Day 1 - Narita
written by Scott

The rest of the flight was a bit grueling... J-girl on the end of the row and an often-screaming baby two rows up meant that we were cooped up in our seats and unable to see the movie for much of the flight, and sleeping was Right Out for me at least. We'd done our homework well, though, so that when we did get off the plane everything --customs, JR ticket exchange, and the first train to Narita City-- went smoothly.

Ohgiya Ryokan is a nice little place and seems a good cultural middle-ground for my untrained gaijin self. We take off our shoes at the door. I had to learn to let the little old lady half my size carry one of my bags, or have her ask every two feet to take something. The room is Japanese-style, with sliding doors, slipper-entryway, futons, Japanese bath; but the more daunting elements are western-- the bath is our own, the toilet is a sitter, there are legged chairs (alongside the cushions).

And the power is, for my purposes, blessedly compatible. Apparently Japan functions on two amperages in the East and West, but the Apple power supplies accomodate both and the sockets are American-style. I plugged Phoebe in to recharge and locked her to a coffee-table before we left and threw the iPods, etc. into the safe. As long as there's always a place to lock 'er up and I don't lose the key, this will work.

I love the aesthetics, just as I thought I would. Wood and paper are beautiful and soft earthtones; things slide rather than creak and clunk; low furniture makes for spacious-feeling rooms; the separations of space that the slippers represent keep the parts of life and home cleanly distinct. And you can open up a whole bunch of windows in one room, but close a few shôji (paper sliding doors) and you get a soft but bright (and private) light through the entire place.

Dinner was at the Narita equivalent of a tourist-trap greasy spoon diner, but the food was cheap and our jet-lagged minds appreciated the respite from translation. On our way back we sent "made it!" emails and I (hopefully) put in my time on the Japanese Keyboard Learning Curve for only 150 yen.

Finally: cultural impressions, unfiltered at this late hour by any semblance of coherence: OMG NO SIDEWALKS. I HAVE HUGE FEET.

That is all.

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