So this year is completely different. What started out as a random drunken discussion turned in to a whole new solo adventure.
Tokyo… in Japan, just in case you didn’t know, is halfway around the World and a long way outside of my comfort zone. It sounded like a cool place to go! so I decided to go.
Generally I really hate cities. They are full of miserable impolite self absorbed lemmings.
But anyway, I committed myself to the adventure some time ago and counted down the days.
Now I have 14 days in Japan, really only 12 days on the ground due to the flights taking a day each way.
Everything went smoothly on the way out. Stopping over in Beijing, China, for about an hour. Both flights were pretty perfect. Luggage arrived safely with me in Tokyo, often a worry with long haul connecting flights as it is quite possible, that although I make it safely to Tokyo, my underwear could end up in New York. Probably causing Trump to threaten nuclear war with England due to my underwear being classed as weapons of mass destruction.
So, first hurdle accomplished. Now to find my way to the hotel. Taxi? nah, too easy. I bought prepaid tickets for a bus in to the City Centre. About a 40 minute journey, mostly expressways (motorways)
Bus station located, everything is signposted in both Japanese and English, so that was very easy. Also everyone serving me so far speaks very good English, unlike us failed ignorant westerners who can’t be bothered with other languages. I did learn the basic greetings before I came out here but it doesn’t look like I will need them much.
Okay so Japan is no 3rd World country. However they do appear to lack Wi-Fi hotspots of any kind. Fortunately I read about this before I left and the best solution is a pocket wifi receiver. You have to rent these and they are £60 for 2 weeks. Not a bad price to pay to subdue the internet addiction that we all suffer from nowadays. These are collected from the Airport. Everything seems to be going well.
The bus took me to exactly where it promised, well signposted again. So here I am, central Tokyo and about 23 hours after leaving England. But I am still a mile away from my hotel, surrounded by what appears to be half the populated universe of people. Bright lights, noise, traffic, hustle, bustle… this certainly isn’t the camino 🙂
Taxi? pfffft… for amateurs. I take to the streets. 10kg backpack, day pack, tired eyes, weary legs and google maps. Sure I get lost, its part of the fun. I crossed the Shinjuku zebra crossing, probably the most famous crossing in the World due to its size and capacity for scurrying humans. Was kinda scary. Pictures of that i’m sure will follow at some point.
Further up the road I stop to take my first photograph of the bright and vibrant city that this is, before plodding on towards my bed. Not the best picture, they get better, but I just wanted to get on to the hotel.
Whilst typing this, at midnight on the morning of October 7th, my bed has started shaking from side to side, and not due to anything I am doing! People are running from room to room panicking a bit. I guess I just experianced my first Japanese Earthquake 🙂 That was kinda cool!!
Anyway on with my story. So I found my hotel… “ohayo gozaimas” I say, in my worst Japanese. “Hello, how may I help?” comes the reply from my super friendly receptionist. Ah well, I tried. So the hotel is small, old fashioned, but pretty cozy. Great welcoming folks and at least I have a bed.
End of day 1 and all went remarkably well.