Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Japan first hand

Well, I got here in Japan. Just in time for a big earthquick (a 7.3 on Richter's scale) which fortunately hasn't claimed any human life. My flying epic journey started in the most unfortunate way by a one and a half hours starting delay right from Albany. The small Airjet took off at 11am instead of 9:40 but things went smoothly and we managed to get there almost in time without any additional delay. In O'Hare things are really crazy and people are quite rude but it is like that, I guess in every major city or airport. The annoying thing is that if you have to change terminals you need to take buses, stay in more lines etc etc.
The 882 flight from Chicago to Tokyo (narita) was about 14 hrs..and it was the most awful experience I had so far. Not because of the plain or UNITED stuff but the weather and air currents were just In Chicago I saw grey skies and big winds just like in a late Winter afternoon and I couldn't belive that such weather was happening now, at the end of March. Throughout the flight we have experienced turbulances, the big ones that make flight attendants go on their knees. Finally, Narita..naturally half an hour late, and with a long long long line ahead for pass control I realized that I probably will not meet with other guys that had similar arriving time (around 4-5pm). I got off the airport around 7:15 with the express from Narita to Sinjuku which is a central location in Tokyo. From there I could get a straight answer on how to reach Tama campus at the outskirts of the city..thus I have decided to do it my own way and I took a different type of train and risk it (a bit stupid I know). BUt I was tired and quite irritated that nobody in the station spoke any english. My mistake was also that I have asked the people working there instead of some youngsters. When I have reached the final station I was supposed to get a bus; but the bus stopped circulating at 10pm. Again, spoke with a very nice driver who took me for free, left me on the route (it wasn't going to campus) and came back after ten minutes (when he exited his shift) and gave me a ride in his own car to the gates of the campus. PEOPLE ARE REALLY NICE around here indeed!
After glorious adventures and with a trembling heart, got to the building where the seminar in held. Took a shower, grabbed a bite and went straight to bed around 1pm. After about 4 hrs of sleep I got up and started to hate myself for being so sensitive; perhaps it was really jet-lag but with how things were lately I will never know.
The second day we walked a bit around Tokyo. Quite expensive (about $2,000 yens to move around) and perhaps a daily pass would have made a lot more sense. Saw some downtown busy streets, the Imperial palace and a nice temple in Asakusa. Nice weather and an overall good experience although you get too much time spent exclusively in trains and metros.

1 comment:

Katsunori said...

Hiiiiii, Sorin!

Glad you made it to Japan, GOOOOD! I was anxious because you didnt answer my last email.

we need to confirm a few things to prepare for your Kyoto tour. So please let me know if you can use your RPI email here.

Again, HUGE welcome to Japan!