Not much to tell from the flight. It was long. I slept mostly the entire time, only waking up to eat and to watch Big Hero 6 with Hubby. (I feel bad. He had downloaded all this anime for us to watch together on the plane. I was just too overwhelmed and cranky. Sleep was the better option.)
After we went through customs (which took longer than it needed to because the people on the plane told us both forms were one per couple. No. One was. The other, we both needed but only one of us had so I had to get out of line and fill one in and wait for my turn again.), we had to find the JR ticket office and turn in our exchanges for passes.
And then we had to find where to buy tickets for the airport limousine bus. I didn’t see a counter like there had been in Narita Airport but there was an information desk. I asked the chick and instead of just answering the question, she asked me which hotel we were going to. I told her and she had a blank look and repeated me. Smart and overly organized as I am, I had made cards with the hotel name and info on them for each of the places we have booked. I handed her the right one and she did some clicking on her computer. After a few seconds she said the bus didn’t go to that hotel. I was confused. I was 95% sure I saw online that it was one of the stops, but I was too tired and confused to argue. She pulled out a Tokyo Rail map and highlighted where we were and told me there was a Keisei Line train that went very close to our hotel. I asked her, since the JR passes we just got didn’t cover the Keisei Line, if we were better off taking the monorail to Hamamatsucho station and walking the rest of the way. She said we could do that but we should transfer at Hamamatsucho to the Yamanote line and get off at Tamachi (one more stop). Hmm. Why didn’t I ever notice that station before?
So that’s what we ended up doing. It’s pretty easy to navigate the Tokyo trains if you know where you are going. And they have attendants that speak English to help if you need it. With the passes, you have to go through the sections with the man in the booth behind glass. Everyone else mostly buys tickets at a machine or has a Suica or Pasmo card (rechargeable fare cards) where both are swiped or entered at gates.
While we waited for the monorail, we both got a drink from a vending machine on the platform. Hubby got an apple flavoured tea, and I just got plain old jasmine. (He downed his. Mine is now sitting in our fridge.)
The ride wasn’t long. Hamamatsucho station is a lot bigger than we ever really noticed last time. I figured out pretty easily which train we needed to transfer to. (Hubby was worried so I asked the ticket guy and he said to do exactly the same thing as what I was thinking.) The problem really began when we tried to leave Tamachi station. We had never been there before and I had no clue which way the right exit was. There was a fairly unintelligible area map posted, but we pretty much did the ‘start walking in one direction and hope it’s right’ thing. We didn’t do too badly. By the time we really needed it, Hubby had gotten the GPS on his phone to start working and we were on track. (I STILL can’t get mine to realize we’ve left Ontario.)
On the way, we were passing a Lawson‘s convenience store. They are the only place WITHIN Japan you can get tickets for the Ghibli Museum. Armed with my cheat sheets on which buttons to press on an all Japanese screen, I tried my best. It was our last option. But they are indeed sold out. 😦 So sad.
I also bought another drink – tried and true Royal Milk Tea, and an omurice onigiri – with Gudetama on it! I had seen someone eating one on a video I watched while “researching” and it looked good. (It was! We did a taste test video. Not sure if I’ll ever post that nonsense or not… *Future Edit: posted below*) Also, an umbrella, because it’s raining. And cold. Boo.
*Note: Finally added in the videos 2 years later. The one posted below basically recaps everything this blog post says. The “taste test” doesn’t start until 4:27.
We finally got to the hotel and as we were checking in, I noticed a pamphlet on the counter with a picture of the airport limo bus and it’s departure and arrival times to the hotel. ……Argh! Thought so. Anyway~ shouganai.
After a brief stay in the hotel room to check it out and freshen up (see Hubby’s first official bathroom review), we were planning to go to Tokyo Station to see their shopping area – Character Street, Ramen Street and Okashi Land. But apparently Japan is not participating in daylight savings from 2010-2019 (?? Ooooooookay – could have sworn they did when I was there last) so it was an hour later than I thought it would be. It was already nearing 8 and those places close at 8:30. (Another crappy thing about here is the non-standardization of opening and closing hours.) So, I made the executive decision to walk down to Hubby’s favourite ramen place from last time and take some Tokyo tower pics along the way. On the way back, we stopped at 2 more convenience stores and bought more snacks but I’m too tired to detail all that too. I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves for now.
More from the Hamamatsucho area~
Even though we didn’t do much tonight, I’d call the first day a success!
(originally posted to Japan – Here I Come!)