We landed in Tokyo about 3:30pm (Tokyo time), and after a 13 hour flight we, Ryan and I, were ready to get off the plane. On the plane from Chicago to NaritaThey had a few movies, and the food was surprisingly good bet the amount of time in that chair was killing me. It was just comfortable enough so that you weren’t moving around so much, but just uncomfortable enough so that you couldn’t sleep easily.

On the flight I saw Spider-man 3… It’s a horrible movie, if you haven’t seen it, don’t. I liked the first two Spider-man movies, well I wouldn’t say that I liked them-‘they weren’t bad’ we’ll put it that way, but goddamn I have no clue what they were thinking when they were filming the third movie. It’s like the director was like, “Okay I don’t like this whole script thing, and we need more characters. Oh! And we need a song and dance number, that’s what would make this movie great. Hmm, about that ending, would it be possible that Spider-man wouldn’t care about his uncle Ben dying… yeah, it’s not like that was important to the story or anything.” It was bad, worse than bad, I wouldn’t pay one dollar to see that movie again, just blah, but for some reason I watched the whole movie, I was just hoping that it would turn around and redeem itself somehow, to that end I was horribly disappointed.

There were several other things on the plane channel list, but none really worth mentioning, except for the Japan TV channel. It basically took an excerpt of real Japanese television, about two hours worth, for the viewers pleasure, and typical to Japanese TV it was highly entertaining despite language barriers. The first show was all about tea, and I learned a lot actually. Apparently, tea is best made by putting tea leaves in an oval shaped pot with water that has to be 95 degrees celsius to achieve maximum “jumping”. Unbeknownst to be there is a phenomenon called jumping that makes tea taste good, it’s where the bubbles attach themselves to the leaves which makes them rise, the bubbles then break and they fall. They also talked about how to make the best cup of tea from a tea bag. Again the water should be 95 degrees celsius with the bag in the bottom of the cup you wait until the bag has risen to the top you push it down twice then remove, and there you have it the perfect cup of tea.

The second show on the Japan TV channel was called “Cool Japan”. What they did was they had eight foreigners, released them in Tokyo and had them tell the hosts what they thought was “Cool” about Japan. They had one girl from the US (who was a typical blonde bimbo -_-; apparently that’s all we have in this country), a girl from France (the host made fun of her a lot, for good reason too), Germany and Italy (who was stereotypically addicted to fashion). They also had one man from Canada (the guy was a douche, he basically said that he thought Canada was better than Japan, and they didn’t show a video clip of him walking about Tokyo pointing out things he thought were “Cool” like they did with all the other people, I don’t really know why he was on the show…), England, Jamaica, and China.

It was a pretty good show, according to the foreigner panelists, the hanker-chief is the “Coolest” thing in Japan. Before you totally dismiss it, let me explain a little. The hanker-chief is used differently in Japan than it is in the US. In the US we use the hanker-chief to blow our nose, and almost no one carries one with them these days, unless they are tucked into a suit jacket. In Japan, you can buy a hanker-chief at any little corner shop, in every convenience store, and every place that could sell a hanker-chief, they do. They also use it differently, they mostly wipe their brows of sweat so it’s used to keep them cool. I didn’t realize how much of a necessity this was until we actually started walking in Tokyo, I bought a hanker-chief as soon as a saw a shop that was selling one. All in all, it was a good show, and I learned something from both shows even though I couldn’t understand most of the dialog (my Japanese is not as strong as I wish it was).

Anyway, we landed in Narita; went through customs which was painless and relatively quick, picked up are bags (none ofView of Japan out of the window of a Boeing 777 which were lost, yay!!), converted some dollars into yen, met with the english teaching friend, sent my two bags, which measured 160cm (L+H+W) and 50lbs each respectively, ahead of me to my college (for 3480 yen!! My God, I wish sending packages was that cheap in America and they deliver it next day, for no extra charge!!! Seriously FedEx and UPS and the USPS can die in a fire), and purchased our JR East passes (for Aug. 22nd – 26th, our trip to Northern Japan), and boarded the JR Keisei line bound for Tokyo. All of that took about an hour and a half to complete, we were making pretty good time. The train ride took about an hour to get to into Tokyo. Unfortunately for me each one of us forgot to print out directions to the Ryokan, so we had to rely on my memory of where it was (from when I went to Tokyo in the Spring of 2005) and asking at a Koban (police box) where the Ryokan was located. Needless to say it took us a while to find it. After we did finally find the Ryokan we ran into a problem because they lost my reservation, luckily I had my laptop with me and showed them the e-mail that was sent to me proving my reservation (I download my e-mail to a mail client), and we finally got into our room. The room is very nice, photos will be available in my flickr very soon I promise.

Something I almost forgot to mention, summer in Japan is fucking hot… forgive the obscenity but goddamn it’s hot here. It’s was about 35 degrees celsius (95 fahrenheit) with like 100% humidity, as soon as you stepped onto the street you were sweating. Carrying our bags was a burden at best, and they had wheels!! Remember I said how the Japanese use hanker-chiefs? This heat is why.

YakinikuWe eventually got our room all set, we then went out to get some food. We found a good yakiniku (originally a Korean BBQ type restaurant, it’s where you order meat, you get it raw and you cook it in a mini-BBQ grill in the middle of your table), it was delicious, then we made it back to our rooms about 10pm or so. Originally I had planned to record the first show in the podcast I mentioned in the last post, however, I happened to pack the microphones in one of the bags that I sent to my university in Osaka… I was pretty bummed out. We’ll have to pick up a microphone in Akihabara or something, then you’ll see a show in the podcast I promise.

So that was our first day(ish) in Japan, I am so glad that I’m back in this country, I didn’t realize how much I had missed it until I started walking around again. The next post will cover our first full day in Japan: August 17th, 2007. Until then!