I finally made it over, but just don’t ask me how. When I left my flat in Colognbe to be picked up by my father who drove me to the station, I felt so nervous, I was about to throw up. But as soon as I hopped on the train, things started to smooth out a little.
Arriving at Frankfurt airport everything was still runnig fine for me. Okay, I had to pay extra money because my luggage was to heavy, but that’s fine with me. There’s no way i’m going to leave all those presents behind I bought for all the people over there. But things started to get slightly complicated while waiting to board the plane. AT first I noticed a news channel which was showing pictures of an emergency landing at Stuttgart airport. Bad omen? Well, get a load of this, the next thing I know, the announcer tells the waiting passengers that flight LH 710 from Frankfurt to Tokyo will be delayed because of technical problems with the plane. So the exchanged the plane and got a new one which they had to cater and fuel and that took them about an hour.
So an hour later I was in the air and although it was my first time on a flight it didn’t feel as uneasy as I expected it to be. The guy sitting next to me was kind of a hassle though. A japanese salesman (at least he looked like one) who downed two bottles of beer right away. I was kind of feeling uncomfortable in my seat, but I found some time to sleep and on the next morning I arrived safely at Narita airport where a friend of mine came to pick me up.
She took me back to Tokyo and I relaxed a little bit after the long flight. Then we went to grab a small snack at a Ramen store, although I wasn’t that hungry. I still feel bad for the store because I didn’t eat that much. But it was very tasty. So after that we went for a little walk around her neighbourhood which is Setagaya-ku. Whenever people think of Tokyo the always have the image of a pulsating metropolis in mind, a monster which swallows everything which is near to it, a moloch. But that neighbourhood is really quite and pittoresque. They also have a huge park which, if I remember it correctly, is called “Olympic Park”. Tokyo is running for the 2016 games right now, that’s why.
In the evening we met up with my host for the next few days and we met up with her at Shinjuku station. I head a lot about the crowded japanese trains, but if it’s always like that I think I am fine with it. It was crowded for sure, but I know that amount of people in a small underground waggon from the Cologne public transport system. We made it safely to Shinjuku and my guides switched there with my new host taking me to her parents’ place. I have to admit I was slightly nervous before meting her parents, but that went away as soon as I entered the house. Her parents are really kind people and for the whole evening we sat at the kitchen table talking and talking about all kinds of things. Her father wanted to practice his english so it all ended up with me talking my feeble japanese and him answering in engliash. But it worked and that’s all that counts. When we all went to be I was so drunk I felt like I was going to sleep forever.
So on the next day I got up at around 11 am and helped out my host with her german homework. When we were done we went to Akihabara, one of the places I really wanted to go to. For everybody who doesn’t know what “Akiba” is, think of a whole part of a big city which is completely devoted to electronic stuff. We went into a huge depertment store which sold everything from lightbulbs to computers and I got myself one of those really handy translation computers which are only sold in Japan, I think. We also met up with my host’s sister so she accompanied us for the rest of the day.
Akihabara really is a fun place, there’s so much stuff to see. But what was most striking apart from all that Maid Cafés and Electronic stores was that although there were literally millions of people swarming the streets there were no cigarettes on the ground. At the same time there were absolutely no ashtrays anywhere to be found. So how do japanese people do that? Well, they have their own pocket ashtrays which is a small plastic bag in which they store their used cigarettes. Very useful.
We left the modern city of Akihabara to head to one of the most famous tourist spots called Asakusa. Asakusa is most famous for it’s huge bhuddist temple. What’s the biggest to a european church is that it covers not one building but a whole area. And in the area there are a lot of shops selling all kinds of things, from Yukatas (light summer kimonos) to wigs, sweets and other foods. Yes, they also had a “ninja kit”. At the temple we all were testing our fortuna which is done by picking a stick with the number and then opening the drawer with the number on the stick. In there you’ll find a paper which tells your fortune. Turns out I will be very lucky, at least that’s what the paper said.
After hanging out in a park for some time my host’s sister went home and my host went to see a dentist, so I was left on my own with the vast public trasport system of Tokyo right in front of me. I somehow managed to get back to her house though, where her mother greeted me very friendly. I somehow already feel at home here and I start thinking whether it might have been better to stay at Tokyo for about 1,5 weeks before travelling the country on another trip to Japan. Well, I can’t do anything about it know and I’m also looking forward to my trip a lot.
At home we drank again, but this time a little less, because everybody has to work tomorrow and I want to go to other places on my own. Hope, I don’t get swallowed by Tokyo by tomorrow evening.
So, for the frst to days the trip has been even better than I expected it to be and I am enjoying my time a lot. As for pictures I am planning to set up a flickr site, so I just have to link to the pictures, because uploading them might be a bit of a hassle.