Thursday, November 6, 2008

Narita Airport to Hotel in Shinjuku Oct. 29th

10/29 4:04PM Narita Airport

Customs is moving quickly, only 10 minutes in line so far.


The Customs officer was very concerned that my passport isn't in perfect condition. It has been through the laundry and looks very worn. I think the back is pealing a bit. One more thing for me to worry about when I get to Singapore. Luckily, after consulting a colleague, he let me in. Now waiting for my bag.


I made it. I'm officially in Japan. Now to find the Narita Express and the 2 day subway pass.


On the train now. We stop in Central Tokyo, from there half the cars go in one direction and the other half in (obviously) another direction. We just made a stop in another terminal.

I remembered to switch my cameras to Tokyo time (no daylight savings time).

4:53PM Nice sunset. Too bad I am in a train with a lot of glare.

I think this is over an hour to get to Shinjuku.

Having a problem with the 50mm lense. Don't know what the error message means.


A lot of countryside, areas of trees, farmland, and then a town or newer development. Almost dark now. The barest of afterglow from the sunset. I'm trying to take "bulb" shots. Mostly crap.


So far the phone isn't accessing any data even though it sees a network.

5:37PM Passing a lot of trains, as we get closer to the city. The ones going in the opposite direction are packed! No extra room at all.

I had no idea there are overhead bins on this train. Very sleek design.


Stopping at Tokyo station. I wasn't sure if we were at Shinjuku. It didn't feel like we were... a nice woman saw that I wasn't sure and let me know that this was just Tokyo. There was an announcement, first in Japanese and then in English, but the volume was low and the people that understand Japanese were getting up which made it harder to hear the english. After the nice woman told me it was Tokyo station, I sat back down and saw the electronic sign in the car that says in english where we are.


The Tokyo Metro Guide that I grabbed is the Japanese version. I'll try to grab the English version at Shinjuku Station. I'm leaning towards staying in Shinjuku tonight, just walking around and taking pictures.


Data is working on my phone. Google Earth just found where I am (using the iPhone). I think it is correct.

6:04PM The train is leaving Shibuyu station. Shinjuku station is next.

After arriving at Shinjuku station I didn't write anymore. It was crazy. So many people at rush hour. Imagine water flowing in currents going off in different directions with invisible barriers keeping the flows of water separate. Instead of water it was people.

The train stops on one side of the station and as it turned out I needed to get to the other side of the station to walk to the hotel. In between were many passageways to other train platforms, to bus stops, to subway platforms, and to street level. The signs were incredibly detailed (and in English) which required stopping to read each sign to make sure I was going in the direction I think I needed to go. Before stopping I had to make sure I wasn't going to cause people to run into me by stopping so I needed to take a lot more time finding a safe place to stop to read each sign and then read each sign more than once and really digest the information.

I finally made it out of the station (the biggest in Tokyo apparently). The walk to the hotel was longer than I expected. Luckily, before I left home I had found a web site with pictures showing the way out of the train station to the hotel. That was a tremendous help. Once in my hotel room I didn't make it out into Shinjuku that night. Such a bum I am. But I did sleep and woke up before sunrise the next morning. Pretty typical for my trips to Asia.

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