Tokyo / Day 1


What better time to write a blog post when I'm stuck inside my hotel due to a typhoon hitting Japan? Great timing, me.

I arrived at Narita airport yesterday morning, armed with a suitcase, 4 hours sleep, and 2 years of university Japanese to see me through. Having visited twice before, the aiport is not nearly as confronting as it was the first time I stepped off the plane with unfamiliar kanji everywhere!

After catching the Narita Express from the airport into Shinjuku, I felt a great rush of familiarity as I crossed the same streets I did a couple of years ago. As Justin and I dragged our suitcases through the throngs of people on Yasukuni Dori towards our hotel, we almost literally ran into a friend from Melbourne crossing the road. The chances of randomly finding someone you know in such an enormous city is nearly impossible, so we immediately made plans to catch up later that evening for dinner.

After ditching our luggage at the hotel, we needed to kill time before check in at 2pm. So, ditching our outer layers to become more comfortable in Tokyo's humid weather, we headed for Shinjuku Gyoen via the Isetan food hall for lunch. Of course, as luck would have it, the gardens were closed due to a suspected outbreak of Dengue fever (I had no idea there was even the slightest risk of that in Japan - let's hope the Mosquitos leave me alone while I'm here).

On the way back to the hotel I stopped by a Family Mart and picked up the best snack known to mankind - the Matcha Kit Kat. I dream about these back in Australia, and while you can buy them back home in specialty stores, the prices aren't great. I spent the afternoon devouring a pack or two of these then sleeping until 6. Hey, I did say I only had about 4 hours sleep on the plane... 

Of course, when I left my hotel a little later on, Shinjuku had lit up beautifully. Walking down Yasukuni Dori at night is always a great experience - if you've seen Lost In Translation you'll recognise it from the opening shots of Bill Murray traveling down it in a taxi. 

It was only fitting that dinner on my first night involved eating a huge bowl of ramen in a tiny bar. Ordering your food from a vending machine is always a daunting experience as you're never entirely sure what you're going to get, but I'm happy to report that my ramen at Menya Musashi was absolutely delicious. 

Despite being completely filled up by my meal, I just had to have crepes afterwards. I'm still looking a bit haggard from the plane trip/afternoon nap, but I needed to commemorate my first crepe experience of this holiday. 

As for today's experience - well, it's only 5:45pm so there's still some time to be had, but suffice it to say that walking around Tokyo in the middle of a typhoon is no fun for anyone!