the arrival

Well, it has now been a little over 48 hours since I arrived in Tokyo. It seems like much longer than that…not in a bad way. It’s just that there’s so much to take in! This post was going to cover the first 48 hrs…and then I realized just HOW MUCH there would be to cover, so instead, this is the first day. Heaven help me!

When I arrived at the airport, I noticed two things. First, it was super hot/humid. Second, it was very orderly. Going through customs was a breeze…except that I got in the wrong line at first. And then I got yelled at (“yelled” might be a bit strong) for taking a picture of the “Welcome to Tokyo” sign. Not very welcoming, if you ask me. But it’s not like I deleted the picture, so I won’t hold it against Japan.

Baggage (still in NYC)

Narita airport is quite far from Tokyo proper, so there’s not taking a taxi (even when on the corporate dime), which meant taking a bus into the city and then a taxi from the bus. I considered trying to deal with my luggage myself, but my International Assignment Consultant (IAC) mentioned something about baggage delivery, and then I saw all of the service desks and just thought, “You know what…totally worth the $50 to have three of my bags delivered even though it’s not reimbursed by the company. So worth it!

While waiting for the bus, I wandered outside and noticed something else I found very interesting. Smoking rooms. Outside.

Anyway, I got on the bus, which dropped me off at a hotel near my apartment. At the hotel, I got a taxi to take me the rest of the way. A couple of things about taxis here, and driving. First, they drive on the left here. Not sure why or where that comes from, but they do. Second, the taxi drivers open the car doors from the driver’s seat (some sort of electronic opening). And third, the taxi drivers don’t really speak English. Thankfully, I knew that last one and had asked my IAC to send me the address of my apartment building in Japanese and then printed it off. This proved extremely useful.

I got to my apartment around 8:00 pm and I was thrilled to see just how nice and clean it was. And the lovely woman at the front desk was so very friendly, which made it okay that both my first and last names were spelled wrong. She showed me to my apartment and asked me if she could show me around (which is when the aforementioned shoe removal incident happened). Of course I’m thinking, “It’s an apartment. What, exactly, do you need to show me?” Well, stupid me.

from the front door
bathroom (obvi)
toilet = way too many buttons (not sure I’ll ever get used to the warm toilet seat)
bath/shower pod room thing (more to come on this)
entering the kitchen 
washer/dryer (it does both) = dream come true!
bed
reverse view
desk (where I’m sitting right now to write this)

After getting semi-settled and unpacking one of my suitcases, I realized I was starving (I slept for about 8 hours of the 14 hour flight, I think) and so it was time to venture out into Tokyo and see if I could find some food.

Business class or die (okay, not really…I can’t afford business class on my own, but it was AMAZING!)

I wandered for about 10 minutes, seeing several restaurants that looked appetizing…but also very daunting. Suddenly, my lack of Japanese speaking ability was making me very uncomfortable. I was tempted to stop at a doner kebab stand (mission friends, you will understand my temptation), but I couldn’t have my first meal in Japan be a Turkish kebab. So, I kept walking until I found a sushi restaurant advertising an English menu. I decided, with ordering, to just choose a mixed sushi plate because the thought of trying to order individual pieces was just too much (even if I do speak “sushi japanese”…toro, tobiko, unagi, etc). I was not disappointed.

variety pack
loved watching the sushi chefs do their thing
One thing that was different was the shrimp heads in my miso (at lunch today it was itty-bitty clams). Apparently it’s a thing. And while semi-shocking when you don’t expect it, totally delicious!

And that ends day one. I promise not every post will be so travel-log-gy, but hopefully the photos make it worth it. In any case, days 2 and 3 were both great, too. Posts to come which will include more food, the subway, groceries, and things that are really different in Japan. If there’s something specific you want to know more about, leave a comment and I’ll try to address it…otherwise, you get what you get.

Arigato gozaimasu!

7 thoughts on “the arrival

  1. Great post! I read this with my six year old and we loved looking at the pictures of Japan. Can't wait to read more about your adventures.

  2. It is going to be fun to read about your adventures! I am especially excited to see how your experiences compare to mine. Living abroad in Europe certainly had challenges, but life wasn't that much different than in the US – but Japan, now that is different!!

  3. I'm loving the blog thing now!!!! So fun to see Japan thru your eyes and cant wait for more! We miss you and its a little weird thinking you're so far away but as long as we can keep in touch its all good, right?

  4. It is so crazy you're so far away. After gchatting, it seems like you're just around the corner. :)I think you know this by now, but I'm thrilled for you!

  5. don't forget to check in with adam if you need any help or advice of where to eat or whatever… he's japanese at heart 🙂

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