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the [perfectly calm] adventures of david-andrew


We are finally on our trip to Japan! I’ve dreamed of this for as long as I can remember. It’s hard to believe we are here, but there are constant reminders that we are “外人” (foreigners). We spent our first day re-learning how to turn on lights and get on trains. 20130514-073800.jpg

We had an early start today, our first day in Tokyo, with breakfast buffet at our hotel. There were random items from the US that seemed out-of-place at breakfast, like French fries and a salad bar with dressing. There were tasty Japanese sweet breads and steamed buns too. I loved the apple juice. It’s not like the syrupy apple juice in the US I hated as a kid. It’s thick like it has actual apples in it and tastes like green apple candy.

IMG_5653 After breakfast we intended to visit the Ghibli Museum and headed out to Mitaka. It was a nice walk from the Mitaka stop to the museum. However, we found out that we needed tickets with specific times for admission that must be purchased at a specific convince store called Lawsons. So we found the store and guessed at the buttons for the ticket vending machine. We also found out through the process that all times were sold-out for today. We bought tickets for Wednesday. More to come then!
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We bought “Suica” cards to ride the trains before we left for Mitaka. They are rechargeable and you enter your name and contact information to get one. As we were entering the train again, we noticed that our names were printed on the front! It was exciting to see we had personalized transportation cards.

We are now on the grid in Japan.
IMG_5669 Next we headed to see the Tokyo Sky Tree, which will have it’s 1st anniversary this month. We walked from across the river and through a quiet park to get to the tower. The complex at the base is fun. We walked through a huge area full of every Japanese food you might ever want. We chose some sushi, soba noodles, and tempura for lunch. From the observation deck, you can feel the sway of the wind and see just how full and vast Tokyo really is.

interactive screen at Sky Tree observation deck

interactive screen at Sky Tree observation deck

ThePilot ventured out on the glass floor. You can see 450 meters to the ground.

ThePilot ventured out on the glass floor. You can see 450 meters to the ground.

Maybe I’m a little too good using the 日本語 phrases I know. I mean, I’m typically perfect at everything I do, but it gets ridiculous at a certain point. As we were leaving the Sky Tree observation deck, I got the guide’s attention with “すみません。”はい” he replied. “どこ成田ですか?” I asked because we were curious if we could see Narita International Airport from the observation deck. What followed was a very fast string of words that I could not follow. I did manage to catch the phrase “遠いです” (It’s far.) and with hand gestures we got the idea. I guess asking in 日本語 means getting an answer in 日本語.

On our way back to our hotel, we walked around Shinjuku to look for some dinner. At one place we saw this sign and decided against eating there.

So far, the people of Tokyo have been kind, helpful, fun, and amazing. We have had several people ask us if we need help while we are staring at a map. “Are you okay?” It’s hard to imagine someone in the US offering help to a stranger, especially a “foreigner.” I think I might love it here.


Next: more Tokyo! games, inu memorials, and being eaten by fish!

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Posted in travel by lucysbeau on May 12th, 2013 at 3:17 PM.


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4 Replies

  1. Heather Collins May 13th 2013

    Love it!! Can’t wait to read more and see pics of the Ghibli museum! It seems that I’ve experienced much more friendliness from people outside of the US while traveling as well. Adventure it up!

  2. Thank you David for the wonderful updates! Thinking of you both and so glad it is wonderful~love you!

  3. Uncle $am May 13th 2013

    Totally awesome! (Yes, I’m a child of the eightes. I’m so so jealous. I love other cultures. It makes you think about how ridiculous some of our customes are. Like SPAM !? Hahahaha. Or how we think it’s cras to ask for the toilet, but everyone else is wondering why we would want a bath in public. Keep ‘em coming.

  4. Anonymous May 18th 2013

    What an amazing time – immersion into a foreign environment like Japan is definitely a challenge – so glad I could do it with you!