I have always wanted to visit Japan and the World Cup rugby seemed to be a good excuse to do that. We (M and I from our family, D – my nephew and B – my friend) left on Thursday to travel to Tokyo. D came from the US and the rest of us via Singapore from Cape Town. It was a 13 hour flight to Singapore, a 3 hour layover in Singapore airport and then 7 hours to Tokyo. We landed at 17:30 Tokyo time. Our flights were full of Springbok supporters.
Passport & customs were quite efficient and we met up with D. We had to get our Japanese rail passes converted into actual tickets for use on the Japanese rail system and once we had done that we booked tickets on the 18:48 Narita Express to Shinigawa station. At Shinigawa station we had to transfer to another local train and while we walking to the next train D realised that he had left his iPad on the train. He can see where it is but now needs to figure out how to get it back (he was on the phone doing that while I typed this).
We are staying at an AirBnB and it is about 1.1 kms from the Omori station. By the time we got to the AirBnB I was drenched in sweat (it was 28 degrees C when we landed). The other 3 went out to buy some essentials – beer & crisps – while I went for the shower option rather.
Our AirBnB supposedly sleeps 10. There is one bathroom on the ground floor with a room with a double futon (think sleeping on a rock), 2nd floor is the lounge and kitchen, 3rd floor is another 2 bedrooms (one with a double bed and other with double bed and 2 bunk beds) and a toilet. D decided to sleep in the lounge (chair bed type of thing), M & I are sharing and B has the other room. We left the futon room as unusable.
After watching Japan win their opening game, we headed to bed at just after 10pm and I fell asleep almost immediately but woke at 12:48am feeling like I had slept a whole night. I fell back to sleep until 2:24am and M woke shortly afterwards as well. He had a similar experience. M fell asleep again about an hour later and I eventually fell back to sleep at 5am. We woke just before 8am. B said he had slept well and D woke at 5am.
We went to the local convenience store to buy some breakfast things and found what looked like bacon (but very different to what we eat at home), eggs, milk, cheese and juice. D & M went to find a bakery and buy coffee (and were successful with both).
We managed to cook ourselves some breakfast (French toast). Everything is a challenge. Figuring out how to turn on the stove, how to flush the toilet, turning on the taps, figuring out the shower – everyday usual things – they just don’t work like they do elsewhere and all the instructions are in Japanese. But we have managed to figure out everything (sometimes with the help of Google translate). People are very friendly, super polite and respectful and helpful. As an example, B asked a businessman about the train yesterday and he was very helpful and even came back to tell us how many stops before we needed to get off. At the store it is clear they can’t speak English but try really hard to be helpful and polite to us.
Everyone keeps asking us how many games we are watching. It is clear people know about the World Cup and know we are here to watch the games. Our first game is later today … we are looking forward to that.
Until tomorrow (and hopefully celebrating a Springbok win)!
P, M, B & D (he deserves last place for his iPad loss)