This is the first post in the Japan-Thailand trip, and I’m beginning rather late in the game. We have been SO busy.
It turns out that travelling with a group of great people means that everyone is coming up with many interesting things to do and there seems to be no chance for down time! Not that we are doing everything all the time together, just that when we get back from doing whatever interesting thing we separately wanted to do, someone has learned about another thing that sounds too cool to miss!
Anyway, Friday morning started early. Matt woke up, got ready and left the house, meeting Laura & Denis, Max & Guido at the airport. The first leg was to London Heathrow, but another traveler missed the plane and their luggage had to be unloaded, so we got off the ground late. We were so late that we had to run (along with about 20 others) to our other gate. Running was NOT fun, but we made it.
I’m sure the flight to Tokyo Haneda was fine, but I can’t say because I slept almost the entirety of it. Matt and I were right beside the toilets, so of course our friends came by frequently. I’m told everyone was very jealous of my constant snoozing. They can be less jealous now. Of the 5 nights we spent in Tokyo, I slept well only 2 of them, which is partially why I’m only writing now.
We arrived in Tokyo early Saturday morning, happy to find our bags had also made it, got transit cards (Suica, similar to the Oyster or OV card, except that you can also buy things from station vending machines with it), and headed for the monorail into town.
Our ryokan (guest house) was quite old, and Denis had stayed there once before he began studying in Tokyo, some years back. It was very reasonably priced, relatively comfortable, and convenient to Takanobara station, with one of the main train lines through the city, as well as next door to a Starbucks and a smaller metro stati0n.
The hostess gave us complicated instructions on everything in the house, and we settled in. Everyone wanted a nap except me, and I rested anyway.
We slept on futons over tatami mats, and our hostess preferred everything carefully placed in trays on tables. There were dozens of trays. Every day our stuff was re-organized how SHE preferred it, which was slightly annoying but also pretty funny. I had to locate my necessary items (eye mask, ear plugs, phone cables, toiletries) every night.
We checked out of that ryokan (Tama Ryokan) this morning, and overall, I have to say it was good value for the price. I would probably not stay there again unless I am traveling on a tight budget, but we liked it. It was casual and easy, and our hostess was very friendly, even giving us little gifts as we left.