Day 1 – 28.03 – 29.03: Because time zones

Well, things started off quite interestingly. I ordered a taxi from VIP Taxi, as usual, and waited outside for some ten minutes, the weight of my backpack and laptop bag starting to make me regret my decision to go wait outside so early. Eventually he arrived.

The guy I got was a young-ish Irish man, looking a startlingly similar to someone I knew from work. He took my stuff to the trunk, and we were off.

During the drive to the airport, there was the usual chatter with the driver – where are you from; where are you going; etc… – but after having expressed an interest in living in Japan, he brought up the radiation from Dai-Ichi, and then moved on to talk about Chernobyl, after which he went on to say that the Russians are the scum of the Earth. Oooooookay…

Some time later we arrived to Terminal 1. Before heading off, he complimented my packing skills, claiming that I had to be among the world’s best packers – an interesting compliment.

Getting to my gate was surprisingly smooth – no issues at any point… and then, out of nowhere, bunnies in the driveway. They went away eventually, and I eventually boarded the plane.

The plane was tiny, but I didn’t mind – I don’t really move around in planes… which eventually brought me issues on the flight that followed. The plane ride passed by as I passed out in my seat.

The stop at Copenhagen was also very uneventful – nothing out of the ordinary happened.

Now, the flight to Narita was the most painful thing there was – my arse hates me – I never got off the seat before landing. During the flight, I watched Thor 2, some of Like Father, Like Son, and kept dozing off every now and then due to, well, there really being nothing to do when waiting for things to pass. The food was also pretty good. Yeah.

Eventually the plane landed, my arse thanked me for getting up, and I went to the toilet when I got to the airport. When I got out of the toilet, I noticed that the zipper had for my pants had broken. I couldn’t be arsed to change my pants, so I just covered it with my jacket, and eventually, my other shirt, tied to my waist. Oh, and I forgot my 50€ ear phones in the plane. Yeah.

The immigration officials require you to write declarations on the purpose of your visit and on what you’re bringing to the country – thankfully I filled this out in the plane. Both of the forms needed for you to give a place of accomodation (in Japan), so that’s why you have to reserve a hotel or something for at least a day.

During my time there, I got some money, bought some power plug adapters from a drugstore (yeah…), bought a ticket to Tsuchiura (土浦), my first destination, but I missed that due to needing to put my Rail Pass to use the next day – the queues are ridiculously long, and you would do good if you made sure you reserved AT LEAST two hours for it. I was in the queue for a little bit over an hour, enough to miss my bus. Eventually I got my Rail Pass, bought some food, remembered that I don’t really like green tea, and got another ticket to Tsuchiura (土浦) – and this time, I actually made it.

When I got outside to wait for the bus, I noticed that my expectations for the temperatures had been just a little bit off: instead of 15 degrees celcius at max, it was over 20. I also noticed that the exit area also looked pretty cool (or warm, rather).

Not at all what I expected.

Not at all what I expected.

Makes it all look very pleasant.

Makes it all look very pleasant.

The bus ride to Tsuchiura (土浦) was… well… I slept most of it, so I really don’t know. All I know is that there’s a lot of farmland, and that I like the aesthetic of traditional Japanese houses. Oh, and that I was the only one of the some twenty people that actually went all the way to Tsuchiura (土浦).

Upon my arrival to Tsuchiura (土浦), I stared at the map that was there, and was wondering where Kohoku (湖北) was. The start wasn’t very bright, as I walked to the wrong direction for ten minutes. I eventually found myself in the hotel and began unbagging a bit. After this, I put my phone to recharge and took a shower. The shower was quite good – there’s no fighting with the temperatures or water pressure even though it uses two taps. After having gotten refreshed, I went to ask if my microSIM had arrived.

It looks fancier inside, Unfortunately I took no pictures. :/

It looks fancier inside, Unfortunately I took no pictures. :/

The search for the MicroSIM package must’ve taken at least an hour due to miscommunications and maybe a little bit of incompetence, but in the end, it was found – all thanks to the nice owner.

After all of this had been solved, it was dark, but I wanted to go out because I was starving, so I ventured out. I walked around, found the 100 yen store, and bought a new pair of ear phones for 105 yen (approx. 71 cents) – they work surprisingly well for costing that little. I also went through the stereotypical “WOW, THERE ARE VENDING MACHINES EVERYWHERE” phase.

After walking back towards the station for a bit, I found a Yakiniku (焼肉) place. As I was starving, I went right in. In there, I was pleased to find out that it was 肉の日 (day of meat), and that the buffet option, 食べ放題, was the cheapest. I enjoyed the experience as much as I enjoyed actually stuffing myself with all that meat – take that how you will. Eventually I paid the bill and left for the hotel.

That is how the first day ends.

As a bonus, I’ll drop my spendings here as well so that you – whoever you are – can judge me.

Withdrew: 20,000

Spent: 14,385

Remaining cash: 5,615

Breakdown:

Tsuchiura (土浦) bus – 5,080 x2

Food + Drink at ap. – 0,550

Converters – 1,448 x2

Hotel – 4,756

Earphones – 0,105

Yakiniku – 2,446

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