Chapter One: I wouldn't have believed it either

Trip Start Mar 11, 2006
Trip End Feb 09, 2007

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Flag of Japan  ,
Sunday, March 12, 2006

The day began with a hideously disgusting cheese pizza and a hash brown that was screaming for tomato sauce early yesterday morning, in Auckland's International Airport.
As it was a flight to Japan, there were millions of small people everywhere, so as it happened, I didn't have time to really even say goodbye to anyone, I was just swept away in a sea of small people through the departure gate. As we know, I had far too much stuff and in some attempt to relieve the gargantuan suitcase I put my laptop into my guitar case and tested the poundage of my backpack with everything else I could stuff in. I still don't think my nervous joking with the customs officers helped, though. Of course, as you probably guessed, gate number '2' is in fact the most far away. I think the 2 is the only one that represents miles. This distance began to take it's toll on me, carrying a guitar/laptop/fat backpack, and wearing six layers on top, including thermals and a ski jacket, four pairs of underwear, thermals, jeans and three pairs of socks. What a life I do lead. I make it to the gate and am apparently some point of interest for my new countrypeople. I'm saying it's to do with the guitar but you can believe what you want. So I'm on the plane. I'm not going to say much about the plane ride, except that it was boring, and I slept about an hour during Pride and Prejudice, mainly because some random Russian family developed a fetish for standing directly between me and the screen for long periods of time, sipping their sake and pretending to ignore me waving my arms.
When I got off the plane and got to the customs counter, the woman wanted to see my certificate of eligibility. So there I was, fossicking around in my bag for it. It would have been less amusing if I hadn't stored all my extra layers of clothes in there during the flight when I almost combusted from the heat. Particularly when I have to pull out my stripy thermals and place them on the desk to continue my search. Ah well.
Please note: my suitcase is twice the size of anyone else's. I will soon find out why. Continue. I have to catch the train into Tokyo and although I researched which one was cheapest beforehand, I spend 15 minutes staring at the people using the little machines.
I try to ask them but they are too fast. Then I hear the magic sound "tow rai na" WHAT? Thai? Here? I say to the woman next to me "Sawatdee kaa" and she is suitably impressed. But she doesn't speak English. Her daugher, who's name turns out to be Yok, does. And she knows what's going on in this crazy place. She showed me how to use the machine and spent the train ride giving me advice. I LOVE THAI PEOPLE!!
When we got to Ueno station, it took a bit of looking to find where I needed to go. Yok helped me and then we parted ways. Please note, I repacked my bags in the airport so I now have 2 bags which are less heavy and one suitcase the size of Australia. Now, the problem lies (and those of you who have travelled Tokyo with a suitcase and tried to warn me will know this...thanks Katie) in the neverending stairs which are a part of every subway station in Tokyo. Sometimes they have escalators. Sometimes, no escalatorio. So, here I am with bags, purse, and continent sized suitcase, I am so glad it was at night and not too busy. I won't go into too much detail but the winning story of the night has to be right after two small non English speaking (made it interesting)Japanese people walked me to my subway entrance. I look down. Down, down. The man offers to help me but my suitcase is so heavy that I tell him to stop. I can't be responsible for his death. They leave and I begin my descent. There are like, 3 flights here people. When I get to the bottom of the 3 there are four more and I stop, near death. I'm getting really tired, but what can I do so I keep going, and on the second step, my suitcase rolls. That's right. Sideways. Upsidedown, and then it is gone. I am so glad there were hardly any people there at the time. It slid like Michael Jackson, at great speeds down to the bottom, and across the floor, and almost hit some lady in the back of the legs as she was already running away from it. I was really quite pleased, as that was the faster way down,(had I known, I would have tried to catch a lift,) but I can't do it again because it's far too dangerous and now Ihave scratches on my luggage. I started laughing because....well I don't think I need to explain why. I should have just had it sent from the airport, but it was a bit late for that by the time I figured it out.. One time I couldn't go out an exit of a station because me and my suitcase wouldn't fit up the escalator. That's just sad.
Some nice people gave me a lift in their car in the end, and when I got to the right place, it was closed and people couldn't stay there. That's right. It's about 9 O'Clock and I'm starting to topple. A nice old man let me use his phone and I made some calls. Now I'm in a house, I had a good sleep and I have made my first purchase in Japan. Fruit juice. Not a bad one either. I tried to take a picture but I need some new batteries apparently.

I have to say, in retrospect, everything seems better. I'm glad that's all over though. I thought I'd be too shy to speak Japanese to people but I've managed quite well I feel. It can only get better, right? Oh, what the...

Love and miss you all,
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nzaussie on

single minded to the point of recklessness....
becky entering Japan land as only becky can.... with as much force as a hurricane and random luck that only becky can have.... man you rock...
i would have loved to see you in all those layers of clothes... priceless...

no international incidences have been reported on the news - so i can only assume you are safe and well haha....

rock on beckymon....

Tara xo

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