Saturday 24th November 2012
9:12 am: Arrival In Tokyo Narita Airport.
I was so tired I just couldn’t be bothered taking the camera out of my incredibly well-packed bag so I used my phone to take pictures.
Picked up my backpack from the belt and went to enquire about my Japan Rail Pass which to my surprise was extremely easy to find. Oh and I almost forgot I nearly got denied entry into Japan as my passport picture didn’t match my face (I never had any facial hair when I was 16 – time I took my passport picture).
It was incredible seeing the infamous vendor machines
Made it to NEX (Narita Express) and used my Japan Rail Pass for the first time ever 🙂 I was already amazed by the speed and quiteness of the train.
Arrived in Ikebukuro terminal station and already recognizing the cityscape of what I always remembered of Tokyo in movies and documentaries. “Wow I am in Japan” uttering this words in amazement face glued to the window.
Prior to leaving the UK I left a message at the airport on my friend’s Facebook about the time that I would be arriving (11:30am). I was obviously late – plane was late so I was waiting in Ikebukuro station at Sebu West Exit for almost two hours until I made the sound decision to ask the dude in uniform and he kindly showed me the direction to the phone boxes so I could make a call, left a message on my friend’s mobile but in vain the money wasn’t enough to last 2 seconds so I tried again with more money and managed to leave a 10 seconds message.
I went back to the Central Exit and back and forth to the Sebu West Exit in hope that he would be there.
This is where it hit me that I was in Japan! L O S T !!!!! I am not going to lie to you, the thought of booking a hotel ran through my head because I was super jet-lagged and incredibly hungry.
Lost in a station where no one speaks a word of English.
After a while I simply lost hope and saw an American dude walking passed and I grinned in sadness, he felt pity for me after I said: Can you please save me? haha so he stopped and kindly let me used his phone his name was Chris. I managed to get hold of my friend who gave me the name of the right exit (West Exit) there were about 5 different exits argh!!!!
Made my way to the East Exit and went outside, I was looking everywhere and all of a sudden a hand laid on my shoulder I turned round and it was Emmanuel my friend!! YEAHHHHHH we exchanged bro hugs lol as I hadn’t seen him for 10 years!! Last time I saw him was in high school in France wow time flies.
We proceeded to Ikebukuro Station onto the Tobu Tojo Line which isn’t covered by the JR pass as it is not a JR Line so I had to pay 160 Yen which was very cheap for a train ticket. The train tickets work differently than in the UK you pay the amount needed for the trip so if on the price board your destination says 190Y then that’s what you got to pay. Fortunately Kami-Itabashi 上板橋駅 was very near Ikebukuro (about 5 stops).
Arrived at the flat after a 10 minutes train ride and we enjoyed a nice glass of water. Took a shower as Manu wanted to take me out already to a Sushi place in Shinjuku (argh I was so tired). So we left the flat after spending 5 minutes on the roof which had incredible views on the city from North to South to East to West. In clear day we could even spot Mount Fuji in all its beauty.
By 5.30pm it was already dark and we were looking for this Sushi place in Shinjuku. It was quite warm for an end-of-november time.
We walked through the millions of people as it was rush hour time and found this beautiful little “underground restaurant”. I was way too tired to even remember the name never mind the location haha.
After finishing I only had 3 plates compared to manu who had about 12 lol I felt dizzy and very sleepy so I couldn’t really enjoy the food but good experience though.
We left the premises after paying, Manu took me for a tour of the district in the infamous little corner streets where very few people go which were full of character.
we made our way to the entrance of Shinjuku Station to wait for Manu’s girlfriend Hitomi. She was late as she had to miss two trains because they were too full to be boarded. Manu was on the phone and I was falling asleep standing up passing out out of exhaustion, my camera was on the floor and remained intact (if it happened in London my camera would have been gone the minute I blinked lol) until she came at 8pm.
So I left them to themselves and went back home to go to sleep. I stopped on the rooftop to look at the before going to sleep.