Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 02 2009

Tokyo, again.

I’m sitting at the desk in my little hotel room in Shinjuku, once again writing in this account from my old Thinkpad, indecipherably labeled vitamin water and ginger-ale-flavored KitKats on the table beside me.

What am I doing back in Tokyo? For one thing, I needed a break, and I wanted to see more of this gargantuan mass of a city, preferably while not simultaneously freezing my ass off. I’d like to go back to Europe, to someplace like Prague or Budapest, but that would take a bit more time, money and planning than I can spare at the moment. Tokyo is relatively nearby, conveniently visa-free, and just far enough beyond the familiar to be interesting, while featuring many similarities to Taiwan.

Getting up this morning was difficult, as I’d gotten back late from playing a gig with the Ramblers up in Waishuangxi the night before. The song “Superchief” ran through my head as I took the subway downtown, where I managed to find a Mega bank to change some cash and hopped on the airport bus. It was a fine day, people rushing to work. I don’t usually see downtown in the mornings; it was actually refreshing.

I got to Taoyuan with plenty of time to spare. I was flying out of the old terminal, which I hear they’re planning to remodel. I wonder if it might be better to just go all out 70’s styling on the thing; I really don’t know what else they can do.

The flight was interesting. As we approached Tokyo the late afternoon sun painted the cloud landscape various shades of orange and yellow, a full moon hovering just above. Another plane was visible circling above us like a big white vulture. The turbulence on the way in was impressive, gaining many oohs and aahs from the passengers as we pitched and dove. I closed my eyes and pretended I was playing a flight simulator with really cool effects.

Other than the customs fellow being really interested in my background, Narita Airport was very efficient, and in no time at all I’d retrieved my rolling luggage and walked to the Skyliner desk to buy a ticket. Then I promptly took the escalator downstairs and got on the wrong train.

I realized might be the wrong train only after we were on our way, as it looked nothing like the pictures and was stopping at far too many stations. So I did the only thing that could have made things worse: I got off to ask. One of the drivers of another train told me I should wait for the next train, which turned out to be even slower, stopping at each and every station along the way to Nippori, where I was headed. At least I got a chance to take a nap.

From Nippori I took the JR to Shinjuku, and it was then that I noticed the rain splashing the windows. Great. In the time it took me to travel from Narita to Tokyo, the temperature must have dropped 10 degrees. It was cold! Thankfully I had my waterproof jacket on.

My hotel is located at the end of a winding forest path, a little bizarre for this part of town, but there it is. It’s a smaller building, just 9 stories, apparently built and designed in the 60’s, yet it’s tasteful. Many visible pipes in the hallways, like a ship’s interior, but the vague smell of coffee can forgive a lot. I put my things down and went out for some dinner and a walk around, but it just rained harder, so I decided, gentleman that I am, to come back here and write this little note for you.

I have no itinerary this time around, much like last time. I have a list of places I’d like to see, but otherwise I’m just going to play it by ear. I figure, why bother going on vacation if you’re going to make yourself slave to yet another schedule? I’ve been told this is a big mistake as I’m apparently missing out on all sorts of sights I should see, but I don’t generally like the sights everyone else likes anyway.

posted by Poagao at 9:45 pm  

1 Comment »

  1. Ahh, having no schedule is the best kind, and best part of travel.

    Comment by persimmonous — November 3, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

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