Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 12 2009


It was raining hard outside my hotel room window when I got up yesterday, my view of Shinjuku’s roofline murky and gray. I didn’t want to spend hours on a plane with soggy feet, so I stuffed some extra socks and jeans in my backpack and figured out which subway route would give me the least time out in the weather. After marking “excellent” on every box on the hotel survey form, I checked out and set out in the rain with my tiny umbrella to the Shinjuku Higashi Station’s Oedo line, which took me to Ueno-Okakimachi Station. I suspected there might be a convenient underground passageway to the Kesei Line Station, and there was, though the signage wasn’t clear.

After I got my Skyliner ticket, I took the short escalator up to street level, just to be on the streets of the city one more time. I toyed with the idea of going across the street to have one more session of playing with the EP1s and GF1s on display at the camera store, but I only had ten minutes; in any case, I think I’ve gotten a sufficient feel for those cameras.

This is the second time it’s been raining as I’ve travelled on the Skyliner (yes, I managed to get the right train this time) to Narita. I got a window seat behind a man whose ears bent outward to accomodate a surprisingly thick neck. The suburbs lasted a long time but eventually gave way to open countryside and rice fields. The trees are really beginning to change and should be gorgeous in a couple of weeks. I suppose the timing wasn’t ideal for that, but tree-leaf photos aren’t exactly my forte anyway.

The airport was a breeze: after checking in, I went upstairs to have a leisurely lunch of soba and tempura at a restaurant overlooking the wet runway and forlorn-looking planes. Then customs and immigration, also very quick, though taking off all my bling for the scanners and then putting it back on took a while. The news on the TV in the departure lounge was all about the capture the night before of a killer who had made minor changes to his appearance. The case was being discussed by panels on TV every time I turned it on over the past week.

As I sat waiting for the passengers to finish boarding so I could get on without waiting in line, I thought that I might have stayed an extra day or so, just to see the neighborhood temple ceremony and attend the opening of flickr user Modern Classic’s new bookstore. But I was sure that seats would have been hard to get, and there’s always next time. Even after my third trip, large parts of Tokyo and its surroundings remain to be explored if I want to make another trip. Although I could read all the signs on this trip, I really should increase my spoken Japanese beyond just a few phrases.

On the plane, the moment I sat down next to a middle-aged Western man dressed in black, he called for the stewardess and arranged for another seat. I’m pretty sure I don’t smell, so it must have been some aspect of my appearance. Either that or he was one of my tails and didn’t want to get too close. In any case, I was glad to have the extra room during the flight, which was 73% less turbulant than the last one.

Once again, customs and immigration at Taoyuan Airport was quick; I don’t think I broke step to wait at all before getting my luggage from the carousel. After 10 days in a tiny hotel room, the Water Curtain Cave feels enormous, if a bit messy after my hurried departure preparations.

So that’s it, then. Hope you enjoyed the trip, and we now return to our regularly scheduled infreqent/sporadic blogging of life in general.

posted by Poagao at 10:11 am  


  1. Thanks again for sharing yet another experience. I always appreciate your perspectives of Tokyo.

    Comment by Bryan — November 12, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  2. Glad you liked it.

    Comment by Poagao — November 12, 2009 @ 10:43 am

  3. Glad you made it through both customs quickly, even wearing your “character hat.”

    Comment by persimmonous — November 12, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

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