Sunday, April 8, 2007

Japan - Day 1 - Tokyo

I left Santander the 6th April 2007 at 00:30 and I arrived in Narita (Tokyo) the 7th April 2007 at 11:00 in the morning, local time. It was quite a long trip but when I finally got there I didn't notice the tiredness because of the excitement.
In Narita airport, everything went ok. I spoke my first Japanese words with the people from immigration who asked me where I have learned Japanese and where I was going to spend my first night in Japan (I told them the exact GPS coordenates and they laughed so I gave them the name of the hostel). In fact, my GPS turned up to be unbelievably useful in Japan. Thanks to it, I was able to get lost in the streets of the Japanese citys without worrying about how to get back home.

After immigration, I had my JapanRail Pass stamped starting the following day. This is a special ticket for tourists that must be bought at your own country before coming to Japan and allows you to take as many trains of JR (including Kodama and Shikari Shinkansens) as you want during its validity (mine was 14 days long). I don't know if it was worth paying for it (I think it was), but I took lots and lots of trains without having to think about prices, distances, handle with automatic machines... Even so, I had to take some metro lines and buses that were not included in the pass. From the airport I took a non JR train, Keisei, for 1000 yens, to Nippori. I took with me one of those huge guides (Rough Guide, Lonely planet...) of Japan and it was very useful for things like that.

In the train, I met a Spanish guy from Sevilla, José Oranto, and a Japanese girl called Achiko. He was coming alone but was supposed to share the trip with a guy from Venezuela with which he had been chatting through the Internet. Achiko was going back home to Saitama from London where she had finished her studies on English philology. Nonetheless I had to talk to her in Japanese because she didn't speak English very well.

In Nippori, I had to change to another train line, but as this place was not too far from my hostel, I decided to get off there and go on foot. I switched on my GPS and it said I was about 6 Km from the hostel, so I started walking through the streets, electric wires, japanese people, shops... for the first time in my life. I was amazed of everything and I remember myself with my mouth completely open.

When I got to the hostel it was locked until 16:00 so I had to wait for a while. Nearby, there was a lot of tramps and homeless people and I was a bit afraid but gradually I realized that they were harmless. Finally, the hostel's manager showed up and I could have a shower and access the Internet. The hostel was really cheap, 2100 yens only, and It was quite clean, had showers, microwave and free internet: After having a short sleep I tried to talk a little bit with another guest, a French girl, but she couldn't speak too much English (I have to learn French..) and then I went to see Shinjuku at night, one of the most famous places in Japan.

The scene in Shinjuku was absolutely amazing. Lots and lots of people, neons, sounds from everywhere, huge crossroads. I was like in Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell. I was walking Shinjuku for a while getting soaked with the environment (and also with a light rain that showed up for a bit).

Unfortunately, I was able to see also the darkside of this area where you can find lots of striptease and other bad reputation locals. There were black guys in the streets speaking to you in English and trying to convince you to enter to their locals. And even a very pretty Japanese girl asked to me if I wanted a "massage" ("ikaga desu ka"), which I suppose is a polite way of calling prostitution.


Angela said...

umm acabo de descubrir un blog secreto... jeje.

¡¡ hay que poner más fotos del viaje a Japón!! y cuando vuelvas tienes que contarnos todo en detalle ¿eh? jeje

espero que lo estés pasando muy bien y que no que hayas comido demasiado sashimi o sushi o como se llame. :-)

Sangorrin said...

Uy, qué bien! otro comentario en mi blog! jiji! Tengo un montón de cosas para contar sobre japón, iré poniéndola poco a poco!!

Jose said...

Esto es increible, el mundo es muy pequeño, he metido mi nombre en google y me sale tu blog... yo soy Jose Oranto de Sevilla :D
tengo una foto en las q salimos Luis de Venezuela, Patricia de Galicia q vivia en Australia, tu y yo en la estatua de hachiko. Saludos amigo

Jose said...

Esto es increible, el mundo es muy pequeño... puse mi nombre en google y aparece tu blog :D jajajaj, yo soy Jose Oranto y aun conservo una foto donde salimos Luis de Venezuela, Patricia de Australia, tu y yo en la estatua de Hachiko


Sangorrin said...

oye que mundo mas pequeno!!! ahora nos mantenemos en contacto!!