The thing I hate the most about traveling to Asia is, how do I count? Is the first day a 36-hour day, or are the first two days 18-hour days each?
When you’re grown up and each vacation day is worth at least a few hundred bucks, it’s scary to think that a good three full days are spent on the travel part of a trip. I hope that within our lifetime, we’ll get to see much cheaper means of long-distance transportation at ten times the speed. Coming from the world of computing, I might just be too optimistic on technological advancements.
Somehow, the 14-hour flight felt infinitely longer than a 14-hour work day. It’s funny to think that an easy way to “stretch out” your vacation and to feel the desire to return to work afterwards is to simply stay air bound for as long as you can. After landing in Narita and exchanging for some Yen, it was an hour of train ride plus 15 minutes of another train ride, before we arrived at central Tokyo and checked into the Yaesu Fujiya Hotel.
The proper word to describe the hotel room is “cute”. The space and layout are totally utilitarian – any smaller and we wouldn’t be able to drag our carry-on luggage indoors. I feel incredibly tall with some ceilings less than a foot over my head. So glad we don’t weight 250 pounds. The TV in the room is roughly the size of the smallest computer monitor that you can buy from the stores these days, and it comes with a pictorial guide of porno selections. We braved up to experience the “Japanese toilet” which comes with superior sanitation capabilities. Allow me not to go into the details, but it was quite something.
The day pretty much came to an end, but we were starving. Heading back out toward the train station, we scoured the Yaesu underground mall, which was mostly shut down by this time of the day. Dinner was at a restaurant that specialized in free range chicken, and we got seated at the bar. It was our very first bar meal together. The hostess and us shared an mutual understanding of 10 words between two languages, so the business transaction consisted of most smiling and finger pointing. Hong got a Japanese chicken version of the Korean seafood pancake and an iced tea, and I ordered the staple chicken & egg rice with a girly mango-sherbet alcohol float. Delicious but rather costly and small portioned comparing to the obese American standards. We were charged an extra $4 for a small appetizer that appeared to be complimentary. It wasn’t even good. I would’ve fought it if I knew more than two words.
Dessert after dinner was at this awesome taiyaki stand. The fish-shaped red bean awesomeness was also smaller and more expensive than what we’re used to in the US, with a superior texture and taste though.
We haven’t been here for that long, but we have a common, generalized observation that Tokyo is a lot like Taipei. The airport, train system (despite super old), streets, vendors, and hotel room all have the look and feel of “home” that not even Shanghai comes close to match. It makes sense when considering historical and cultural ties, but it still came to us as a major surprise.