The flight to Japan went well for me and so we disembark from the plane. On previous trips we got off the plane onto the tarmack, but this time we are at the gate and so it is just a short walk to the immigration line. Which then takes 45 minutes to wait through. Finally my turn comes and it is a few anxious moments for the officer checking the database and my passport is stamped and I am out. Then on to pick up baggage. Narita airport has free carts to use, so if you have much luggage you can grab one of those and head to the claim area. Signs are big and clear and it is open, much easier to navigate than O’hare in Chicago. By the time I get to the claim area all the luggage is off of the converyor and sitting on the floor. Being as far back on the plane as I was, I am one of the last to make it through. It is frustrating, but I only have one bag and then it is off to customs, which is just at the edge of the claim area. Nothing to declare and so it is only a short moment and I am through. The exit is right there and I see my family almost right away.
It has been almost two years since my last visit to Japan, so while it is not new, some impressions are made afresh. And it is interesting to note the changes as well. Recently, I listened to a podcast about one guys first trip and experiences being in Japan called Josh on Japan, and I have to say my experience was not the same at all. It was interesting nonetheless, as he is clearly struggling with the culture, but seems to want to understand it better. Although his current lack of enjoyment of eating fish may hold him back. He makes it clear upfront that he hates fish, which is going to make some things really tough. As fish are a major part of the Japanese diet. Yes, there is McDonald’s in Japan. When I first came to Japan, I saw more Denny’s restaurants than McDonalds, especially when you get outside of the Tokyo area. Denny’s has fully adopted a Japanese menu. There is nothing at the Denny’s in Japan that you could get at the Denny’s in the US.
At any rate, my family and I head over to the Holiday Inn in Narita, which is only 5 minutes from the airport. Previously, we would be met at the hotel by a female bellhop/greeter who would proceed to grab even the heaviest of luggage. Now I see there are several young men as well. This is a big change which I am not sure what it means for Japan. Equality of the sexes or lack of jobs for everyone in the current economy. We drop off luggage and go get something to eat. Ok, so after I criticized Josh above, what do I get, but a beef dish. I must note that my wife got a shrimp dish and we shared. Well she shared, as I ate all of mine and some of hers. We ate at the Royal Host restaurant which is similar to the Denny’s. I am not sure where Royal Host got started… whether in Great Britian, India or it is a Japanese company. But they are also known for their curry which is sold in grocery markets. The meal was good after suffering through the airline’s fare. After that it was back to the hotel where I promptly fall asleep. The kids wake me a few times and then I wake up about 1:00 am and they are finally sleeping. I try to pick up the Hotels wireless, but there is a wep encryption and I am not able to connect. So I go back to sleep.
In the morning, we get up have breakfast at the hotel’s buffet and then use the pool. After checking with the front desk, it turns out the hotel uses the wireless only for their networking. Guests must use a lan cable and plug into a port in the room. So I try that out and the network is slow. Which is not surprising now that most guests are awake. I just read some news and then we pack-up and check out.