Japan 2016: Day 1

I had originally planned to blog about my United Airlines flight before getting in to my first day in Japan. But I was so excited being here, that it looks like UA is gonna get a pass for its sub-par service. Ugh, it’s especially annoying when you spend an extra $200 on Economy Plus, which is pretty much a scam. Next time (if there is a next time… I will be trying my hardest to avoid flying United from now on), I won’t bother anymore.

Anyway, on to more joyous things. We touched down in Tokyo around 3:15pm, which was on time, despite what seemed to me like a late departure. I had spent the entire 11-hour flight in my seat only… I only got up once when my two seatmates both went to the washroom at the same time. And that was only to put my GoPro back in my bag. Another never-again for me. I chose the window seat this time because I wanted to get a timelapse using the GoPro. It wasn’t worth it.

I cleared immigration easy enough. My third stamp for Japan in this passport alone! But my bag took forever to get in. I finally cleared customs around 4pm, then I was faced with another problem: I had absolutely no money. I was prepared for this of course. But I dare anyone else to try to figure out the map of Narita Airport… Bleh. It took me 45 minutes to find an ATM to withdraw money. After that, I got in the wrong train platform! That’s probably a good problem to have here in Japan. So many train companies = sometimes you get in the wrong area altogether.

After finding my way to the right area, it was already past 5. Which meant that it was past 6pm before I got to my first stop in Japan, Mengokoro Kunimoto, a ramen shop featured in Life Where I’m From that made it sort of big. The video made running a ramen restaurant sound real tough. Sure enough, it was busy. And Kunimoto-san (who had his mom helping him out) was pretty much constantly moving. Unfortunately that meant I couldn’t ask for a selfie like my cousin Jo told me to. Anyway, the ramen was AMAZING. Especially the pork that he sous vides… Ahhhh. I burned my tongue. Not even mad though.

Unfortunately, after the awful food on the United flight, I was desperate for some eats when I got to Narita. So I had 2 tuna onigiri right away. This was satisfying in and of itself, given that I LOVE ONIGIRI! But it also interfered with my fully finishing the whole bowl of ramen.

Right, so I was in the area for maybe about an hour. I must have been eating for 20-30 minutes only though. Most of it was spent bumming around. But I finally got to Ueno Station at around 7:30pm. There, I was able to get my JR East Tohoku pass, which cost Y20,000 (about $250 CAD). But its worth is in the two reservations I had already made… Two shinkansen (bullet train) tickets: one from Ueno to Akita; the other from Aomori to Tokyo. These two tickets on their own would have cost Y25,000 already. Add to that all the other trains I’ll be taking in around Akita, Aomori, and of course Tokyo.

Finally, I made my way to my hotel. It was only about 8pm. Which is lame. But I was pretty wiped. The hotel turned out really nice, it’s newly renovated after all. But of course, as with most rooms in Japan, it was pretty small. I’m on the 11th floor though, so the view is pretty amazing.

Around 9pm, while I was cleaning up my mess from the airport, etc. I’m pretty sure there was a small earth quake. The building was definitely shaking. But, I don’t know for sure.

I finally turned in around 10pm, and I slept AMAZING. That was good because I had to be up at 7am today to get my day going in time. Anyway, That’s about it for my first day. Not sure how I’m gonna handle future blogs because of the wifi issue. But we’ll see how things go.

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