Tokyo Day 1 – Flight

[DATE: 2013/10/11-2013/10/12]

Since our team can’t seem to push out any material, I’ll just go ahead and blog about my current Tokyo trip.

New York Traffic

I don’t know if any of you live in the New York City Metropolitan Area, but if you ever have to drive anywhere in it (e.g. Connecticut, Jersey, any of the boroughs of NYC itself), then you know that it’s always a complete shit-storm. This is especially true if you’re driving through the Bronx during rush-hour ever. Yet, I always inexplicably end up taking the Merritt Parkway to the Hutchinson River Parkway through the Bronx when I need to go to any of the airports. So basically, since I moved to the area 2 years ago, I haven’t learned my lesson yet and I’ve just been screwing myself over and over again.

That all aside, I decided to leave at 0600 and I was able to beat traffic to Newark Airport (70 minute drive time). Hell yeah! Now I have 3.5 hours to dick around at the airport, which sounds like a lot of time, but it passes by pretty quickly.

Long Rides

So, the flight was incredibly long—the longest I’ve ever been on. Luckily, I hadn’t seen Breaking Bad yet, so I brought all 5 seasons onboard and cranked through 1.5 seasons of amazing television! And if you ever decide to fly long distance, get Economy Plus and use Seat Guru to figure out which seat is worth paying for. I’m so happy I dumped the extra cash for that business. That and I was able to talk to a Japanese-English teacher who gave me tons of tips on Tokyo and guided me through the airport (that doesn’t come with the package though).

The flight passed by relatively quickly. I suppose the only good thing about getting a day-job is that you learn how to make massive swaths of time go by quickly. So while I can’t even sub Dog Days’ or any other anime for N LogN EG in my spare time, at least I can occupy myself on a 14 hour flight.

Navigating Narita Airport

Narita is surprisingly easy to navigate. Customs was super annoying to walk through, but once you’re into the main area, it’s totally easy. I arrived at Terminal 1 and proceeded to pick up my B-Mobile Data SIM card from the post office, which is actually in the airport.

Data SIM Cards

A little side note here, I decided to buy a B-Mobile Data SIM card so that I could use data features on my phone. It costs about $45 for 1 GB (expires in 14 days), but it’s totally worth it. The alternative would be to purchase 100 megabytes from Verizon for $25 and that wasn’t gonna work for me

Post Office

I walked up to the counter and simply just said,

Pick up

And the staff was like,

Ohh, OK. Passport?

And boom. Got my package after signing.

After that, I popped the new SIM card into my iPhone and made my way back to my hotel.

Trains

I hopped on the Access Express (Skyline Keisei Line) and rode that train all the way to Oshiage Station and then transferred to the Tokyo Metro system. After landing myself somewhere in Ginza, I began to search for my hotel.

Hotel Search

OK, so most Tokyo streets don’t have names. I knew this beforehand, but goddamn that’s the most annoying thing ever. I literally had to use all the major named roads, a compass, and the Chome to figure out where the hell I was. It was not easy. Finding the hotel took me over an hour even though it was less than 1/2 a mile from the station I exited.

The problem with their system is that if you go in “general” directions (any of the cardinal North, South, East, or West directions), you’re bound to drift because the streets aren’t laid out in a nice grid. So you also have to check which Chome you’re in, but that’s posted once every 5-10 light poles and most buildings show their address without the Chome’s district name because they assume you already know which one you’re in. That and I can’t read Japanese. Yeah, it was probably mostly that.

At some point, I was like,

Oh, I’ll just use my phone to navigate this shit

But I forgot to punch in the PAP access code so I wasn’t able to use the data plan. I realized this only after I got to the hotel and actually read the instructions like a proper human-being. After reading the only two instructions on the SIM card, I was able to get the data plan working.

It’s a good thing I decided to pack super light, because lugging around more than 10 pounds of luggage would’ve been exhausting.

Anyways, I figured it out after realizing that I was actually still wandering in the Ginza district when I thought I was in the Tsukiji district.

Jet Lag

By this time, I’d been up for about 25 hours and walking for miles around Ginza, so I decide to crash even though it was only 1830.

The plan for Day 2 (which is actually today) is to stay in the Ginza district and figure out where the hell everything is.

Pictures later. Need to get a bento and more sleep. Seeya.

-helios


2 comments

  1. Please let me know what you find in Ginza. I walked around that area for an hour, frenetically searching for anything that looked out of place, but I ended up just seeing the normal parts of it. It was a huge disappointment for me. Also, I can recommend you a good place to stay when you’re there, it’s called “Khaosan Tokyo Ninja” and they have really friendly staff as well as evening events every now and then. It’s located pretty close to Akihabara and is easy to access, assuming you make good use of your phone’s navigation software.

    Will you be going anywhere else in Japan or is it a “Tokyo only” visit?

    • Cool. I’ll tell ya all about Ginza or at least what I saw of it. I’ll be exclusively in Tokyo, unless I decide to make a day-trip to Kyoto, but I highly doubt I’ll fork over the extra cash for that.


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