Jet-lagged in Japan

I’m in TOKYO!

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It all still feels a little unreal – am I actually in this huge city in a brand new country on the other side of the world? After many hours of travel yesterday, and only the airport terminal and my hotel room for a view, it’s pretty hard to believe that I am in Tokyo, Japan.

It’s also kind of scary to believe that it’s 2 in the morning and I’ve recently woken up from an 8 hour “nap”. Whoops! Adjusting to the time difference may prove more difficult than I thought.

On July 9th I headed out of Amsterdam (with giant luggage in tow) on a three hour flight to Moscow.  Our flight was a little delayed, so upon arriving in Moscow I was greeted by a young Russian man, sweating profusely and shouting “Tokio? Tok-i-o!” at all of the offloading customers.  I showed him my Tokyo boarding pass and he ushered me over to the corner.  After gathering the 15 Tokyo-bound passengers, he ran speed-walked through the terminal with all of us jogging to keep up.

We reached a security gate and after some exasperated discussion, we were lead through the quickest security check of my life.  Dude might have looked at my passport for a millisecond before ushering me through and liquids/laptops no longer needed to be identified for the scanner.  Once on the other side of “security” a new grounds agent took us on another race to our gate.  She sweet-talked an employee (who ended up redirecting all of the Air France passengers to a different terminal) and sent us flying down the stairs to the awaiting bus.

So probably about 10 minutes after I had walked off my first flight, I was standing on a bus on the tarmac with 14 other rushed passengers, having expected a leisurely two hour stopover in Moscow.  Just before our bus left the gate, our original Aeroflot employee, who was still rushing and sweating, appeared to do a final headcount.  Reaching 15, he exhaled with relief and we all applauded as he waved our bus off to the awaiting plane.

The next 9 hour flight was pretty uneventful: I caught up on some TV and movies, didn’t sleep much and enjoyed some quality passable plane food.  I did appreciate the little touches that Aeroflot provides its passengers: slippers, a sleeping mask and a printed menu so you know what you’re really getting when you cautiously opt for chicken over beef.

And then I was in Tokyo! I quickly pulled out my tablet and, to my great relief, my hotel confirmation had been sent.  However, to my disbelief, my luggage was missing.  Seems like not everyone was as rushed as I was in Moscow! Luckily, I’m staying at an airport hotel for two nights and will hopefully see my beloved luggage tomorrow afternoon.

After filling out my lost luggage form I visited 4 or 5 rental phone desks before finding the one I had made a reservation at, picked up some food and waited in the muggy disgusting 30+ degree humidity for my hotel shuttle.  While searching for my phone, I walked around the airport mall and was immediately enchanted by all of the tiny, intricate wares for sale.  Not one to usually get excited about cute bracelets or small notebooks, I was surprised by my desire to touch (and then purchase) all of the adorable stuff for sale. I’m calling it the Tokyo-effect.

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So now I’ve made it to my hotel, got caught up on MasterChef Australia (my first priority), eaten some delicious Japanese to-go food and slept. I’ve got one day left to acclimatize to this time zone (and this heat!) before the students arrive, we’re introduced to our host families and thrown into three weeks of Japanese lessons and exploring Tokyo! I can definitely feel that long-awaited excitement creeping in 🙂

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