Without further ado,
I lied. I'm going to give a little bit of preamble about the trip. There were a total of six people on this trip: Me, my mother, my friend Crystal (who lives up in my area), Jan, her mother, and her stepfather. Of this group, only Jan and I speak or read any Japanese.
Jan and her family live down in Southern California. Which means that they took a flight out of LA, while the rest of the group took a flight out of SF. Our flights were supposed to land within half an hour of each other, so we planned on meeting at the airport. Of
We flew into Tokyo's Narita airport.
Without further ado, Day 1: Landing (Friday March 28/Saturday March 29)
We got to the airport, checked in, and got on the flight without a hitch. I only managed about one hour of sleep on the flight for some reason. Usually I get about two to four hours of sleep on the international flights, but not this time. Mom and Crystal didn't sleep much either, so much punchiness was had. (Crystal and I had a pillow fight at one point.)
After landing, we easily hooked up with Jan and her family. Their plane had come in just late enough to land within minutes of ours. We did the usual "before leaving the airport, make sure to do ..." dance, then headed off to get on the Keisei Skyliner and head into the city of Tokyo.
I originally wanted to stay in a ryokan over in Gotanda that I had stayed in before and enjoyed. It ended up that we couldn't get into that ryokan, so we booked into another one on the other side of town. Looking back on it, I think it a good thing that we didn't get into the one I had wanted to, for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons is that since the ryokan was located near Ueno Station, we could take the Skyliner directly to Ueno, and avoid taking a group of tired, jet-lagged, nervous first-timers to Japan through Tokyo Station. This was probably a good thing, even despite my tendency to look at the name, think "Keisuke Skyliner", and snicker.
(Hey, I never said I wasn't an obsessive fangirl. I just try to be subtle about it sometimes.)
Almost immediately after leaving the airport I spotted a Cappucino. Oh, to have had my camera out then! Oh well.
Arriving in to Tokyo, we found our ryokan fairly easily. Jan and I had stayed there once before, which made it a lot easier. And we had a map, for just in case. For reference, the name is Ryokan Kikuya, and I would recommend staying there.
We got checked in, and promptly went out - ostensibly to get dinner, but mainly to avoid going to sleep too soon. We were originally going to go down to Akihabara and gawk at the lights. But looking at the time, we realized that we would barely have enough time to get down there before everything closed. Instead, we decided to wander around the area, and see if we could find food, and possibly a convenient bakery for the next morning.
(As things would turn out, we were sadly unable to find a convenient bakery. It's one of the few major disadvantages of this particular ryokan.)
Wandering around, I was surprised to see a Jonathon's. (For those of you who are not as obsessive about IniD as I am, it's a restaurant that shows up frequently in the series.) I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, since I know they are all over the Kantou. We ended up eating there. I filtched the wrapper from my chopsticks as a souvenier. Geeky, I know. But... All street racers eat at Jonathon's.
Following dinner, we tracked back to the ryokan, and settled in for the evening.
One really nice thing about how things worked out at the ryokan was the room layout. We had two rooms of two people with a public bath, and one room of two people with a private bath. The rooms were arranged so that the two rooms with the public bath shared the common facilities between them. It was almost like we had a private suite to ourselves.
The bath was also rather nice. One person at a time, but nice nonetheless. It had soothing jets that would prove very nice to tired, sore feet later in the week. But that's a story for another day.
Tomorrow: Speeding through the heart of Gunma