Posted by: Laura | November 21, 2008

Arriving in Japan

So my first couple days here have been very exciting so far.  The place I’ve spent the most time, which I definately will not complain about, it my brother’s apartment.  This is the view from there at sunset…

View from Paul and Mandy's apartment

View from Paul and Mandys Apartment

But, let’s start from the beginning…

First stop off of my 13.5 hour (very, very dry aired) plane ride, was the bathroom and my first experience with the Japanese toilet… Let’s just say there’s lots of buttons that are very graphically explained and I did not push any of them.  When I tried to flush the toilet, I pushed the button that had something that said (to me) flushing sound, but it didn’t flush it… it seriously just made a flushing sound… I was so confused! haha.  But, eventually I found a lever very similar to the ones in the US, so I just used that, and that worked.

On from the bathroom, was immigration and customs.  I get there, and realize – Crap!  I don’t know Paul’s phone number or address!  I even looked in the address book of my blackberry (that is all it will be good for over here) for his California # (because they still use that over here) and nothing… But, luckily enough, they accepted my home phone number, and his name at immigration.  Customs seemed to be satisfied with the explanation of staying with my brother.  Phew!

Next out the door to find Paul, who is patiently waiting outside for me.  I tell him what happened, and both of us had the reaction of, “Well, I thought about that, but I just forgot to ask/tell you”.  No worries, I made it through… but definitely something to remember for next trip.  On to the train…

You know some of us have that problem of not being able to face backwards on the train?  Well… in Japan, that’s not a problem.  We walked by just as the seats were automatically rotating for us so that we would face forward, as the passengers coming to the station had also.  I’m so taking a video of that before I leave! haha.  On the train, just after mentioning to my brother that I have Lost in Translation with me, the speaker comes on the intercom (in Japanese first of course).  Paul tells me that although it is only an hour train ride, they are apparently coming around with goodies to buy, and they listed everything off.  After that comes the English “translation”, which I use quotations because Paul just started laughing and said it reminded him of a scene from Lost in Translation where Bill Murray is doing a photo shoot, and they director goes off in a whole slew of sentences in Japanese, and the translator simply turns to him and says “Turn slower, and with more, Intensity”.  Clearly there was much more to what the director said than was translated, as was the case with our explanation of available food, haha.

Seriously... does it not look like something from Golden Eye?

Seriously... does it not look like something from Golden Eye?

Then on to the apartment building.  I seriously felt like I was in a James Bond movie or something, or as I later realized… maybe the video game version, GoldenEye.  Paul has an automatic door opener (much like a garage door opener) so all you do is walk towards the doors and they seem to just open (like in Golden Eye, the one video game I used to play on a somewhat regular basis).  It’s also hard to tell what is a door and what is a wall… much like I imagine things are in James Bond (we all know I’m not a big movie buff).  We go up to the 39th floor, and my ears pop on the way up.

So, then into the apartment to see Mandy and the kittens, and… the VIEW! haha.  Here’s another picture taken that night 🙂

What a View!

So, I’m not sure if I’ll get to post more before I leave for the weekend or not, but at least you know how my experience in Japan has started so far 🙂 haha.   Sayonara for now!


  1. Yay…I am so excited to read about your journey. Glad to see that Lost in Translation is coming into play 🙂

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