Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vacation 2008: Days 2 + 3 (One Crazy Ass Long Flight and a Night in Tokyo)

So I boarded the flight around 1-ish from San Francisco without a hitch. Still in carry-on mode and I intended to remain that way for all 14 days.

Boarded my lovely Japan Airlines spacious plane and settled into a window next to a lovely Taiwanese man and Chinese woman who moved to North Carolina twenty years earlier. Everyone was so nice but I was already in store for a culture shock since there were maybe two other non-Asians on my entire ginormous plane. To say I stood out (and got a lot of funny looks) is an understatement. But it would be just the beginning.

Love international flights especially on Japan Airlines - plum wine, Asahi beer, sake, green tea. And the two meals we got were both lovely and actually quite delicious. Add to that midway through the most unexpected and delightful treat - ICE CREAM SANDWICHES! Without that special surprise treat, I don't know how I would have gotten through those 11 hours! And on a weird sidenote, for some reason apple juice is RIDICULOUSLY good in Japan. Tastes so different than the U.S.'s version!

Finally (after very minimal sleep), arrived in Tokyo around 4pm (THE NEXT DAY!). Was able to breeze through immigration and Vik was there waiting for me (hard to miss as the tallest man in the airport wearing a bright red shirt he bought in China (which ironically had the Asian character for 'happy' on it -- and most of you I've told my tales of Japan to already know just how hilarious that turned out to be over the next 5 days of crankiness he dished out)). We hopped on a bus and were at our hotel in about an hour.

We stayed at the ANA Intercontinental in Akasaka. And despite my travelmate's suggestion of heading to The Hard Rock Cafe to watch the Celtics game, I was able to find a great little ramen bar in a little side-alley of the very busy Roppongi area (Ippuro? Ippudo?). They didn't speak a stitch of English but they were still very friendly and the photo menu was very helpful! The soba soup and gyoza (and beer OF COURSE) hit the spot to prepare us for a long day of sight-seeing in the very crazy and very fun Tokyo!

No comments: