Chapter One: I wouldn't have believed it either
Trip Start Mar 11, 2006
36Trip End Feb 09, 2007
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As it was a flight to Japan, there were millions of small people everywhere, so as it happened, I didn't have time to really even say goodbye to anyone, I was just swept away in a sea of small people through the departure gate. As we know, I had far too much stuff and in some attempt to relieve the gargantuan suitcase I put my laptop into my guitar case and tested the poundage of my backpack with everything else I could stuff in. I still don't think my nervous joking with the customs officers helped, though. Of course, as you probably guessed, gate number '2' is in fact the most far away. I think the 2 is the only one that represents miles. This distance began to take it's toll on me, carrying a guitar/laptop/fat backpack, and wearing six layers on top, including thermals and a ski jacket, four pairs of underwear, thermals, jeans and three pairs of socks
When I got off the plane and got to the customs counter, the woman wanted to see my certificate of eligibility. So there I was, fossicking around in my bag for it. It would have been less amusing if I hadn't stored all my extra layers of clothes in there during the flight when I almost combusted from the heat. Particularly when I have to pull out my stripy thermals and place them on the desk to continue my search. Ah well.
Please note: my suitcase is twice the size of anyone else's. I will soon find out why. Continue. I have to catch the train into Tokyo and although I researched which one was cheapest beforehand, I spend 15 minutes staring at the people using the little machines.
I try to ask them but they are too fast. Then I hear the magic sound "tow rai na" WHAT? Thai? Here? I say to the woman next to me "Sawatdee kaa" and she is suitably impressed
When we got to Ueno station, it took a bit of looking to find where I needed to go. Yok helped me and then we parted ways. Please note, I repacked my bags in the airport so I now have 2 bags which are less heavy and one suitcase the size of Australia. Now, the problem lies (and those of you who have travelled Tokyo with a suitcase and tried to warn me will know this...thanks Katie) in the neverending stairs which are a part of every subway station in Tokyo. Sometimes they have escalators. Sometimes, no escalatorio. So, here I am with bags, purse, and continent sized suitcase, I am so glad it was at night and not too busy. I won't go into too much detail but the winning story of the night has to be right after two small non English speaking (made it interesting)Japanese people walked me to my subway entrance. I look down. Down, down. The man offers to help me but my suitcase is so heavy that I tell him to stop. I can't be responsible for his death. They leave and I begin my descent. There are like, 3 flights here people. When I get to the bottom of the 3 there are four more and I stop, near death. I'm getting really tired, but what can I do so I keep going, and on the second step, my suitcase rolls. That's right
Some nice people gave me a lift in their car in the end, and when I got to the right place, it was closed and people couldn't stay there. That's right. It's about 9 O'Clock and I'm starting to topple. A nice old man let me use his phone and I made some calls. Now I'm in a house, I had a good sleep and I have made my first purchase in Japan. Fruit juice. Not a bad one either. I tried to take a picture but I need some new batteries apparently.
I have to say, in retrospect, everything seems better. I'm glad that's all over though. I thought I'd be too shy to speak Japanese to people but I've managed quite well I feel. It can only get better, right? Oh, what the...
Love and miss you all,