Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tokyo and Back to Work (kind of)

We are back to work (kind of) after a joyous week off in which we went to Tokyo, Japan. 

We left Jinju the night before our flight and stayed in Busan so we could grab a taxi to the airport across the river without any panic. Our flight was at 10 so we got there at 8.

Gimhae (Busan Airport) was very quiet. It was the most relaxing airport experience. There were no lines and plenty of time, so we got comfortable in the chairs at Gate 18 and completed a crossword puzzle amid the long windows and morning shadows. 

We boarded and took off from Busan on time and into the clear blue skies. The port city looked incredible down below, and once over the ocean, the horizon was an indiscernible blue. The flight was only 2 hours; a shortness we are unaccustomed to. 

We arrived at Narita airport around Noon and hopped on the JR Line to central Tokyo. This was about an hour train ride.  The commoner train is quite luxurious. All the subways in Tokyo were this way. Plush velour cushioned benches with contoured seats to cradle your behind as you whisk about. (I found later that at rush hour it's still a miserable place to be). 

Looking out the windows at Japan for the first time made my blood tingle and gave me that mischievous grin. Soon enough, we dozed off on those pleasure seats and thankfully woke up in time to catch our transfer at Aota. Then we went underground.

When we emerged at our final destination we came up in Asakusa (pronounced Asaksa). 
Immediately we took note of other people's observations. Yes! The city is incredibly clean! Largely, in part to the law banning smoking on the sidewalks, and also to the cultural aspect that it is rude to walk and eat on the sidewalks. 

After all, we wanted Asakusa-bashi, so we headed back underground and finally got into our hostel. The staff was great, but surprised me with their pay in cash policy. So I forked over all the Won I had exchanged for the trip. This was the first indication that mucho dinero would be spent over here. 

We headed out and got some dinner. This was new. It was like a quickie joint where you order your meal from pictures and pay with a vending machine outside then sit down and get served
inside. After that we headed to the Ueno neighborhood and were dazzled by all the shopping opportunities. We caught some live music at this American themed diner type eatery. The band was awesome. There we also met some friendlies. One was this thug rapper who came off stage. He looked all tough and mean, but was incredibly friendly and told us he'd been to NY twice and gave us his CD. This was our first experience with the genuine politeness and cordialness of the Japanese people. 

. . . . .More to come on this trip. I must get ready for work! 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YAY - finally!!!! Can't wait to read the rest of the journey. Mikey, and here I thought you forgot how to write;) - maw