We'd had an entirely enjoyable 12 hour flight the day before, arriving in Tokyo in the late afternoon. I thought I'd want to knock myself out for the flight, since I can barely stand the 6 hours to Hawaii without losing my mind, but Korean Airlines provided plenty of entertainment to keep me awake. I spent much of the time catching up on a few movies that I haven't had time to see in the last year. Did I mention, personal TVs?? I think there were like 30 movies to choose from. Also, our side of the plane came equipped with the sweetest flight attendant ever, who patiently repeated the Korean words for "please" and "thank you" every time we asked. Perhaps learning Korean on the plane was a bit much to ask of ourselves while trying to remember key phrases in Japanese simultaneously. But, we were eager to be culturally participatory. It worked out either way, and by the end of the flight, we were homies.
When we arrived in Tokyo, I think we were too bleary-eyed and travel-weary to take many pictures. We struggled through leaving our hotel after checking in and asked the nice man behind the hotel counter where he recommended we eat dinner. It was a nice meal, had traditional-style on the floor, and I think it involved sushi, but to be honest, I remember very little of that night. I remember the restaurant was on the 5th floor of a building. After stocking up on pastries for the next morning, we turned in.
Astonishingly (for me, anyway), I sprang out of bed at 5:45am. As soon as my eyes were open, I knew I didn't want to miss a thing. It basically remained that way for the entirety of the trip. Eyes wide open.
These were all taken from our hotel room window. (Hotel Niwa, if anyone is interested. It was by far the best hotel we stayed in, small but swank, and I highly recommend it. Very reasonable.) It was interesting to see so many windows of residences too. Each person had different curtains, some had balcony gardens, some didn't. It felt a little like glimpsing into their lives. I was very curious to learn about the everyday lives of those in Tokyo. It fascinated me.
I thought I would dislike the city. I don't like cities. Granted, I've been to few. I don't like crowds is a better way to put it, or noise, or buildings, or hustle and bustle. At least that's what I thought. Tokyo was already beginning to change my mind and it wasn't even 7am. Who knew a sunrise reflected into the glass windows of a kojillion office buildings would look so pretty? We drank the provided Green Tea and gazed out the window for quite a while before realizing that there was a whole (truly gigantic) city out there awaiting us. I couldn't wait to get outside.
With Captain Greg taking the helm at directing us around a maze of subways and trains that looked mind-boggling from the map, we bought our tickets and embarked on our first Tokyo subway.