I’m finally here! Today I traveled to Takanobaba Station. I’m really proud of myself for successfully getting to my first meeting spot without getting lost. I got there a while before I was supposed to meet Miriam, so I walked over to the McDonalds and got a coffee. Yes, when overwhelmed and scared, I ran to the first American establishment I could find haha.
I’m surprised by how chilly it is here. I’m also nervous and exhausted. I waited a while for Miriam and her friend to get to the station. We grabbed some food and then headed to Ben’s Cafe for a poetry and short story night. I had a great pot of citrus rose tea. I’m so grateful to have Miriam to show me around. I’d only been here for a few hours and I know I’d never be doing anything like this if I was on my own. I got to meet and talk with some really interesting people at the cafe. It seems like everyone else outside of the US travels all the time. Maybe because in other parts of the world it’s easier to go to different coutries? One guy there reminded me so much of one of my favorite religion professors at college. I hope he’s doing well.
After the cafe we walked to where I’ll be staying for a few nights. It’s a house that is rented out to a few different people. Miriam and her boyfriend have an extra room attached to their part of the house so I’ll be staying in there on some mats. I don’t know where I’m going to stay after I leave Miriam’s, but I’m looking into some bed and breakfasts outside of Tokyo. It is freezing!!
I was so excited and nervous all at the same time. Mom dropped me off at the airport around 3am. There wasn’t a soul in sight. I pretty much walked right through security and hung out at the gate.
On the first flight from Harrisburg to Newark, there were a lot of people headed to Vegas. One lovely group asked me what I was doing/where I was going/etc. I explained that I had a traveling itch and basically put some stuff in a backpack and headed to Japan. They promptly told me I was a mixure of brave and stupid and that they hope they don’t see me on the news as the small American girl who got murdered and chopped up into pieces in Japan.
The plane we took to Newark held about 100 people. It was so small that we actually had too much luggage and the plane was too heavy or something like that. Woo! Anyway, I ended up sitting next to Andrew. He’s in the Air Force and living in Guam. He was going to Tokyo before Guam, so during our 3 hour layover we had breakfast together. I like travelling alone because I don’t think I’d meet as many people as if I were in a group.
The flight to Tokyo was the nerve wracking part. There was no turning back. Once I landed I’d officially be on foreign ground, not speaking (or reading) any of the language. Fortunately, the in flight movies were pretty good, and while waiting in line to use the restroom the stewardesses asked me about my Vibram Five Fingers shoes. The ladies were awesome, and I ended up talking with them for a good portion of the trip. They gave me some tips about Japan (bathe before onsen, try a saki bath, be mindful of where to remove shoes, where to exchange money, and ask younger people for help as they’re more likely to speak English), and told me about their careers as stewardesses. One attendant gave me directions on exactly how to get where I needed to go. Good thing because it turned out to be a lot more confusing than I expected.
I’ve decided to take a trip to Japan. It’s been too long since I’ve been exploring in another country and I can’t put it off any longer. I’m not sure why Japan. It came to me and I thought why not? The whole process of planning the trip has taken about 3 weeks. Talk about spur of the moment huh? I’m so excited. Life is short, and at about 3 am I’ll be on my way to Japan.