Kyoto, Part I

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Here I am! Kyoto! The flight was fairly uneventful, though I was still a bit restless on the plane and fear that I may have driven Randy a bit crazy. At what would have been approximately 7AM I nudged a sleeping Randy to play cards (he politely, yet sternly, refused). The movie options on my seat were all screwed up so I never knew what I was going to see. The menu would say “The Love Bug” but it would end up showing “A Christmas Story”. On the plus side, one of the music channels was playing retro-80’s so I put that on while trying to sleep.

But that failed. 19.5 hours of airplane travel (plus or minus) and I couldn’t sleep. This is also despite taking two Ativan before boarding the plane in Boston and one Ambien upon departure from Chicago (with 13.5 hours left). It did, however, make me completely stoned.

Anyway, we arrived in Tokyo, picked up Randy’s luggage and checked in at the Japan Rail station for my week-long pass. We caught the Narita Express to Tokyo Station (45 minutes) then we separated. I headed south to Kyoto and he headed north to Yonezawa. Tokyo Station must be the largest and most crowded station in the world (even greater than Grand Central or Penn Station in New York City. Even on a Sunday afternoon it was packed and disorienting.

At this point it was after dusk so my high speed (150 miles/hour) ride from Kyoto to Tokyo provided no views. However, each time we entered a city I noticed that the Japanese love their neon. Districts in nearly every city had these areas with flashing neon signs and lights. It can be rather beautiful.

I arrived in Kyoto Station at 7:43 PM, grabbed some food for dinner (a pre-packaged sandwich) and walked the 20-30 minutes to my hotel on Gojo-dori. At this point, my total travel time was nearly 23 hours.

I was assigned a room on the 8th floor facing south. I took a quick shower, popped an Ambien to kill the jetlag (and travel malaise), and put on the provided sleeping gown, and went to sleep.

OK, enough of the boring details and time for a few fun observations from my first night:

  • The Japanese don’t like to take your money. You have to put it on a tray and then they’ll take it (they will also put your change in the tray)
  • The Japanese design things with low ceilings. I practically hit the top of the door frame to my hotel room.
  • My hotel bathroom might be a self-cleaning unit. My hotel room is tiny and the bathroom is this pre-fabricated thing tucked into the corner (you have to step up to get into it). All surfaces are plastic. There is also only one faucet (the sink) and this controls the sink and bathtub/shower. The toilet also functions as a bidet with various options (one cleans the ass (with a diagram of a butt) and the other option cleans women only (I’ve yet to try it).

Here a few photos of my flight, my arrival, and my hotel room. More to follow!

This is the first leg of the flight as we flew over the Hudson River near New York City

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This is me, jet-lagged at the Narita (Tokyo) Airport awaiting the train

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Here is the control panel for my hotel room toilet.

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My first Japanes meal. They cut the crust off sandwiches (yes, there’s meat and cheese in there…they’re rather skimpy with the meat).

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Here I model the latest the latest in Japanese sleeping gowns (provided by the hotel).

 

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Finally, a tease shot of the type of stuff you’re really on here looking for. I’ll post shitloads more of those later!

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1 Comment(s)

  1. Comment by J.P. on December 6, 2006 7:43 pm

    I’m glad you both made it there safely! Have a wonderful trip. 🙂

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