Arriving at Asakusa

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November 18th 2018
Published: December 4th 2018
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It feels like a back to the future moment as its now 10.30am local time so we've lost 8 hours of time in the blink of an eye. Tokyo airport is huge and customs takes a lot longer than expected which is a pain as we are knackered and just want to get there now. I'm really ready for a hot shower and a lie down, but unfortunately that's a long way off at this point. Once we get to the luggage belt, the cases have already started coming out and I get excited when I see both mine and Greg's cases in the distance at the other end of the belt. It feels like a huge relief as I know all too first hand how often Iberia lose cases from working at the airport. But then this Japanese airport worker suddenly appears out of nowhere with a sign with my name on it and I am hugely confused. Greg thinks maybe we've got a private transfer organised (we really need to lower our expectations) but nope, she has come to tell me that she's really sorry but my bag hasn't made it. I'm super confused as i'm sure I just saw it go round, but then as I'm letting her words sink in, Greg grabs his case and then a second later I see a woman pick up what I thought was my case and my heart sinks. Of all the people, why me?….. I'm extremely tired and feeling the effects of drinking three (mini) bottle of wine, so can't help but get a bit cranky and upset as I’m filling out the lost bag form (which ironically I often fill out for our own customers). Greg tells me to calm down which unsurprisingly doesn't really help the situation. I know its not the poor woman's fault but I am just annoyed at the inconvenience more than anything. Thankfully I had the insight to pack some spare clothes and underwear in my hand luggage, along with my makeup and straighteners so at least that's something. But then I realise the converter plug and the toothbrushes were in my big case, doh!! so a trip to the shops will be in order… I also remember about the check-in lady and her reaction when I handed over my ticket in Madrid, and wonder if she knew at that moment my case wasn't on board but decided not to say anything… If that's the case (excuse the pun) then I'm a bit miffed and wished she'd said so I could at least prepare myself. Greg doesn't agree and thinks I would have just brooded over it for 13 hours and I can see his point.

I manage to shake myself out of my strop and focus on directions for getting to our first hotel. We're staying in Asakusa and have a few options of how to get there as long as we manage to get the right train line (which could be more difficult than expected seeing as there are about 30 different train lines!). My 30 page travel itinerary is already coming in handy and we manage to figure out what trains we need to get to our hotel without too much hassle. I was terrified at the thought of negotiating the train system as it is so huge, but sitting up every night combing through websites for advice seems to have paid off and our journey is actually completely uneventful for us (for a welcome change). An old Japanese man even gestures to us which stop to get off at which is really nice. The only thing is I forget you are not meant to talk on the trains, and I am still effing and jeffing quite loudly at the incompetence of Iberia, so get a few funny looks off of the people around me.

At our designated train stop in Asakusa we get off and manage to perfect the common lost tourist look. Thankfully we are rescued by a lovely tourist information lady who asks us where we need to get to. We give her the name of the hotel (half expecting it to be in the middle of nowhere up an obscure side street) and she types it into her fancy ipad and to our relief it immediately pops up. She shows us pictures and gives us detailed instructions of how to get there which turn out to be really helpful. The result is we find the hotel on our first go and its in a really lovely bustling shopping area with loads of restaurants around. And only about 2 minutes walk from the senso-ji temple! We immediately get a great feel for the area.

We can't check in just yet (most hotels here won't let you check in until 3pm) but the woman on reception is more than happy to keep our bags whilst we go out in search of a few missing items and more importantly some food. We explain about the missing case too so they are expecting it when it finally arrives. She advises us there is a huge don quijote just along the road which is a mega store in Japan selling all the household and grocery items you could possibly wish for. Thankfully they do have an adaptor plug so I can at least straighten my hair (priorities i know) and also charge our phones. Then we stop off at a little gyoza dumpling place right next to the hotel and get a few plates of both steamed and fried gyoza dumplings which do not disappoint. They have the heating cranked up to the max and i actually have to ask them to turn the heating off as i am so warm which is unusual for me! We wash them down with a Kirin beer which is heavenly and well needed after our exhausting and stressful morning. When we head back to the hotel, the lady on reception tells me the airport have phoned and apparantly my case will arrive in two days. I'm really pleased but also a little annoyed it isn't the next day instead, but these things happen so I just need to suck it up. I'm determined not to let it ruin our holiday.

There's no rest for the wicked and after a very brief turnaround (not even time for that hot shower), we head out to see if we can buy tickets for some Japanese wrestling event on this evening that Greg has his heart set on seeing. He's studied videos of the place where it is held and instructions on where to buy tickets, which means we get to the location without any hiccups (don't tell me we are getting organised in our old age?). Most importantly, there are still standing tickets left and I haven't seen Greg this excited since we went to see 5ive live in concert (that's a lie but I thought it would make you chuckle. But he was still pretty excited to see them).

Inside the small arena, Greg give me a quick run down on every wrestler and what to expect. I can't say i'm overly excited at the prospect of watching some semi-naked grown men pretending to hit each other for three hours, but its one of Greg’s dreams and in the end I must admit I get quite into it. The atmosphere is great, the crowd are really into it and its also really fast-paced. Some of the moves look really brutal, yet skillfully executed. They've hooked me in! However, 2 hours in I am totally exhausted and keep doing the nodding off and then waking up thing. Feeling like that on a balcony two floors up isn't really the safest and I have visions of me falling over the railings head first into the crowd below and the crowd thinking I am part of the show whilst someone comes over and hits me over the head with a chair. As much as I've enjoyed the show, i'm glad when it finishes and we can head back to the hotel for some sleep at last. Its now been about 36 hours since we originally slept and i''m getting a bit delirious. That doesn't mean I can't still find time for some food on the way home. We stop off in a little restaurant which has plastic plates of their dishes out front and it entices us in. Greg has a huge bowl of noodles whilst i have a stir-fry of chicken and vegetables with rice on the side. Once back in the hotel, I manage to last about 15 minutes before passing out. It's 11pm so I think that's pretty acceptable.


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