Trip to Japan : The beginning
It begins on a Monday, in my house. I have to say, I was very successful in curbing my excitement. I woke up, cleaned up and immediately dive into the internet, slurping up my breakfast as I do so.
After the initial 3 hours of watching mindless Japan variety shows, my friends started to get excited through Line.
" STOP IT. If I get excited now, I will most likely unable to last till midnight!! "
That earned some laughter. But it got me to climbed up from my chair and started to check if I did get everything I need into my luggage. After which I checked my mail which says ANA had auto-checked me in. So all I need to do now is to endure the few hours till midnight.
It gets easier as time goes by. I showered. Rechecked my luggage. Eat. Watch TV. Eat. Rechecked my luggage. Yes, it's like groundhog day within a few hours.
But then KK arrived at my doorstep with her luggage. I
ninja jumped. IT'S FINALLY HERE. THE TIME HAS COME. (Which doesn't sound good if you happen to be in a horror / thriller film.)
We groundhog day again to checked our luggage together before settling in to watch 2 variety shows before my dad arrives at the doorstep to whisked us off to the airport. Can't help but sing and be sarcastic on the way over because I am bouncing with excitement. Met up with BP in the airport. Everything then flew by. We quickly got into the line to check our luggage in and received our air tickets in about less then 15 minutes (thanks to the auto-check in ANA did). We then got our white cards to fill in on the plane and we are set!
We slide through the customs in a breeze with the machines and our thumbprints, waved last goodbye to my parents and started to walk around. I have to say, Changi Airport is really the best. It's 11pm and everything is open (trust me, not every airport have opening hours as long as Changi Airport).
Since most of us had our dinner early, we decided to something to eat (yes, again). And then started to arranged our stuff and took out all documents needed. Stuff like passport and air tickets.
The rest is mostly in this post.
After we arrived in the Narita (NARITA!!), we just followed the crowd through a long hallway with random turns here and there and boom, reached the customs with a snake-like queue. Well, let's jump in! We easily spend 1 – 2 hours in that queue and luckily for us, we have everything ready with the white card filled in.
Here's how the customs in Japan goes :
-There's a person at the end of the queue to check if you have all of your items so get them all ready.
(Passport, White Card (Disembarkation/Embarkation Card), Visa if needed, your hand-held luggage)
-There's a few counters in which the person will tell you which is that you are to go to.
– Then you join this tiny queue of about 3 and once it's your turn, hand your passport, filled white card over to the person inside the counter.
– He / She will then ask you to look (abit to the left where the TV screen is) at the camera on top where it proceeds to take your mug shot.
– He will then staple and stamp somethings in your passport and you're ready to go!
I got through first, then KK and lastly BP. We then proceed to get our luggage and proceed to exit. At the exit, there will be another queue where police/customs officers will be checking your white card, passport and in some cases, your luggage as well (especially for people who came alone to Japan carrying a huge luggage in which they will unpack everything).
I went into a little trouble as I forgot to write down the name of my hotel but once I told him where, he jolt it down and let me go, despite the huge luggage. I figured he knows that I'm in a pack of 3 with my friends instead of traveling alone. Or that I seemed completely harmless. So out we go and all the way down to B2 to get our Suica + NEX' combo card.
BP has a Suica so she is only getting the NEX tickets which proved to be a wrong choice. You see, the combo cost ¥3500 in which the NEX ticket itself cost ¥3500. (This combo will be discontinued from April 1st which we are very lucky since we arrive at 25th March.) So if you get the combo, there's another ¥1500 worth of value inside the Suica which makes it more worthwhile.
I asked the station staff if they know where Lawson is in English and she didn't understand. So I simply used the word "Lawson?". No can do. I tried about 3 times before my friend took over. " Lawson はどこですか？ " "AH! Lawson! "
What the heck? Ain't it Lawson as well? Where exactly is the difference? There's no difference whatsoever in the pronunciation!
Moving on from the hiccup, we went to Lawson (convenience store, kinda like 7-11) and got some drinks, some onigiri before attacking the ticket-buying machine. It was a tough battle and we had to call for help from the staff to find out that we are better at it then her. Turns out the problem is that we are looking for something that is already sold out. So we got the 4 fast pass for USJ and leave it at that.
After the 6 hours+ flight, we are feeling a little peckish so we went into the foodcourt (which turns out to be opposite of Lawson) and got some Soba. BP took a non-alcoholic beer cause of our pressuring. " Beer? Now? First thing in the morning? " "Fine, I'll get the non-alcoholic one then. ". There's not much difference in taste from the real deal though.
Then we took a walk outside.
Our plane! I think….
Yes, we are lugging our luggage everywhere. KK's the blue one, mine's the triangle patterned one.
Look at the hair, it's really windy out there. And it's cold cold wind. Hence the jacket struggling.
NEX – Time to board!
We went back down to basement 2.
Here's the train info.
Matching to make sure we won't end up in who-know-where. And look! Assigned seats! No jostling needed.
And it pulls nicely into the station.
Noticed the 'do not enter' yellow tape at the entry? Because the cleaning crew's inside, making it nice and comfy for you.
Once the cleaning crew is done with the train, they would step out and line in front. And when everybody is ready, they would then bow before leaving. That's when you can enter and take your seats. In terms of non-assigned seats, it's best to line up in front to get the seats you want, otherwise, you won't even be left with any or random seats here and there.
These kind of airport trains, they always have a space (the white part before the windows till the door) for you to place your luggage. There's not much space however, so if you missed out, you would have to squeeze in your seats with your luggage. But the seats are wide enough I believe.
Here's how it looks like inside. The seats are also turnable so you can turn them around to face each other.
Like this! BP took this picture as we turn and face her. Me and KK.
There's a board with all the information.
Close up, if anyone's interested. We're delayed though.
And it does comes in different languages.
Drinks from Lawson with my ticket. Notice the hole? A conductor will stop by to ask for it so don't misplace it.
This reminds me, please hold on to your tickets as it's costly to have to buy another one if you lost yours. The thing to note is that, after inserting your ticket into the machine to enter the subway, it will most likely spit it out on the other side so do remember to get it back as the conductor will come during the train ride to punch a hole in it and you would need it to get out as well. (Conductor only on Shinkansen Trains, not normal subway.)
The view outside. All Japanese…
Figuring our way… Right outside the Shinjuku station.
We finally got here with a lot of help from BP's friend who's waiting for her there as they are meeting up for dinner sans the rest of us. We checked in and then proceed to see what our room looks like.
KK and I pushed our beds together because we are scaredy cats. And sorry for the blurriness.. I think I only took 1 shot..
There's a tiny space for you to place your luggage (In front of the last bed in the last picture).
Toilet… Even smaller..
Found a better quality picture! KK, sitting on my bed.
After that, we took a walk around and it finally hit us that we are in JAPAN!!
Food In Japan :
Sorry for the empty cup but I took it after I drunk it all. It's Strawberry juice and it's delicious! A tad expensive for it's size though.
KK ordered flower tea (that's not a lychee inside!) but it taste fruity and slightly sour, very nice.
A typical mall… only covered in Japanese.
If you set a budget daily for your trip in Japan, do spend it. This is our 1st day and due to us not really daring to spend the day's budget, we missed out a lot of things that we wanted but can never find again.
That's it for part 1!