After a LONG night/day, I made it to Toyko. While at the Bangkok airport, I met a couple gals, who, like me, were waiting overnight at the airport for our 5:30 a.m. flight to Tokyo. We got to talking and one gal and I realized we both had the same itineraries. She’s a grad student at the Kennedy School of Public Policy at Harvard. She was returning home after working in Laos at the U.S. Embassy for the summer. We decided to take on Tokyo together. (And had a fun day in the process!)
Seoul and Tokyo go back and forth about which one is the most populated city on the Earth. Regardless, with more than 25 million people, Tokyo is pretty amazing. Not only is it remarkably clean, but it’s also oddly quiet. There are people EVERYWHERE, but again, it’s clean, and it’s quiet. Not to mention efficient. They are so much more technologically advanced. Even in their bathrooms — everything is push-button oriented. Was so odd, but cool. I felt like I belonged on “The Jetsons” or something.
First off, after profuse sweating in 100-degree, humid, extraordinarly hot sun, I was SO HAPPY to hear it was partly cloudly and in the 70s in Tokyo. I actually had to wear a light sweater for the day. I even had a scarf on and wore my hair down. Made me feel like a whimpy Californian, not a tough Minnesotan. But it was only for a day, so I’m fine with it…
Once we got into the Narita airport, we took a bus to the other airport (Haneda) so we could drop off our baggage and then wander into downtown Tokyo. It was a bit confusing at first, but after a person explained it to me, it became very sensible. Even the subways are clean and quiet. The city is pretty much lit up with neon lighting. Very, very cool. We basically wandered to check things out, despite not having much sunlight. I was able to try some noodles and sushi. The sushi was fantastic, and in Toyko terms, really inexpensive. In general, Tokyo is a lot more expensive than in the U.S. and compared to where I was in SE Asia, but the sushi is a deal compared to what we pay in the States. And was SO good! We went to a place that had various pieces going around on this conveyor belt. You just took what you wanted off and ate it. We also stopped at a place to grab some noodles. The only thing that was a bit frustrating was it was incredibly difficult to find menus in English. I ended up getting these great noodles, but turns out, it was made with pork broth and had bits of pork in it. For the most part, I don’t eat meat, and eat fish/seafood relatively sparingly because I have a lot of trouble digesting complex proteins. Anyhoo…I was hungry, and didn’t want to be rude, so I ate it. I was already having some stomach ailments from my time on Phi Phi, and this choice with the noodles sadly has me paying for it now even more than I was before. Oh well.
My flight home from Tokyo was long, but thanks to the Tylenol PM, I slept for about half of it. That means that in the past 70 hours, I’m on about 12 hours of sleep. So…I’m wiped. I’m actually dizzy I’m so tired. I’m in LA, staying with Peter Fordi, an old family friend. Is great to see him and Judy. I head home in the morning. Pete had a great meal waiting for me, along with some champagne, so now I’m even more sleepy. I’m happy to be back in the States, and I can’t wait to get home. When I do get home, I’ll be sure to give you one final update on my “Top 10” list.
For now, I’m going to bed. Ahhhh….