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Published: December 9th 2006
After arriving in Narita Airport, I was amazing at how formal everything was. This country loves white gloves. The customs officials wear them, the taxi drivers wear them. Even the train greeters wear them. Narita airport is amazing. Nice, new and of course, very clean. It is, however, not in Tokyo. They may call it 'Tokyo Narita Airport', but that would be the same as calling Portland Oregon's Airport 'Seattle Airport'. Depending on where in Tokyo one is, it can take 2.5 hrs to get to. That aside, it is great.
My lodging for the two days was at the Tokyo International Hostel, right in the middle of the city in Iidibashi. Tokyo has a strange layout, for instead of having one core downtown, there are smaller downtown areas that form a ring around the city. I was right in the middle, and was able to get just about everywhere I wanted to go within about 20 mins. The Hostel cracked me up. It was about 40 bucks a night incl. breakfast. But they had a 'public bath' that had a view, and the rooms were well equipped. Breakfast was some spam and egg with bread one day and some variation
on clam chowder the other. I could have found things for less just downstairs (it was on the 18th floor). But I was fighting a cold at the time and made good use of the free green tea that they had to offer with the food.
What they say is true, people here are addicted to their personal technology. When on the train going anywhere, people are either sleeping or typing away on their phones. A good reflection on the pace of life. But they are very orderly about it. Despite how busy the metro system is, there is no pushing or shoving. This being in stark contrast to China. Ahhmm! One has the feeling that discarding a piece of rubbish would elicit glaring responses from everyone around. There is something about this society that leads one to want to be nice, polite, and clean. All the bowing and courtesy here is amazing. Tokyo is the convergence of two worlds. One being the traditional values espoused by the culture. The other is the drive toward more technology and more modernization. It is hard to say on which end they intersect.
Since I only had 1.5 days to see
the city, I just ventured around and walked throughout as much of the city as I could. The only time I got lost was in Shinjuku when I could not find the right metro line (they have a mass of about 15 lines that seem to converge there. So I just walked in the direction of the next stop and found it without no too much drama. Overall the stay here was uneventful. I walked around until I could walk no more, and then I went back to the hostel and relaxed for a bit in the great hot tub with a view of the skyline. The whole stay here was uneventful, I saw a bunch of stuff and then took the train to get back to Narita Airport for my Flight with ANA to Hong Kong.
ANA Japan Airlines is amazing. Great service, fantastic food, and solid inflight entertainment. I asked for a second dinner serving (like I always do, free food is free food) and so I finished after the rest of the passengers. So, I got up to take my tray back to the galley. Oh no, CODE RED! Passenger with tray! One would have thought
that a fire had broken out. Stewardesses came running from the forward and aft galleys to collect it. And when I got a refill on my OJ, I swear the turnaround time from then I hit the call button to when I had my refill was under 10 seconds. I gave her my cup, and then looked up, and there was the new one. I was like 'where the hell did you come from'? SO, even though the flight down to Hong Kong was only 4 hours, it was a very good 4 hours.
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