Wednesday, October 16, 2013

From Tokyo to Narita

Man. That was difficult.

We fly out of Tokyo tomorrow at 8am, which means we have to be at the airport at 6am, but Tokyo's public transportation doesn't start until 6, so that wouldn't work. So we had to get up to a hotel close to the airport today and just take the free shuttle tomorrow morning.

Since we've done everything we wanted to do in Tokyo, all we had to do today was laundry and get to the hotel, but both of those things took up the whole day and well into the night.

First, laundry.

The apartment we've been staying at has a washer/dryer. Unlike the washers and dryers in America, this one was just one machine that did both. Front load washer, then it just keeps the clothes in there and spin dries them. Like this.

We used it last week, but we just put the clothes in in the morning and then went out for the day. When we came back at the end of the day, the clothes were dry. It was miraculous and wonderful. But today, we found out that they actually take all day. We tried to open it after the wash because there were a few things that couldn't be dried, and that only made it worse. All the buttons and dials were in Japanese, so when we paused it to get certain clothes out, it blinked something at us and then shut down. And then we had to unplug the thing to get it functioning again. Which I'm sure put more time on it.

We ended up taking things out after a few hours of "drying" and just packing them damp and now they're hanging all around our hotel room to finish actually drying. Meh.

So we finally got on a train to head out toward Narita around 4pm, which is right about rush hour, so we were fearing the worst because Tokyo is the city that you hear about with crazy packed trains. But luckily it didn't happen today. Or any day for that matter. Either we were in the wrong stations or that's totally a myth.

We took the subway to Oshiagi, the location of the newest addition to the Tokyo skyline, the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world right now. It's pretty impressive.

Then we went down and got on the Keisei line which was supposed to take us to Narita. So we jumped on the first train we saw and went up to Aoto, and then we had to switch to the main line that would take us to Narita. But the trains that were on the track that were supposed to go to Narita weren't going there. They were stopping early. So we waited at Aoto for a while, but all the trains kept saying Sakura, which isn't far enough. By the way, this is the map we were working off:

I know, right?

So we finally got on a train going the right direction, but it only took us to Funabashi. Then we got on another train which got us to Sakura, where we got off and saw people with megaphones and announcers over the loud speakers announcing stuff in Japanese and guiding everyone away from the platforms. We looked obviously lost and confused, but nobody spoke English, but they were nice and genuinely concerned about us. We eventually worked out that we were going to Narita Station (not Narita Airport, which was a big point of confusion for awhile). Another lady pointed to herself and excitedly said, "Narita Station!" So we blindly followed her onto a bus, which took us on a roundabout way to the right place.

Come to find out, the typhoon last night which apparently destroyed the Philippines and ravaged everywhere around Tokyo but left the city center where we were at completely unscathed (it was windy last night and a little rainy at times, but it was never typhoon-scale), it flooded the tracks between the city and Narita. So that's why the trains weren't running. So it's a good thing we came through tonight and not tomorrow morning.

The hotel has a shuttle that actually went to Narita Station, so we took that and finally got to the hotel around 9pm. Luckily there was a convenience store next door, so we were able to get some dinner.

Isa thought the mirror in the bathroom was pretty amazing. The part around your face didn't get foggy (or around my neck, but Asian's faces).

I also ate a strawberry Kit Kat for dessert, which was amazing.

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