One Whole Day Lost, Three Movies Gained
My brother dropped me off at the Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston on Saturday and I was in the air just before noon. I really wanted to sleep, but it must have been the anxiety and anxiousness that kept me awake. In order to help kill thirteen hours, I did about half of the crossword puzzle, watched some TED Talks podcasts, and read portion of a book or two. Somewhere in between I also ended up watching three movies:
- The Invention of Lying – This was ultimately hilarious, I’ll definitely be watching this again!
- The Men Who Stare at Goats – Meh, not at good as it was made out to be.
- Pulp Fiction – for the first time in my life in it’s entirety, awesome movie!
While sitting on the tarmac, I found out from a random conversation with the flight attendant that Continental started charging for my favorite seats: the exit row since it has more leg room. Not only that, the first week this was implemented, they made a million dollars!
Sitting next to me was an older guy who spoke broken English. I really hate it when people raise their voices as if that helps translate English to some magical universal language. I helped him get his bag in the upper compartments and ordering food and drinks. After hearing his accent for a while, I asked if he was Vietnamese and he was. We had a simple conversation and with my broken Vietnamese and his broken English, we talked for quite a while.
As we were landing, another flight attendant gave me one immigration form to fill out. I asked her for another form for the guy next to me and she gave me a confused look. I explained that we’re complete strangers and she gave me a sneer. Can’t two people who speak the same language sitting next to each other on a plane be unrelated?
I was the last of the group [Ray, Sarah, Rami, Amy, Dan, and me] to land in Tokyo on Sunday afternoon (JST). It took over an hour to get through customs and then I was off to the Japan Rail booth to get a ticket from the Narita Airport directly to Ikebukuro Station. Little did I know, the one I took dropped me off early at the Shinjuku Station, but I should have known since I got two tickets. Luckily, a guy sitting in front of me helped me find my way to the platform to take me to the Ikebukuro Station via the Yamanote line. Fortunately, the Dai Ichi Inn Hotel was just right around the corner and with Rami’s directions, I got there quite easily.
Shibuya Station, Karaoke, and Food!
After checking in, I found my way back to Shibuya and met up with Rami at HachikÅ, the famous dog – I didn’t know, but after reading the story, it’s a pretty neat story. We walked be over to karaoke place a couple blocks away. HOLY SHIT, MY FIRST NIGHT IN JAPAN!
After karaoke, we went with the group and some of Ray’s friends who live in Japan to a little restaurant, Village Vanguard Diner, that served an awesome burger with a fried egg and jalapenos. This is where I found out that despite how awesome the service, you don’t tip in Japan.
Back at the hotel in Ikebukuro, Sarah, Amy, and I played blackjack and had some shots of sake from a paper carton that Dan bought earlier in the day. Ah, bed time.
Don’t drink sake from a paper carton, ever.
Waking up in the morning, I still could not believe I was in Japan. I looked out the window and realized that I needed to take photos of the comically small room I was in. The bathroom was really narrow, the tub itself was about one third the size of a normal on in America, even the ceiling was really low.
“Everything is small in Japan,” they weren’t joking.
Next city: Kyoto!