Just Me in Japan – Arriving in the Land of the Rising Sun

Wednesday 21 November 2012

It’s just dawned 21 November 2012, and I’m sitting here at the airport waiting to board my flight, a total bundle of nerves. I have been for the last week, and as anyone who knows me can attest, it’s always this way.

I’m worried I’ll miss my connecting flight in Singapore, worried I’ll miss the train station closing hours at Narita and worried I won’t be able to get back to the airport early enough in the morning to catch my train, but before that, I’ve still got to even board the plane and endure the first 5 hours of flying.

I manage to score a row of three seats to myself, which is awesome, cause I can’t explain how tired I am. I manage to sleep about 3/4 of the way there.

A beautiful sunrise dawns as the plane descends into Singapore and it seems so strange to only be spending a couple of hours in the airport instead of staying in this country I love so much.

The flight to Narita is pretty full, in fact Narita is only it stopover for after it drops me off, it is to continue it’s way onto L.A. My seat is supposed to be ‘squashed’ in between two others, but as luck would have it, the third person in our row doesn’t turn up and so we have a spare seat in the middle which provides a bit of breathing space.

It’s already dark when we land at Narita, even though it’s not quite 5pm. We decend from the air to the tones of saxophone-drenched christmas carols. After clearing immigration and customs and collecting my luggage, I head to the basement of the airport to organise my train tickets to Kyoto for tomorrow. The office isn’t that busy and I am able to book the tickets with ease. Now, all I want is dinner and a good sleep (as opposed to one with my head wedged against the side of the plane window!).

View of Narita Airport from my hotel room
I step outside Narita airport and boy is it freezing! It’s about 10 degrees, and is reminiscent of my last trip here and the day that Mum and I tried to go to Mt Fuji. A pure, plain cold. I wait a little while for the hotel shuttle bus, glad for my hat and scarf. All I can see of Narita is overpasses and flyovers but exploring Narita will hsve to wait until next week.
I arrive at the Narita Tobu Hotel and check in with no worries. The hotel also is ready for christmas with a nativity scene out the front. The hotel is nothing special, but for the $80 I paid for the room, it is well worth it. The room is large and clean, featuring the obligatory heated toilet seat, and a large window with a view of the airport (which I cannot hear at all!). I potter around the hotel, grabbing a beer and some snacks for tomorrow (~600yen or ~$7 for a large (600mL?) beer, 500mL water and an “English Muffin” for breakfast), and send off a quick email home.
My Ham English Muffin
Hmmm, not ham – but something like a chickeny, mayonaise, spiced sauce concoction – not bad!
Today has gone better than I imagined (panicked?) it would go. I wonder what tomorrow will hold?

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