Come in, Tokyo!

Yep, it’s my first trip to Japan, or to Asia for that matter. I just landed after a 10-1/2 hour flight from Portland.

Just try to find the words “car” or “seat” on that ticket.

I’m starting this post from car 7, seat 3D aboard the Narita Express. I should be pulling into Tokyo Station any minute, where my hotel room awaits. Yes, it’s the historic Tokyo Station Hotel. How’s that for convenience?

The train left the airport exactly on time but it made three unexpected stops due to “obstructions.” So much for Japanese efficiency.

Damn, there are a lot of Japanese cars here.

The sun here looks just as you’d expect. An ominous nuclear fireball shrouded in haze. The Rising Sun will be setting shortly, followed by the screams of people trying to outrun Godzilla. Fortunately Tokyo is protected by power lines placed everywhere at neck level.

I’m not that hungry. Delta fed us pretty well and all the booze was free too.

My first impression of Japanese people: Why is everyone wearing masks and should I be concerned?

Tokyo Station is at least five stories underground. I got reprimanded (by another Westerner) for standing on the right side of an escalator. So I chided him back for being a conformist.

This hotel is incredible! I’m being treated like royalty here. Everyone is so polite. But not in that fake way, like in Utah. The hotel seems like it’s a mile long, straddled above one of the world’s busiest train stations. My room’s ceiling is 15 feet, and the windows overlook the main entrance hall with its dome towering above. So I’m watching masked commuters in suits swarm the station at rush hour. Olivia and I will definitely stay here when she comes next time.

After spending ten minutes trying to find various switches, my next move was to pop a couple Kirins and enjoy a hot mineral bath and some extremely silly Japanese TV. Hey, it was a long flight and I have an action-packed day tomorrow.

Oh — almost forgot. I had scoped out a currency exchange this (yesterday) morning in Portland International. The official rate was ¥112 for $1. But Travelex at PDX was only offering ¥94 plus a $9 bullshit “service fee.” Worse than Ticketmaster, right? At Travelex at NRT I got a respectable ¥103 and change. So for $500 USD I got ¥51,690. And with ¥4,000 I bought my round trip N’EX tickets on the aforementioned Narita Express. The rest will be for food and shoppage.

The key here is to remember that there’s about a 100:1 ratio, so it’s easy to just drop two zeroes to decide the value of something.

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