Tokyo 2008: Day 1.

I arrived safely in Tokyo yesterday. We landed at NRT shortly after 2 pm (JST). The eight hour flight was not terribly uncomfortable but I was eager to get off once we landed. I was surrounded by three babies and a pair of young boys — thank goodness for ipods and in-flight entertainment! Although, in typical polite Japanese fashion, even when they were “acting up” it was not that bad.

Moving through immigration was not the nightmare i expected. I was in line for, maybe, 10 minutes (way better than the rumored 45 to 60 minutes.) Customs was also a breeze. Total time from exiting the plane to passing through customs (with my luggage in hand) was about 30 minutes. The walk from the plane to the immigration line took 15 minutes. It was a pleasantly efficient process.

I decided to rent a cellphone this time. The process was made incredibly easy by Expedia.com (hand over expedia travel voucher, “sign here”, receive a cellphone.) It is not much harder if you walked up to the counter with no reservations BUT phone availability would be a concern.

I rode a limousine bus to the Park Hotel Tokyo (i usually do). It costs a little more and takes longer than the train but there are no transfers and luggage is handled by the staff. Plus the bus drops you off right in front of your hotel. You can call me lazy but I think that is 3,000 yen well spent. ;-) The traffic was bad yesterday (rush hour?) so the ride from NRT to Shimbashi took an hour and 45 minutes. I believe it is 90 minutes on a good day. It was about 5:30 pm when I got to the hotel (I wish we could still fly into Haneda!)

Side note: There was an accidental death on the Yamanote-sen (suicide?) which shut it down for 20 minutes yesterday afternoon! It is hard to imagine the busiest train line in Tokyo being shut down for 20 minutes. Apparently someone threw themselves onto the tracks — what a grizzly scene that must have been! According to Danny Choo, it is some thing that happens with some regular frequency! (Work related stress???)

The weather took a down turn with impeccable timing. I was checking the weather for two weeks prior to my arrival in Tokyo and it was all good — cloudy but warming and NO RAIN. Yesterday, it started to rain! It is still raining as I type this (looking out my window.) *Kuso!* I don’t like it but it is not going to stop me from going out.

Last night I took a short walk to Ginza. Chuo Dori is five minutes from my hotel. Lots of designer labels there. I went a few blocks and found the Nikon Plaza which was closed but had a really nice LED light up, all night. I eventually made my way to Suzuran Dori and walked a few blocks before heading back to the Chuo Dori entrance and went into Duffy’s Irish Pub. Of course i got a pint of Guinness and I ate fish and chips. The Guinness was good but we can get it the same in Hawaii. The fish and chips were also good but I think the fish and chips at Murphy’s (in Hawaii) is better. The really nice thing about Duffy’s was the atmosphere. The decor was cool. There were Guinness barrels all over and it just felt like “a pub”. It was a pretty happening place too, it was full when I went in and getting fuller as I left at 10 pm. Ginza and Shimbashi must be the place for pubs, I saw three on my short walk.

Despite the rain I had the D3 out (which performed flawlessly, as usual.) I will try to keep daily updates coming with photo galleries but time here is precious so please forgive me if I do not. Mahalo for reading!

2 thoughts on “Tokyo 2008: Day 1.

  1. jusun

    hey scott! – wow, thats why i envy you… cause you’re always traveling – AND taking really nice photos. the shots came out really good, it’s been so long since i picked up my camera to shoot. of course i don’t have a fancy camera, but a “point and shoot” camera with its “casualness-informal” style can do the job if given the task and time. in other words, can’t blame the equipment if the photographer is just lazy ..lol.

    anyhoos – just wanted to ask what kind of lens did you use to shoot those night pictures?

    well enjoy the rest of your trip – as i’m sure you will.

    take care,
    js

  2. stk Post author

    Hi JuSun! I actually returned home yesterday. ;-) It was a great trip. The weather got much better and the Cherry Blossoms started to bloom. I left just before the peak though so I am a little disappointed…especially since I still have vacation till next week! I should have stayed another week!! There is always next time.

    Nothing wrong with a point and shoot camera. Like you said, it is the photog behind the camera that makes all the difference. I wish I had my point and shoot with me on this trip…the D3 is way too heavy to be a “travel camera”. Though I was there for work so I had to bring it. ;-p

    For the night venture shots I was using my favorite lens: Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-S. (I think it was on my camera for most of my trip.)

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