Saturday, March 3, 2012

Japan here I come!!

I'm going to be doing a new thing and dating my posts as if it's the actual day of the event because I need to know the dates of when these events happen instead of just going "a few weeks ago or a couple days ago" etc etc. So starting with Japan I'll be writing as if I was blogging on the road instead of trying to remember all the details of what happened the past two weeks.

My flight to Japan was scheduled to leave at 9am. So I had to wake up at 5:30 and make it on the first train at 6:32am that would being me to the HSR. The first HSR of the day didn't even leave until 6:55am or something but I will arrive at the Taoyuan station at 7ish. I then had to ride a bus that would bring me straight to the airport. Thankfully that was super easy to find and it seemed like a bus left every couple minutes because as our bus was pulling away another one was getting filled up. On the way to the airport I saw several more of these U-Bus airport buses going back to the HSR station. One ride on the bus cost $30 NT and the HSR ride itself only cost around $110 NT. I love the fact that the Zuzhong train station is opened near my house because what I would have spent on a taxi getting to the HSR station would have been more than the combined total to get to the airport. I was riding with ANA Airlines and had printed my tickets online beforehand. I didn't have any luggage to check in and I knew I wasn't going to arrive at the airport the recommended three hours earlier than my flight time and so I wanted to be as speedy as possible. Good thing I printed out those tickets because the line through the security check was super duper long. I was actually afraid I was going to miss my flight and it was only 8am, that was how long the line was. I'm not sure why there was so many people at the airport since today was actually a make-up work day for the 2-28 holiday. Going through security was super easy, they didn't even glance at my boarding ticket or my passport when I went through. My little resealable bag of liquids weren't even removed from my backpack. I'm not actually sure if you're suppose to remove those bags in American airports because I usually don't carry any liquids in my carry-on. However this time my only luggage was a backpack that could hold up to 40lbs and is basically just a slightly larger school backpack. Yah that is how low maintenance I am. I believe I even beat you Phil on how little I actually brought with me. Even then I still felt like I over-packed. Haha. It ended up being so cold in Japan that I basically just wore my jacket and sweatshirt over everything so it looks like I'm just wearing the same stuff over and over again.

Then I went through customs where I had to show my passport and my ARC. It wasn't until I got to the ANA Airline counter that I realize that my name wasn't actually on my boarding pass. The boarding pass is printed in Chinese and I couldn't even read it but apparently if your name isn't in Chinese then it doesn't get printed. How I got through security and customs with a boarding pass that didn't even have a name that matched my passport lets me know how lax the security is at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. I can just imagine the shit that would have hit the fan if I had tried to do that at an American airport and probably would have missed my flight if I had to line up again for the security check. So I recommend not printing your tickets from ANA Airlines online unless you can read Chinese and your name is in Chinese because it will probably delay you if you don't happen to be as lucky as me.

ANA Airlines is nice with a personalized TV for each seat even though my flight was only ~2 hours long. They even served a meal on the plane. I chose the Western option with pork and pasta. Is it just me but I always love airplane food and find it super delicious. I love how it comes with dessert, bread, and all these other extra food items that make me super stuffed.

After that I just fell asleep. I have a tendency when sleeping in transportation vehicles: buses, trains, airplanes, to sleep with my mouth open and my head back. Yes I'm a mouth breather. If my head is down I tend to drip saliva everywhere. Sexy image I know. Every time I jolted myself awake it was to find the flight attendant somewhere near me. This made me cringe because she could see straight down my open mouth and that must be so disturbing for her. Oh wells what can I do about it.

I had a four hour layover at Narita International Airport which is near Tokyo but not so close that people who are stuck at the airport for hours can make a trip and come back in time for their next flight. There are a bunch of resources online about long layovers in Narita so I guess it is pretty common. I had to get out of customs where they took a fingerprint scan and a picture before letting me leave. The domestic area of the airport where I needed to board my flight wasn't even opened until an hour or two before my flight. So I carried my backpack around with me to the international terminal which is thankfully connected to the domestic side by just a small walk and checked out the mall area on the 5th floor. They had a Muji to Go and  Uniqlo. At the Uniqlo you could buy a yukata, a summer kimono, for 2000 yen. I was tempted to buy one for a costume but then realize I probably would never wear it so I just saved my money instead. The Muji to Go at the airport has a smaller selection and is way more expensive than Mujis in Japan. I recommend not buying anything from there especially if you're from Taiwan because the prices are actually cheaper in Taiwan Mujis. I know this because I wrote down the prices for items I wanted in Taiwan, converted the prices to yen and then compared them and it was usually more expensive.

Since I had such a long time at the airport I decided to check out the Sound Princess which is a device attached to the toilet that creates a flushing sound when activated. Apparently Japanese women are uncomfortable with the idea of others hearings them use the toilet so they would constantly flush the toilet to mask the sounds. The Sound Princess was created to address this problem and to help save water. I was super interested in the Sound Princess after reading all these awesome are uncomfortable with the idea of others hearings them use the toilet so they would constantly flush the toilet to mask the sounds. The Sound Princess was created to address this problem and to help save water. I was super interested in the Sound Princess after reading all these awesome blog posts about it from Green-Eyed Geisha.

After a hour flight from Narita to Chubu Centraur Internaional Airport where I had to catch a 45 minute ferry to Tsu, where my friend Vinnie lives and works. The ferry costs 2400 yen and only leaves once every hour. If you show your student id you can get the price reduced to 1900 yen. Of course I totally did that and am so thankful that I still look like I could be attending college. I wonder how long I can pull this off before people can blatantly tell I'm too old for school. By this time it was 7pm at night and all I had eaten that day was the airplane meal 9 hours ago. I arrived in Tsu where Vinnie was holding a sign with my name on it. Lol so ridiculous since there wasn't that many people on the ferry anyways. She was shocked at how little I actually brought with me so we ended up taking a bus into the city instead of the taxi she thought I would need for all my stuff. Here in Japan people enter the buses in the back and pay in the front. They even have change machines - such a necessity since I only had bills with me.

The Details
Taiwan High Speed Rail Shuttle Bus: U-Bus
fare: $30 NT
ride takes 20-30 minutes

Tsu Airport Line - ferry between Tsu and Chubu International Airport
fare:  adult: 2400 yen, student: 1920 yen
website: schedule, fares, and additional information

1 comment:

  1. 1. You got a twix as a part of your airplane meal?!

    2. I hate people who sleep with their mouths open. It's so uncouth! There was this guy on the plane sleeping with his mouth open and snoring like mom does and it was SO disrupting, I couldn't sleep!

    3. The bathrooms in the international airport aren't as clear. I was afraid to press any button in case in shot water up my hole!