and westchester people who just play on their phones most of the time.

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Pretend they’re reading books, okay?!


Food is actually not expensive in Tokyo and I don’t understand how people who come here can ever say it’s expensive. But I understand where these people might be coming from. If you’re used to living in cities in the Midwest of America and you pay $4 for a plate of food, and then come to Japan and pay $8 for a plate of food, you’d think that’s expensive. But if you’re coming to Tokyo from NYC, where let’s say food is already $8 a plate, you’d think it’s average and normal price here in Tokyo.

Like so far, from what jasmine and I have noticed, Tokyo is actually cheaper than NYC in terms of food, public transport, and water bottles. Like a bottle of water for the Family Mart brand is around 90¥. Or like 80 cents at the exchange rate right now. [Whereas a water bottle in NYC can cost anywhere from $1 to $2 depending on where you get that bottle of Poland springs. Because New Yorkers only drink Poland springs. Who drinks Aquafina anyways, lol? Or Dasani?]

It’s also interesting seeing the Family Mart brand here in Japan because they’re everywhere in the south of Thailand. Literally across or right next to just about every 7/11 in Thailand.

Haven’t seen that many 7/11’s yet in Tokyo though. The subways are quiet and orderly. Everyone minds their own business and doesn’t talk loud. There are no poor or homeless people (or any equivalent of the sort) going through the train cars trying to peddle their wares and being a nuisance for everyone else. [And I say poor or homeless people because those are the only kinds of people I ever see trying to peddle their wares in the subway cars of NYC.]

[Post-Facto, we never encountered any poor person peddling their wares at all, throughout any of the trains throughout all of Japan that we took. All the way from Tokyo to the southern most tip of southern Japan.

I have to commend and congratulate the social norms of the Japanese people and the Japanese government for doing their best to not have that be a public nuisance. For us New Yorkers, it’s one of the banes of our existence, having to sit in a dirty, dingy, subway car that occasionally smells like piss in the NYC underground, and then having to deal with annoying poor folk selling whatever crap they want to sell us. Usually in the forms of candy.

If these poor folk actually wanted to make money, sell hand sanitizer. Because every New Yorker has thought at one point or another, about the dirty hand rails that they grab while in the subway cars. And you don’t want to be eating candy with dirty subway hands.]

On that note, the subways don’t smell like piss. The subways are clean. The air is fresher outside and doesn’t smell like smog. But I think that’s also because they all drive smarter cars and use public transportation more.

My feet hurt though. They’ve been so used to walking for miles in sandals [from Thailand] that walking miles in these Clark’s desert trek shoes hurt. I’ll probably get used to it though.

-Jack

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