The big trip to Japan and beyond began on Friday as I flew out of London on a crisp and sunny winter’s morning. My family waved me goodbye at the airport as I walked through the security gate and into a world of travel and adventure.
I arrived here yesterday morning. All the Japanese people have been so lovely and kind. I have tried to speak some Japanese. Everyone is very interested about the trip and the plan to travel around the islands for four months.
I slept for a few hours when I arrived at the hotel where we are staying for two nights to try to adjust to the time zone. We wandered into Narita town, which is just outside of Tokyo, along the river and through winding streets. Narita is an ancient pilgrimage town with lots of little roads and old buildings. It felt familiar straight away, like an old dream. The small buildings with the paper screens and the careful attention to detail were straight out of an anime. It’s nice to hear the tones of Japanese language and to experience the kindness of the locals. We went for a couple of beers with my auntie and uncle and then for a curry at a restaurant they always visit when they’re here. They said they used to watch cockroaches climb the walls in this restaurant and have competitions to see whose would win. It’s been cleaned up since then but the food is apparently just as good.
This morning, on my first full day here, I woke up at 7am which I think means I’m used to the time difference now. We watched the mad Japanese television. The news was like something out of a Wes Anderson film, pastel colours and cute graphics, everything just so. Watching the weather was my favourite – the snowmen on the map looked like they were from Mario 64.
We just popped down the shop outside the hotel to get some breakfast which was an experience in itself. Russell managed to order coffee in Japanese and we bought some food, which I hoped was vegetarian. I thought I purchased an roll topped with egg, but it turned out after the first bite that beef curry was hiding inside. Russell said it was tasty.
Also…the toilets here are as amazing as I hoped. The toilet seats are warm and toasty!