Sunday, January 17, 2016

Asia Trip Day 1/2 - Tokyo (October 2015)

The original plan was to keep a detailed travel diary and add photos each day. Unfortunately, jet lag and lots of walking each day resulted in early bedtimes so not much was written after day 2. I'll post it anyway along with anything else I can remember three months after the trip.


Sunday 10/25 to Monday 10/26

Beginning of a long trip. Sister put on roof luggage carrier and we took her SUV to LAX. Parents dropped us off. The new international terminal is pretty nice. We boarded at a new gate (157) on to a Japan Airlines 777. Seats were decent size-wise but cushion was pretty thin and soon my butt was hurting. We were also lucky to have a vacant center seat so was able to spread out a bit. The food was pretty bland but they did have an assortment of snacks in the galley that were pretty good. The best economy seat food I've had is probably still from the Air France LAX-CDG flight on an Airbus A-380.

Our ride to Tokyo

We arrived at Narita on-time and getting through immigration and customs was very easy. The arrivals area however, was full of people and a complete zoo. We exchanged some (too much) dollars for yen, then tried to find a Japan Airlines counter to try and select seats on our return flight. Unfortunately, the seats that Expedia sold us were class Z, which did not allow seat selection. Sigh... would have been nice to know before we bought the tickets. Anyway, after that we exchanged our Keisei Skyliner voucher for actual tickets, and got on our train to Ueno station. The train was really comfortable and got to about 90 mph along the way.

Keisei Skyliner

Before arriving in Japan, I thought all tracks to each station converged at a single location. This is untrue. Some stations were more like several stations connected by long passageways. Even though it looks like a single station on a stylized map, it can take 10+ minutes to walk to another connecting line. So, when we arrived at Ueno, it was the Keisei Uneo station, different from the Japan Rail (JR) Ueno station, and different from the Tokyo Metro Ueno station. Ugh. Fortunately, I had lots of practice runs with Google street view and we were able to get to our Airbnb apartment, lugging 4 roller suitcases behind us. The apartment was were the instruction said it was, and we were surprised at how small it was; it looked bigger from the website photos. There were only two bedrooms with two beds each so one of the kids had to sleep on the sofa(bed) in the "living room".

Map outside of train station. Good thing this was here since T-Mobile's free data roaming service was useless.

Tiny bedroom

View from Airbnb apartment

Cemetery right outside our window

Since we were tired from the long trip and dragging our luggage down the street, my sister and I went out and got some Yoshinoya beef bowls from just down the street and brought it back to the apartment. It tastes exactly the same as the US version; not sure if that's good or bad.

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