2014
05.25

SYNOPSIS: About a few obstacles before departure and a smooth arrival at a budget hotel in Tokyo.

If one more thing had gone wrong I would have convinced myself that this trip is cursed. Two days before my departure my computer rendered itself unusable. No computer, no blog; no computer, no processing of pictures — I might just as well forget about the whole trip. Of course, I could go without a computer, but half of the point of these trips is the sharing and the collecting of images suitable for teaching. And that takes organization and ongoing maintenance. And these days, that takes a computer.

For years my son had been preaching that I needed a Mac, and so I bought a Mac notebook. But I have never used a Mac and I had no tech support available either. You can paint the picture of me and the computer 48 hours before departure. It is probably that and a few tears on top of it. But I got the main functions going; probably not very efficiently, but who cares?

Then, I locked myself out of my own suitcase with my own lock; one that I had used for multiple trips before…. If it hadn’t been for David, who knows?  After that all went smoothly, but 13 hours cooped up in an airplane is no joke. The last three hours, I had no idea anymore how to sit. My butt seemed to have worn thin.

But then it ended and we arrived at the rainy, drab and dreary Tokyo-Narita airport. Really, it could have been an airport anywhere in the world. Hardly an indication of anything Japanese except for the signs that were all in Japanese first and English and Chinese second and third. The move through customs and immigration was a piece of cake. No advanced visas are required for Japan. No money for the visa either, which is issued within seconds upon arrival.  I am not sure I have seen anything that simple in years.

The subways are clean, well marked, and fast. The countryside could have been anywhere in the world if it had not been for a few miles of rice paddies between Narita and Tokyo and for the peculiarly Chinese (yes Chinese) looking roofs on some of the suburban homes. But it got dark and after the sun beautifully set over the rice fields I could not see much anymore during the 1.5 hour ride into town. One more transfer, another 15 minute walk and I arrived a the Juyoh Hotel.

It’s a 10-storied building and by the hallway I photographed, you may deduce the size of the rooms by the frequency of the doors. But it’s what I need. Privacy, a clean bed and access to a shower. Only three floors have showers though. I wonder what that means in the morning… The view from the rooftop features a distinct tower in the vicinity and lots of highrises, presumably downtown, in the distance. Of course, I will explore all of that tomorrow.

But after a 28 hour day, I will call it a night now.

7 comments so far

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  1. ET, my dear neighbor! I am so glad that you got the computer problem worked out and that you are safely settled (I hope) in Japan. What a great summer you have ahead of you. We had a beautiful day, and Merilee and I went down to the dock and put our feet in the water. not quite ready for swimming, however. I have thought of you so often since you left. You did have some disconcerting events in preparing and getting there. What a LONG plane ride you had. But, hooray, you won’t have to do that again till the end of August. Thinking of you and wishing you the best,

  2. I wondered if you’d try those ‘tube’ hotel rooms. Wonderfully intrepid as ever, lady – so pleased for you your trip is off and running.

  3. Welcome to Japan!
    More power to you if you can find your way around Tokyo without knowing Japanese. Lucy and I had language trouble taking a train from Tokyo to a nearby town five years ago.
    We stayed in a luxurious hotel in Tokyo which had no 13th floor!
    Be sure to take pictures of the manhole covers around Japan. I understand that there is even a club which photographs them and discusses them.

  4. I thought you were lost in the “cyber-ether” somewhere…I was about ready to send out a “where the heck are you” email.
    Glad you arrived…sore butt and all. 13 hours in a plane…ouch. But then customs sounds like it was too doggone easy. I remember your arrival in Mali…you must have been shocked at the civility of it all in Japan. And showers…and I will say I remember with unrelenting clarity that one in Mali!!! This trip could make a wimpy traveler out of you if it keeps up.
    Looking forward to all the interesting events on your trip.
    Be safe, you PC traitor.

  5. Hi Elisabeth,

    Happy you arrived in Tokyo. You’ll love it. Avoid rush hour on the subways!
    Drop breadcrumbs behind you, so you don’t get lost in the city! 😉

    Happy travels! I’m jealous!

    Victoria

  6. Happy to learn you are safely there. Good luck with your entry into “my” Mac world. Sorry you did not have time for more tuition on use before taking off, but know thou will figure it out. All good luck with the initiation of the new adventures. I will be starting each day now looking to see if you have posted anything new. Warm Best, Diane K

  7. I remember Narita airport from a transfer there, nothing to write home about except for the toilets.
    Read your blog before the New York Times this morning and it made my day.
    Safe travels!
    And, glad you got a Mac. Give it one more week and you will love it. They are designed for people who know nothing about computers. Just need some getting used to it, dint overthink it.