I had enjoyed a good flight, my only complaint if I dare, was that the first class sleeping suit was too hot and I didn’t get much sleep. But that makes me sound very ungrateful, which I wasn’t, so all in all, I had a good flight.
British Airways First Class was really quite spectacular and I will regret having to return to economy on my next flight to the U.S. Corporate rules are that if flights are over eight hours, one can upgrade. New York is 7 hours and 55 minutes. Boo!
Emerging into Tokyo’s Narita airport, I decided to get the express train to central Tokyo. It took about an hour and was a pleasure. Clean fast trains, easy to follow signs. I was soon at Tokyo station which was a labyrinth of absolute chaos.
I was having a bit of a problem as I didn’t seem able to withdraw cash. I tried three different cards and each time the message was that the card was invalid. As I never carry cash let alone travel with it, I am far too dependent on plastic. After a phone call to the helpline for foreign idiots, it would seem I had inserted the card the wrong way. Problem solved, cash in hand and I was able to get a taxi to my hotel.
The denominations of yen are very large. I withdrew 50,000 yen which sounds like the deposit for a flat but is about £260 so should get me through the week.
And from there I arrived at my hotel, the Hotel Niwa in Tokyo. I have absolutely no idea where it is other than it feels very central. The hotel is a blend of contemporary Japanese (shoji screens with luxury bedding and very nice lounging pyjamas) and Western culture, hurray, English speaking staff!
As it was raining I decided to rest and fell into a deep, disorientating sleep for a couple of hours before forcing myself to wake up. I’m meeting my boss for an early dinner and then hopefully I’ll be on local time.
Impressions so far: it all feels very Japanese! I have spoken French and Spanish due to language panic, but have remembered to say Origato for thank you. I’m also trying to remember not to blow my nose in public as it’s a major faux pas.
Day One: More to come from Tokyo!