Konnichiwa, Bitches!

Jun 5, 2013 by

tokyoI’m Tokyo bound! Every now and then, I get to tag along on Andy’s business trips and this is one of those times. However, “tag along” isn’t really the right term for it. He’s been in Taiwan at the big electronics show, then he has business meetings in Tokyo. So I’m going to be negotiating my way to Japan alone to meet him. I don’t mind saying, I have some trepidation about this. It’s not that I don’t travel internationally several times a year. But when I do, I usually have Andy handling the logistics. In fact, I’m not even allowed to hold my own ticket and passport. His rationale: “You’ll just spill a Mocha on them or leave them at the news stand.” Fine with me. I love having a personal English Travel Concierge.

No, most of my solo travel is done in a Prius. Perhaps with a terrier or two in the back. This trip is going to be a real challenge. First of all, I’m coming in to a different terminal than Andy. I need to clear customs, grab my bag, find my way over to his terminal (which I’m told involves a shuttle bus or a train), grab tickets on the Bullet Train down to Kyoto, rendezvous with Andy and leap on that train. That’s not too big a task for someone fairly familiar with international airports. But the one time I had a stop-over at Narita Airport, I realized, being in Japan is not like negotiating an airport in Frankfurt or Amsterdam or Rome.

Tiny Godzilla, FIrst Class Lounge

I’m traveling with Tiny Godzilla. Did I mention both of us were upgraded to First Class? Here we are with the Premier Lounge all to ourselves.

My friend, Susi, described it best. (For frequent readers of this blog, Susi’s the mom of The World’s Most Beautiful Baby who has since grown into The World’s Most Beautiful Pre-Schooler.) Susi, who served a stint as a flight attendant on international flights, says Tokyo’s Narita Airport was the first place she had overwhelming culture shock. It wasn’t just that the signs were in a different language, it was that it was a language and characters that you couldn’t even begin to puzzle out with one of your high school language classes. Not just that, but everything was wildly different right down to the vending machines. Susi describes staring at the selections in the vending machine and realizing that she not only didn’t know what the foods were, she had no idea if they were animal, vegetable or mineral. My moment of Japanese culture shock came on a layover we had at the Narita airport hotel between Asian flights. The toilets were so high tech — with bells, whistles, automatic cleaners and hygiene sprays — that they were unrecognizable to me. When you can’t work the toilets, you know you aren’t in Kansas anymore.

Tiny Godzilla and I ordered the traditional sushi lunch. With lobster. Excellent!

Tiny Godzilla and I ordered the traditional sushi lunch. With lobster. Excellent!

So anyway, this is my first solo flight in a long while. Well, unless you count shepherding my mother back and forth from Africa — especially on the 48 hour flight to San Francisco from Hell — which is another whole story. But I was running on adrenaline then and didn’t have time to think about it.

sushi, Tiny Godzilla, Melissa McCarthy, movie

Tiny Godzilla and I recommend “Identity Thief”. Melissa McCarthy joins a long and distinguished line of larger comedians with surprising physical grace –like Stan Laurel, Zero Mostel and John Belushi. Besides, this movie will make you laugh out loud and embarrass yourself on a plane.

Luckily, I visited Amelia May, my four and a half year old Goddaughter, and she loaned me a monster to take to Tokyo. Amelia, who is much more into fairies and princesses and My Little Pony, could easily spare this little creature because, as she told me, “Monsters are icky things that boys like.” Except, I like this little monster, who I have dubbed Tiny Godzilla. I’m taking him back to his homeland where we might see MechaGodzilla, Mothra, Gidrah and others of his larger brethren.

cheese plate, Tiny Godzilla

I know it’s not traditionally Japanese, but Tiny Godzilla and I think a cheese plate always goes down nicely.

And speaking of amazing wonders: Did I mention that I’m blogging this from somewhere over Hawaii? Excuse me jaded frequent business travelers, but Wi-Fi in the air? That’s so cool to me. You can stop laughing now.

Onward to the Land of the Rising Sun. Tiny Godzilla and I are ready.

Photo of Tokyo at top of post is from Wikipedia. The photographer is Morio.

By the way, if you are wondering why I’m calling you bitches. It’s from Chapelle’s Show.

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. KathyB

    Tiny Godzilla seems to be a perfect travel companion. But he doesn’t bark, so there is that. If you can do Mom safari you can do anything, with aplomb!

  2. Thank you so much. I think I just need to get from the international terminal to whatever terminal serves flights from Taiwan. Tiny Godzilla and I are feeling brave at this moment after a cheese plate and some wine.

  3. SusanA

    Ooh, how was the lotus on your lunch? Stay hydrated and get some rest!

  4. debbieK

    my philosophy of Narita is that if my mom can do Narita, ANYone can do it!!! seriously.
    the shuttle bus of which you speak is probably the one to take you to the other airport….Haneda. when you come out of customs/baggage claim, the bus ticket counter will be almost right in front of you. the girls there speak English fairly well…just remember to speak slowly and clearly. oh….they also take credit cards when you have to pay for your ticket. the bus ride will be about 1 hour to the other airport….if that’s the one you are headed to.
    e-mail me if you need any help…support….or if you need to hear a friendly voice, i’ll send you my phone numbers!!!
    have a great time!!!
    YOKOSO!!!
    (welcome!!)

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