But now it's time to get back to the report.
Let's see. We just watched National Treasure 2. That was a fun movie, but the villain was a little lame, which makes me feel even sorrier for him. After that, we played computer games. The hangman game was super easy, but every thing else was kind of hard because the buttons on the controllers kept sticking. At one point, we pulled up TV Japan again. We read manga through the Tameshite Gatten! part, because we had just seen it the day before. It was really fun, explaining how the different kinds of bitterness get into the coffee depending on how long the water is in the filter by using guys dressed up as the good bitterness, the bad bitterness, and the hot water. They danced around and stuff. It was fun. But we had just seen it, and we weren't really interested in watching it again.
Next it was Cool Japan. This is a neat show. It has people representing different countries, and they talk about how people behave in different cultures, centering mostly on Japan of course. One of the things they talked about was how late or early people from different countries arrive at parties. The French woman said that when she was in college, it was always the Germans who arrived first and the Spaniards who arrived last. The Spanish guy talked about how in Spain they don't really care about exact times. It was all very fascinating. And then there was a show about... some place in Japan that I don't really remember much of because by that time I was tired of being on the plane and the headphones were hurting my ears.
We hit some turbulence that was really bad in that it made me nauseous and it lasted a long time. We finally made it to... what's the right adjective? smoother? air and then they served lunch. I thought maybe I wouldn't have to deal with another meal I couldn't eat by pleading nausea, but then I discovered one of the choices this time was cheese pizza. How could I say no? I probably wouldn't have said no even if I did know they had pieces of real tomatoes in the sauce (bleh). Despite that, it was probably good to get a somewhat decent meal. It was served with fruit (which I didn't eat, eheh) and a brownie (which I wanted to eat, but couldn't because I still hadn't fully recovered). We stuffed the brownies in our carry-on bag, and then it was just about time to land.
And then we were in Japan.
That was a crazy thought. It's still kind of a crazy thought, come to think of it. It's actually a lot like being in America, only people mostly speak Japanese instead of English. And the people working there seemed a lot friendlier. I don't know what it is about American airport people that makes them so intimidating, but in Narita Airport, everybody smiled so friendl...ily. We were still totally freaked out, but that really helped. And then we went to get our limousine bus tickets to get to the hotel (after getting our currency exchanged) and it turned out that it's officially the Friendly Limousine Bus. That helped too. And it was pretty friendly. And the announcer on the bus (a recording) spoke English with a slight British accent. It was very cute.
The ride to the hotel was very very pretty. I thought of taking pictures, but the camera was buried somewhere in the carry-on. We passed by Disneyland and oohed and aahed. As we got closer to our hotel, the buildings got closer to the freeway, which was pretty interesting to me. It was almost eight o'clock, but you could still see people in their offices, working away.
We finally made it to the hotel and everyone was very friendly there, too. The woman who checked us in still seemed to be getting used to English, and I was way too tired and freaked out to attempt Japanese, so it was kind of interesting figuring out what we wanted to do about extending our stay. The special rate we got was through the travel agency we used, and I really should have asked them to make that change when I called and had them change our reservation so it started on the 30th instead of the 29th, but we wanted to make sure the airline would let us change our return flight first, and I didn't realize the rate was through the website. The woman at the hotel (she seemed so young I want to call her a girl) suggested we go for the extra night, and if we decide we don't need it after all, let her know. It took several tries before I understood that that's what she was saying, even after I asked her to explain in Japanese. I'm going to chalk it up to exhaustion.
We finally got that taken care of, and then she called for one of the bellhops to show us to our room. Our bellhop was adorable. (Incidentally, one of the things we noticed in Japan is that there seemed to be a lot more women where you might expect there to be men in America.) She showed us which elevator to take, and when we got to our floor, she made sure to point out to first turn left, then turn right. Our room was pretty fancy (I made sure to take some pictures, which will probably be posted here at some point...), and she seemed pleased when she opened the curtains and we were impressed with the view. We saw her a couple more times when we were coming back from our various outings, and she seemed to recognize us each time. I like her a lot.
We were too tired to do anything but watch TV, so we turned it on and discovered that Tameshite Gatten! was on. This time the episode was on the sense of hearing. I mentioned that one in the column, though, so feel free to read about it there. Oh, except that I didn't mention that they did the thing where they play the clip of somebody saying dadadaaada only they dubbed over it with bababaaaba but you hear dadadaaada anyway because of the weird thingie thing. They also did a thing where they had kids (teenagers, actually) put headphones on so they couldn't hear, then watch a clip of a lady telling them to do something (like put on a wig, or pick up a frying pan and swing it like a baseball bat), and see how many of them could do it right. They found out more people could do it right when the clip closed up on the lady's face.
Finally, it got to be a reasonable hour to go to bed and avoid jet lag, so that's just what we did. We set the alarm for early, because we had to get directions to Disneyland from the concierge and then figure out how the trains worked and stuff. We've had a fear of public transportation for a long time, because we've had several experiences where we'd miss our stop, or get off at the wrong place, or all sorts of not-fun stuff like that, so we were pretty scared about taking the train. But it was the only way to get to Disneyland (other than taking a taxi, which we'd never done before and therefore had no clue how to), so we were going to brave it anyway.
There's a huge subway area in Akasaka by our hotel. I mean huge. To get to the stop we wanted, we had to walk for... I'm gonna say about twenty minutes, but maybe it was only ten or fifteen. We didn't notice it the first time, because we were more concerned about finding the right place, and then figuring out how to buy tickets and use the ticket barriers. We managed to figure it out, thanks to the help of a random non-Japanese passerby who spoke English with an accent (and also seemed a little reluctant to help; maybe he was in a hurry), and then we were on our way. We had to change lines in the middle, but fortunately, the station where we did that had lots of signs that were basically, "Here's how you get to Disneyland!" and when we got to the platform, the station worker was like, "Get on this train if you're going to Disneyland!" (only in Japanese and more polite, of course).
One stop later, we were finally in front of Tokyo Disneyland, and the lines were long. But only because the park hadn't opened yet, and lines tend to get pretty long when they're not moving yet.
The Disneyland reportage will begin tomorrow. I'd like to say I planned to have a shorter report today because I knew we'd be getting back to work so I wanted to make things a little easier on myself, but it really just kinda happened that way.
Today I'm thankful for random passersby with a sense of needing to help even if they'd rather not, very friendly hotel staff, friendly limousine buses, fancy hotel rooms, and directions that are easy to follow once you have an idea of how things work.