07 September 2008

zomg tokyo! days 1-2

Note: Despite the thousands of pictures, all of which will undoubtedly be gorgeous, that will transferred to both this computer and a portable drive as a backup, I have no interest in going through them and posting during the trip. You'll have to wait until I get back. You'll live.

Day 1 (5-6 September)
Long haul flights are boring. Long haul flights in business class are better than those in coach. Long haul flights in business class that DO NOT HAVE FREAKING POWER OUTLETS are a crime against humanity. And yet, somehow, we made it here alive.

We got off the plane, made it through immigration with only a few complete and utter misunderstandings, and heading towards baggage claim. Bags started coming out about 16 seconds before we arrived, then stopped coming out after about 7 bags and a bunch of boxes. But 3 of the 7 were our checked bags. Take that subspace!

Next came customs, and we were on our way. Or at least on our way to figuring out how to be on our way. One problem with ancient cities is that there are no places to put airports anywhere near the city. Narita is about 60km from Tokyo. We brought 4 suitcases, a camera backpack, and a messenger bag. Needless to say, walking was out of the question. Friendly Airport Limousine, however, was more than willing to take us and our giant pile o' stuff to the Mandarin Oriental. Now if we hadn't missed the 1515 bus that we bought a ticket for, things would have been easy. But wait! Everyone here is so amazingly polite and helpful! They held the express bus that goes to our hotel at the next stop. They put us and our 72 pieces of luggage on the bus that was about to leave. And when we got to the next stop, 4 bellman grabbed our bags from under the bus and RAN them to the express bus like their lives depended on it. Such service!

I proceeded to sleep in various and mostly upright positions until we got to the hotel. A bellman offered me his hand to help me off the bus while simultaneously looking horrified that I should be lugging such a heavy bag and taking it from me. No complaints there. Another rode with us to the 38th floor for check in. For whatever reason, the reservation was under my name. Hello Mr. and Mrs. Price. The look of abject horror in Matt's eyes was priceless. And now he understands how I feel when called Mrs. Waymost. A minute or two later, we rode down in a different elevator to the 35th floor with the bellhop leading the way. Our 347 pieces of luggage were already there, placed about the room ideally. And we didn't even tell the people downstairs who we were or our room number. I like this place.

After some room service, we passed out for the evening.

Day 2 (7 September)
After looking out the window and seeing the Imperial Gardens, we decided that would be an appropriate first day trip. We also decided that we were walking, in hopes of returning circulation to our extremities. On the way, we discovered that we've arrived just as the Marunouchi Cow Parade began! The official site. So we've been hunting cows, along with half of Tokyo. When we get back, I'm going to make a special album just of them. And everyone will be made to look at it.

The Imperial Gardens and the Fountains were amazing, though I was a bit disappointed by the number of fountains. Like the cows, they are best described through a visual medium, of which there is a more than adequate amount.

It turns out the Mandarin Oriental is across the street from one of the cities finest malls. Burberry, Tiffany's, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and all their friends are there. I got a Tokyo charm for my charm bracelet, which will remain in its box until it can be soldered on in Los Angeles. Under no circumstances will I risk losing another charm.

Last night we were treated to a spectacular lightning show and buckets of rain. I was pleased. And sleepy. We passed out around 2100. I think.

A few comments about the city itself: Tokyo is a very clean city. Despite an average humidity in the 60s, there is no odor like one might find in New York. Since it is so humid, men and women carry around little towels, smaller than washcloths, for wiping away sweat. They are also employed in bathrooms, since many do not have any means of hand drying. Women carry around parasols, and everyone carries fans. I intend to get all three basic supplies.

There is a complete absence of litter and graffiti, of which I highly approve. I spotted one empty can, nestled in a tree branch, which stuck out like a sore thumb. Not one instance of paint to cover up graffiti, much less graffiti itself. As for garbage, well, garbage cans are not exactly plentiful. But when you find them, you had better select the right can. PET plastics, bottles and cans, combustibles, or noncombustibles. Wow.

Most plastic bottles here are square instead of round. This is such a good idea for so many reasons. Less wasted space when shipped and stored, they don't roll around, and I find them easier to hold when covered in condensation. Matt managed to find a 1900 yen glass bottle of oxygenated water from the Netherlands that was a sphere, but aside from that, we've been drinking from square bottles and I like it.

Many people ride bicycles, which they leave unlocked in front of buildings. I saw all of two bikes that were actually locked to something, of the hundreds that we passed.

Day 3 will begin... now.

1 comment:

dreamerj25 said...

=)) Sounds like you're having a great time! Exploring, room service, polite people and a clean atmosphere! Can't wait for the pictures :P