The time is 7:40 pm on Friday, September 12. And both Kevin and I have been a little on edge and kind of have been on each other’s throats these last 3 days.We are beat. He is actually passed out right now. All thanks to an unlucky combination of lack of sleep and physical exhaustion from walking/moving/traveling with heavy backpacks and 2 luggages for the past 3 days.
September 9 was a four hour plane ride from ORD to LAX. Don’t even get me started on the airline: SPIRIT. Worst plane ride experience ever. Cheap? Think again. Not cheap, they charge you for extra carry-on AND checked in luggage. They charge seats if you want to choose them. They charge you if you don’t print your own tickets. They even charge you for that one snack you think you’ll get because it’s provided for you. The plane itself is a piece of work. Not only are there negative sound effects during the flight, but the rows are so close together that you can barely move in between. Take my advice and listen to others before booking with Spirit: AVOID. AVOID. AVOID!!!! Arrived in LA, and ate a “quick” dinner at Matsuda’s in Studio City. I refrained myself from eating all kinds of Japanese foods for more than a month for the purpose of being in Japan, but couldn’t say no to Kevin’s mom. And it wasn’t so quick afterall. It was rather large, quite the opposite of wanting to eat a light meal. Kevin’s mom ordered a variety of rolls and specialty items. -_-!!
The next morning, September 10, we arrived earlier than the check-in gate opening, so we had to sit and wait for an hour before waiting in line to check in… Why can’t ORD be as much entertaining, more relaxed, and more organized like LAX? Not once, did I get that anxiously rush feeling when it comes to traveling. I was surprisingly calm. At security check, a man who sounded like one of those announcers at a show or theme park, made the time go by faster with light jokes about going through the check point. I remember laughing throughout the line! Once through security, you find yourself at a shopping center with big brand names and good food places. It didn’t have that airport feel to it at all. ORD must pick up on that. The plane ride wasn’t too bad. We were in the last row of a section, where the toilets were behind us. It was the middle column with 4 seats to it, we took the middle and aisle. I’m so glad we got these seats, so we didn’t need to move for the other inside people for whatever size bladder they had or the fear of an annoying kid kicking the back seat. Thank you God! We arrived Narita with another whole day…GONE!
September 11 at 7:15ish, we landed. The process of going through customs and finding our luggage, exchaning money at the currency exchange (rates are amazing btw), and getting our good for a week JR passes (which, Kevin’s mom helped us get and I am so grateful for) took a little more than an hour. From the airport, we took the train a few stops down only to get off at Narita Station to walk 5 minutes to our hotel that we only paid $40 for via Expedia. It was OKAY! The room was a bit questionable, but we were only going to spend one night. We felt extremely cramped. The bed took up the majority of the space. We were iffy on the bed and the floor was dirty and the bathroom smelled funky with no ventilation. You know something is strange when they have a note that says, “please close the door when showering, the steam will set off the fire alarm.” But, I guess for the price it wasn’t bad. We had our first Japan meal at the hotel for breakfast-buffet styled. Sadly, it wasn’t complimentary for us, but it was like $10/person. Good deal. Good food.
September 12: we woke up, walked a little outside, ate breakfast (the only good part of the hotel), rode a JR express to Tokyo, switched JR lines to Kyoto. The total traveling time to get from Narita to Kyoto was a little more than four hours. Arrived Kyoto around noon and took a 35 minute bus ride to our now location. It was a 5 minute walk to the apartment we are calling home for 5 days here, but it was too early to check in. Poor Kevin, he was such a trooper when he relieved me from my backpack. Most of the time, he had his backpack on his back and my backpack on his front. He said it balanced him out, but I was in so much pain lugging that around. I should’ve known better or packed better. Lesson learned.
We walked around to kill time and ate at a diner-like restaurant. Also, good food. Killed more time at a nail place-had to redo it from the awful application from back home, I probably shouldn’t state where. But, the lady who did my nails was so nice. I loved interacting with the locals. I really should’ve learned conversational Japanese before coming here, so Kevin doesn’t always have to translate. And half the time, I am refraining myself for answering back in Mandarin. She even gave me a discount for the nails!! Never have I seen a nail place that would paint a nail, be dissatisfied with the look to remove it and start again!! We finally checked in at our location. I was expecting small, but didn’t realize how small it actually is.
This is our first airbnb location and so far so good. Free wifi, pocket wifi available, everything provided, small kitchen with no stove. If one is high maintenance and are traveling to Kyoto, this place is probably not for you, but if you just want a decent place to sleep and shower (the bathroom is extremely small, it should really be a toilet only). Still a really good pick on my part. Walked some more, finally leaving the heavy backpacks and luggage at “home”, ate yummy ramen for dinner, and walked some more. Planned to do our exercise homework from our trainer, but ended up tired, unable to move. Today is our first full day of exploring. We were planning on going to Osaka, but feeling sick puts a damper on things. As of this moment, I am uncertain of the events for today.
When I finished writing this in my journal, the time was 8:15pm and I was ready for sleep. But, halfway typing this out, I passed out and didn’t finish. This post was meant for last night. Am I still jet-lagged? I woke up at 2AM. The time now is 4:11am on September 13, 2:11pm, September 12, Chicago time.
Stay tuned for more Rebeisuke’s adventures!!