First Impressions of Tokyo (Day 191)
Our first impressions of Tokyo...all good so far and it was interesting to hear other people's impression of this city and rest of this amazing country.
We arrive at Narita Airport and straight away notice how pleasant all the customs officers are and of course how efficient. Hardly any queues and we got to the foyer in record time. We had already purchased the Japanese Rail Pass voucher in Melbourne and Yoko, who we met in Uluru, recommended that we picked our tickets up at the Airport rather than in the City. We found the kiosk and wow- the service was a delight. So polite and friendly.
We are staying with Cleverson in Tokyo, who is my sister Dawn’s good friend from Citygate’s church. He already informed us to get a bus into the city. Once we purchased our ticket we got to the queue – again – so efficient and friendly – we are liking this.
The hour journey took us past many grey concrete apartment blocks, over the Edogawa River and we even noticed a Rugby pitch. I must admit my head was stuck in my phone for most of the journey, catching up on emails and social media using the free wifi.
Tokyo didn’t seem as busy as I thought it was going to be. Mind you we haven’t got to Shibuya Crossing yet. We found the Tokyo JR station and a restaurant for lunch – both having one of their lunch specials. Absolutely delicious, tasting and nourishing (unlike yesterday!). We wandered around the shopping precinct – so many toy shops! No shops selling sim cards though.
Eventually, we found our train after asking a few people where the Chuo Line was. Again, polite and friendly. I saw the train and hopped on. Tim was a bit reticent – the experience of getting the wrong train on day 1 still haunts him! We were ok, however, we did need to change trains. We were on the Rapid Express so it wasn’t stopping at Higashi-Koganei. People around us were eager to help and an elderly gentleman, who, I think, wanted to practice his English, informed us where to get off. We crossed over the platform, again I hopped on with Tim double-checking. Hey – I’ve got this covered – all ok.
Two stops later we were at the correct station. Again a lovely young lady showed us the way out of the station and we walked the 2km to Cleverson’s Apartment. The weather is very warm and slightly humid, not unpleasant though. Cleverson had given us such great directions including photos of his pad that it was very easy to find and there was a warm, cuddly Brazilian with a huge smile waiting to greet us. He showed us around, not that this took long. Most of the apartments here are tiny – yet suffice for the needs of the resident. He is very kindly sleeping upstairs in the landlord’s apartment while we are here. How lovely is that! We had a chat then he noticed that we were waning. Time for a nap and then we can be up for the evening.
90 minutes later we woke up and started to research what to do in Tokyo, We had already done the big picture research, just a bit of detail now. Cleverson pinged us a documentary of “A life in Japan” with interviews from 10 expats who now live in this amazing country. We watched the hour-long video and it was fascinating to hear what they liked and didn’t like. We look forward to exploring and make our own impression of this place in the next 25 days.