Returning to Tokyo
Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
70Trip End Mar 17, 2013
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Where I stayed
Ueno Touganaya Hotel
I got up early, finished packing, grabbed a quick breakfast as soon as the hotel's buffet opened and waited for someone from the tour company I used to come pick me up. They were right on schedule. I got a ride to the Hirafu parking lot, which is where many of the buses to the Chinose (Sapporo) airport depart from, including mine. I waited a little while for my bus to show up. The bus left pretty much on schedule.
We arrived at the airport around 11:00. I had a 1:00 flight. I rushed around trying to find a place that shipped luggage so I could ship my old, broken suitcase home. I was told to go try the post office. It's on the first floor of the airport, which is broken up by several roads you aren't allowed to cross making it hard to navigate. I eventually found the right elevator that allowed me to reach it. Although I had had my doubts, they did in fact ship luggage internationally and their rates were better than expected. I loaded a little of my skiing equipment into the suiltcase. It was going to cost me 8,050 yen (about $87) but I was going to save some of that by not having to pay excess luggage in order to take everything with me to Tokyo so the actual cost was somewhat less. It was worth it to be able to get the broken suitcase home and to get rid of some of the weight I've been lugging around.
By the time I got to the check-in counter it was only about 50 minutes before my flight and they have a 45-minute cut-off so I was cutting it pretty close. I rushed to the gate and got on my plane - and then we waited. It was snowing very heavily and the airport was closed. We finally took off about an hour and 45 minutes late, most of which we spent at the gate but some of which was spent waiting on a taxiway for our turn to take off.
We arrived in Tokyo and I got my bags. This was the first time I tried to balance my duffle bag and ski bag on my new wheeled bag. Unforutnately, it doesn't work nearly as well as it did with my old bag. I had to wheel them around a bit in the airport in order to get to the train platform. Then I needed to haul them a few blocks to my hotel after getting off the train. It didn't go that well. Fortunately, I'll be able to pack my remaining ski equipment into my boot bag and leave it at my hotel here in Tokyo while I go to Kyoto and Hiroshima. I started out with around 170 pounds of luggage. After buying a new suitcase that went up to around 185. After shipping it home I'm probably now down to about 160. I'm hoping to leave around 40 pounds in Tokyo, which would get me down to around 120 pounds of luggage. It's still an awful lot but it's a big improvement from what I had.
After checking in I wandered around the neighborhood a bit looking for a place to eat. The weather was miserable in Tokyo too, with sleet and light snow. I went to the first acceptable place and headed back to my hotel.