Yes, we have arrived. It’s about 8:00AM local time. We just came back from having breakfast in one of the several hotel restaurants.
Our room is on the 20th floor of the Asakusa View Hotel. It lives up to its name; we have a spectacular view of the city, with Mt. Fuji dimly visible in the distance. I’ll post some photos later; the hotel doesn’t seem to have any internet access services and I’m not sure yet how good the connectivity is with my dial-up account. At this time I mostly want to post a quick note to let people know that we’re here safely.
Some random impressions:
Parts of the Narita Airport look brand new. Other parts betray its age, but all of the arrival area (or the part that we saw, anyway) and the Customs area look like they were remodeled a few months ago.
I saw a Pocari Sweat vending machine in the airport, but didn’t have the opportunity to buy a can.
Bowing isn’t quite as ubiquitous as I thought it would be. When you do see someone bow, though, it’s clear that it’s a practice you have to learn from birth or you’re never really going to master it.
The word that comes to mind when you look out the window is dense. I’ve neer seen such a dense urban environment. Even so, there are several small gardens within view.
We rode from the airport to the hotel in a remarkably elegant Toyota. Seriously. Clearly Toyota makes classes of vehicles that the Japanese keep to themselves.
The cherry blossoms are out. The woman who helped us with a wheelchair in the airport told us that her husband has a job next to the Royal Palace, and that everyone eats lunch under the cherry trees. Sometimes they even go out at midnight to sit under the trees to celebrate the blooming.
We’re meeting a guide in 30 min. so I’ll stop here and figure out how to get a connection.