February 4-5, 2006

As always, a trip to Asia means a lot of sitting on the plane and one lost day. I left Seattle around noon on Saturday to arrive at Tokyo late Sunday afternoon. Anyway, the flight was smooth as I slept through the entire 9-10 hours with only one dinner break ^^” Immigration and Customs process went just fine. I really wanted to smack myself for exchange my $ at 107 yen per USD at SeaTac airport as the rate at Narita airport was much better T___T *mental notes for 2007 trip*

The adventure actually began when I had to find my way to the meeting point at Ueno Station.

My very first experience with train ticket selling machine was sort of memorable. It seemed like I had to purchase a ticket at the exact price for my destination. But since everything from instruction to whatever on the screen was in Japanese (well, there’s a small ‘English’ button, but I just couldn’t see it at first ^^”), so I was standing in front of the machine like an idiot until one nice European lady came along to rescue me by showing me how to get the ticket (thank god! hmmm no, thank HER!) Apparently, there’s a big train/subway map telling you how much do you have to pay when traveling from this station to other stations, but the map was in JAPANESE!! How am I supposed to read the station name to get the correct price? ^^’

look how confusing their subway map is!! And it’s all in Japanese at every station! >__<“

Later on, I dragged my heavy luggage along with me, got on the train after trying to ask Driver-san to make sure that it was the right train (but didn’t really get the answer as he literally ran away ^^”). Anyhow, Ueno station was the last stop for Keisei Line from Narita, so I could relax a little knowing that I shouldn’t miss the station if I wasn’t too dumb ^^ Eighty minutes later, I arrived at Ueno station, waited for my friend for a while, then we’re on our way to catch another local train to the hotel.

Traveling with a huge luggage didn’t help at all when you had to deal with a lot of stairs. I thought I was dead by the time we managed to get out of the station and found out that we got out at the wrong exit and we had to climb the overpass to the other side of the street -____-” So what’s supposed to be only 4 minutes walk from the station turned out to be 30 minutes of pain! >__<”

Hotel Matsushima was a small hotel with a huge black guy who can speak fluent Japanese sitting at the front desk *was really amazed* There was a little confusion as we changed our reservation since one of my friend will stay at her friend’s place for the night, but the hotel didn’t have our record of the changes. After calling my friend who handled our reservation, we agreed to stay in the room for 6 people (at a lower rate) as a double room was not available that night -___-” We took our luggage to our room, left for dinner at a cheap ramen place nearby (only 180 yen for a big bowl!), then came back to find 3 other English roommates for that night, one of them was a guy. -____-”

So, that’s my first night in Japan. ^^ Knowing my writing speed, please be patient while waiting for the next part. ^^”


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