The travelling itself went without a hitch. We had a smooth drive up to Heathrow with plenty of time before we even had to check in our luggage. I got hauled into the 3D scanner at security, as I often do, while Caz just breezed through. Typical.
We ate dinner in a cute place called The Commission, quite simply because they did nice-sounding cocktails. The food was also good and our waiter, Ivon, was fabulous. Unfortunately, we were so chilled out and pleased by dinner that I mixed up the boarding time for our flight, which resulted in a brisk trot halfway across Terminal 4. Luckily we weren’t the last ones on, but I was still mortified.
AirFrance staff were absolute darlings, especially one lady who kept coming to speak to us and the couple in front of us (who were also on their way to Japan). Unfortunately Caz and I got the giggles over something silly – the fact that the French Coke cans had ‘goût original’ written on them. Of course Caz decided it was pronounced like GOUT, the disease.
A girl on the flight was toting her Shiba Inu puppy on the journey and everyone was cooing over him. As we disembarked the plane, we gave him lots of pets and felt very blessed.
At Paris, Caz got her comeuppance when she forgot to take her smartwatch off and got drug-swabbed by security. So I was pleased.
Apart from that though, the flight was fine except from some pretty intense turbulence over Germany. When we touched down at Haneda airport, there were people asking where everyone had travelled from due to the coronavirus situation. Caz and I said, “Er, France?” and the lady said, “France? PFFF! Go ahead!” in a really breezy way. It was hilarious. Border control was super easy and we got through nice and quickly.
We had to get our tickets for the onsen we're going to visit at the airport, and I eventually managed to find where we were supposed to pick them up from. This is less because of the airport, and more due to me being ridiculously tired and slightly overwhelmed because we were finally here in Japan! We also got our Welcome Suica cards, which were a godsend. They allow you to use all buses, streetcars and trains in Tokyo (even right out in the suburbs) and you can also use them in cabs, some vending machines and some shops! They also have a cute cherry blossom design, which makes them a nice souvenir from your trip too. We loaded them up with cash, thanking god that our WeSwap cards were also in perfect working order.
At this point, we were so tired that we opted to get a taxi to our hotel. It was a fairly long drive, but luckily our taxi driver was a madman and raced on the highways to get us there. We couldn’t stop goggling out of the window the whole time, watching the lit-up skyscrapers and neon side streets fly by. I couldn’t wait to start exploring once I’d rested.
Hotel ICI Ueno Shin-Okachimachi by RELIEF. I know it’s a bit of a mouthful but it’s a cute building that looks a bit like a domino. It’s also well-placed with convenience stores, food places, and a subway station right nearby. And it’s quiet at night – bonus! Checking in was easy and the staff were so friendly and helpful. I tried some of my limited Japanese on them and they were super receptive, which is so encouraging.
UberEats) as we were about ready to collapse. Shamefully, we ordered McDonald’s but I promise there’s a legit reason! Every country’s McDonald’s has different menu items, and their regular menu always tastes a little different. We were curious to see what it was like.
The guy who delivered our food was the cutest. We came downstairs to meet him, and he was peering through the hotel window. Caz gave him a thumbs-up to let him know it was us and he was beaming and did the biggest bow ever. It was so sweet! I had another chance to try out some Japanese as I handed over the cash and thanked him very much, and he was also happy and receptive at my efforts. If this is any indication of how people are in Tokyo, I’m going to love this city.
Our food was delicious. Japanese McDonald’s is different to home! I found that their fries are a lot less greasy and have more of a crispy texture, and they don’t load up on salt as much. It was really nice to just have something simple and quick to eat.
|The view from our window.|
Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to try out all the buttons on the toilet and then collapse into bed.