Aimeric (aimeric) wrote,
Aimeric
aimeric

With a Purposeful Grimace and a Terrible Sound He Pulls the Spitting High-Tension Wires Down

(title seemed appropriate, as this begins the Tokyo portion of the trip)

I'm going to split this into two entries. This part is going to focus on the logistics of transportation (and a setback or two); the second will deal with the rest of the day, e.g. Tokyo Disnseysea.

Got up at 6AM; wanted to make sure I put in as full a day at Disney as possible, but first I needed to get to Tokyo and to the hotel. The hotel has shuttles to Disney but the last one of the day left at 12:30 and required reservation ahead of time – which meant I needed to leave early.

As I may have mentioned, I packed a bit too much originally. Now, even with only small gifts, both my luggage and my carry-on bag were packed to the gills (good thing I packed the night before). I ran for the train – it's about a 20 min walk to the train station from M&B's. Japan's railway is very efficient – the times listed are the times the train leaves the station, and hyperdia.com is invaluable in finding the best routes. (Even without it I've gotten good enough at navigating the station maps, but the real genius is in calculating the best times, taking into account possible transfers, etc. But I had no data while away from M&B's house or the hotels, since I rented a local dumbphone instead of getting a sim card with unlimited data for my iPhone – was worried about having them accidentally brick it, which was pretty stupid in retrospect).

Took a local (only thing available from their station), hopped off in a couple of stops, immediately jumped into the Special Rapid in the adjacent track, already present (surprised how often this happens. As I said, very well orchestrated), got off in a few stops to board the Shinkansen towards Tokyo. Got off in Shinagawa and took one of JR's outer-loop tracks to Shinjuku (the Tokyo JR tracks are labyrinthine, but that's nothing compared to the subway lines, and I took both over the next couple of days. It's actually fairly easy with a map, as long as you look at it and plot beforehand. Most of the local maps even list the # of minutes in between stations).

Actually, I called an audible here, and saw a different route that would get me to one of the links earlier, and gave me enough time to go to the counter to request a reserved seat for the Shinkansen. Good thing, too, because the train was unbelievably packed – I would not have liked to have been standing, with my luggage, for 2 ½ hours.

Sadly, I was booked on the wrong side of the train to be able to see Fuji. Also, it was very cloudy, so I'm not sure how much I would have been able to see. Oh well – one reason to come visit again :)

As I got out of the Shinkansen, I realized I had left the little bag containing some teacups M&B had given me (and didn't fit in my luggage) in the basket in front of my seat. Luggage and all, I jumped back on the train, grabbed it, and got off about 3 seconds before the doors closed. [In the worst case, though, I would have ended up at Tokyo proper and simply needed to catch the other end of the JR line's loop anyway, but I didn't know it at the time, and it probably would have put me past 12:30]

My luggage took tremendous abuse – I pulled it by the handle, even down the stairs. As a result, I bent the handle, so it wouldn't collapse anymore. It was NOT going to be allowed on the plane that way, which meant I'd have to buy luggage some time in the next couple of days. On the plus side, it meant that I could now get one with more space, so that I'd have room for more presents. Over the next couple of days, I was going to find that every setback lent itself to a better opportunity. And thus, the traveller was enlightened.

(I also started having heart palpitations. This, plus a bug bite on my arm with the swiftly larger-growing rash acting as a kind of blast radius, had me a bit worried; more on that later)

The Shinjuku station was huge; fortunately, the hotel was on the signs. There is an underground walkway that proceeds under the first 3 or 4 blocks of buildings, and ends right at the hotel. There were plenty of stores open for business there. I made it to the hotel around 11:45. Check-in time wasn't until 2, so I had them hold my bags (including L's camera – I still hadn't found batteries yet, and it was bulky enough that I was concerned going on some of the high impact rides with it. I'd just use my cell camera for now). They didn't have my reservation for the shuttle (I think there was some confusion – my last name is hard on native Japanese speakers), but there was room, so everything worked out. I hopped on the shuttle (the return shuttle would arrive at 10:30, half an hour after Disneysea's closing), and prepared to visit the Happiest Place Under the Sea.
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