Friday, August 7, 2009
Having seen pretty much everything I wanted to see. I gave myself until noon before I needed to head towards the airport to catch a 3:20 flight back.
I walked around the Akitabara Arcades, to get a glimpse of the crazy gaming culture that Japan is famous for. Only to find that nothing is really open before 10:00
I went over to to Yoyogi park to catch some of the out of this world costumes on display that Japan is famous for. Again...they seem to be more nocturnal creatures.
I went to the zoo to see the Giant Panda that is supposed to be there. Only to find that he had died last year of a heart attack.
I walked back to the train station and noticed a rapid train bound for Narita. So, instead of wasting my time going back to the central station and then catching a direct train there, I hopped on the train and took a little nap.
My first sign that something went wrong was that I was the only tourist on the bus. No one else on the bus had anything more than a briefcase. The second thing that I noticed was that for being the rapid train, it seemed to stop at every station. Then I realized that Japanese trains are like popcorn at the movie theater, there's no such thing as small....regardless of how accurate it would be.
When I finally arrived at my destination, I learned another gem of information...that the narita train stop and Narita Airport train stop are 2 different places.
So I had 2 wait another 40 minutes for the next train to arrive. This time there were some fellow travellers, so I felt secured in the fact that at least this time I was going the right way.
I arrived in Narita AIRPORT and walked up to the ticket counter. I watched the girls eyes almost pop out her head. I had 20 minutes to get thru customs, thru security, and to the far side of a major international hub.
She brought me thru to the express line thru security. Fortunately, I didn't bring any dull cutlery in my pack this times, so getting thru security was a breeze.
The customs line was a good 40 minutes deep...thankfully I saw some people towards the front of the line. Not that the Japanese are rude people....I can attest that they were amazingly polite to me my entire visit there...however...white skin, increases the chances that the person speaks English...and I don't just want to burst in front of someone in a long line.
These individuals were a couple of Australian guys that were kind enough to let me cut in front of them. The custom official waved me thru promptly and I took off running thru the airport. All the while listening to the loud speakers making the final boarding call for gate 31....my gate...
I ran faster.
I made it with 2 minutes to spare....
And so ends my Japanese adventure. If you want a Japanese postcard, albeit with a Korean postmark...email me your address and I'll send one over.