Monday, December 31, 2007

I made it to Japan!

日本からのおはよう or Good morning from Japan.

I made it! I had Internet problems yesterday when I got here, but have everything working now. Right now it's 7:00 p.m., which means it's very early in the United States.

Let me say the trip is exhausting from Baltimore, Md. I was up traveling for over 20 hours.

The sun never really went down on the flight and I barely slept; maybe two hours total. The flight was typical: bad food, long and no personal television as I eagerly expected. However, there was a seat between another passenger and I, giving me more room to spread out.

Once landed, I grabbed my luggage and picked up my rental cell phone, but it was still another two hours until the Shinjuku Station by a JR train.

When I arrived at Shinjuku Station, I had about a ten minute walk to the hotel. This was something I wasn’t really prepared for. Lugging a 50 pound suitcase and a 15 pound shoulder bag with my computer and camera gear through a crowded train stations was difficult. Not to mention parts that had no escalator had some steep steps. But I finally made it.

My room had to be changed, too. I am just settling in my new small room. Not sure what the problem was, but Japan hotel rooms really are tiny.

Last night I had the air conditioning on “high” and I was sweating profusely. Then I realized this morning that it was heat. Oops.

So other than the normal travel troubles and checking in yesterday and again this afternoon, I took a quick shower and met my first guide, Ugi, for some "real" sushi.

We went to a small (above) restaurant right in Shinjuku. It was a tiny rotating sushi bar, but was excellent; the United States sushi is not nearly as good. I ate everything from sea snake, raw baby shrimp, three types of tuna, red snapper, to salmon eggs and more. Ugi treated and kept telling me to eat more. Ha.

After easting, we roamed Shinjuku, so I could become familiar with the area. I finally went to bed around 10 p.m. I slept pretty much through the night, even though my heat was blasting all night.

First impressions? The city seems huge, yet very clean. Everything I’ve witnessed is spotless, from each vehicle and taxi that drives down the street to the train station. You could literally eat off the floor the train, too. There are lots of people and it's overwhelming at times; way more than New York city, that is for sure.

I was informed it’s the safest city in the world, and not to worry about my safety. There are also bright lights everywhere and makes New York City look uninteresting.

More tomorrow.


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