First and second nights. JFK airport and Shinjuku!

 

The plane ride this time around was not so bad, thankfully. Although a part of me once believed that getting off the plane and stretching for a connection helped make things more tolerable, I decided to try a one way flight this time and see how things worked out. It was much better, in my opinion—I’d rather just park myself in a seat and tough it out than have to watch that stupid American Airlines safety video twice. Plus, there’s less chance of your bags not making it over on a one way.

 I guessed, correctly, that my request for a vegetarian meal would be ignored as usual, but I didn’t have time in the morning to bring more than two bags of peeled chestnuts and a walnut daifuku (hey, it IS Japan) in my carry on. I ate a big breakfast, and got a cucumber roll and a bottled soy smoothie at Kennedy to tide me over until I could eat 14 hours later.

The cucumber roll was easily the worst thing I’ve eaten in a long, long time, and I’m no food snob. The rice was so overcooked that it was stuck together like nasty porridge with seaweed —and if that shit had vinegar in it, I couldn’t taste a thing. It had been out so long that some kernels were hard, even with the plastic cover. The total cost for my lunch was 14 dollars, too. Never, ever again!

But …the plane was only half full, and I had no one sitting next to me, so I enjoyed a pretty sweet ride in the end. I watched The September Issue and tried to ignore the fact that a rather tough looking biker woman was sleeping across all three seats next to me with her crusty gray heeled bare foot and long twisty toe sticking out into the aisle.  I’m not a huge fan of even well groomed feet, so I had to really work to keep my peripheral vision from torturing me. I broke my vegan goal in hour 9 when they bought out the pizza—I couldn’t have eaten another chestnut if you paid me. It would not be the first time I’d slip, but at least the pizza was good.

I arrived at Narita, which is supposed to be a nightmare in and of itself, but not for me so far, because I take the Airport Limousine Bus, baby! It stops right at my hotel, so it’s a no brainer for me, but it also stops at Shinjuku station, and from there you can go anywhere, so its super convenient for lots of people visiting Tokyo. I enthusiastically recommend it. I’m now four for four in the trip being under 90 minutes, which is good time. 3000 Yen for a ticket (30 bucks and change; convert yen to dollars by moving the decimal up two places and adding a little extra for the conversion rate, which varies) means that it’s totally comparable to the subway, too.  I don’t know what it would cost you to take a cab to Tokyo from the airport—but, from what I’ve read, you don’t want to find out. Seriously. Just take the bus! It comes every 15 minutes.

The plane ride this time around was not so bad, thankfully. Although a part of me once believed that getting off the plane and stretching for a connection helped make things more tolerable, I decided to try a one way flight this time and see how things worked out. It was much better, in my opinion—I’d rather just park myself in a seat and tough it out than have to watch that stupid American Airlines safety video twice. Plus, there’s less chance of your bags not making it over on a one way.

 I guessed, correctly, that my request for a vegetarian meal would be ignored as usual, but I didn’t have time in the morning to bring more than two bags of peeled chestnuts and a walnut daifuku (hey, it IS Japan) in my carry on. I ate a big breakfast, and got a cucumber roll and a bottled soy smoothie at Kennedy to tide me over until I could eat 14 hours later.

The cucumber roll was easily the worst thing I’ve eaten in a long, long time, and I’m no food snob. The rice was so overcooked that it was stuck together like nasty porridge with seaweed —and if that shit had vinegar in it, I couldn’t taste a thing. It had been out so long that some kernels were hard, even with the plastic cover. The total cost for my lunch was 14 dollars, too. Never, ever again!

But …the plane was only half full, and I had no one sitting next to me, so I enjoyed a pretty sweet ride in the end. I watched The September Issue and tried to ignore the fact that a rather tough looking biker woman was sleeping across all three seats next to me with her crusty gray heeled bare foot and long twisty toe sticking out into the aisle.  I’m not a huge fan of even well groomed feet, so I had to really work to keep my peripheral vision from torturing me. I broke my vegan goal in hour 9 when they bought out the pizza—I couldn’t have eaten another chestnut if you paid me. It would not be the first time I’d slip, but at least the pizza was good.

I arrived at Narita, which is supposed to be a nightmare in and of itself, but not for me so far, because I take the Airport Limousine Bus, baby! It stops right at my hotel, so it’s a no brainer for me, but it also stops at Shinjuku station, and from there you can go anywhere, so its super convenient for lots of people visiting Tokyo. I enthusiastically recommend it. I’m now four for four in the trip being under 90 minutes, which is good time. 3000 Yen for a ticket (30 bucks and change; convert yen to dollars by moving the decimal up two places and adding a little extra for the conversion rate, which varies) means that it’s totally comparable to the subway, too.  I don’t know what it would cost you to take a cab to Tokyo from the airport—but, from what I’ve read, you don’t want to find out. Seriously. Just take the bus! It comes every 15 minutes.

Yay! I love you, bus.

I arrived at the hotel and checked in without incident, then walked around a bit to explore. I stayed at the same hotel I stayed at last time, the Sunroute Shinjuku. When I go to Tokyo again, you’ll find me back there—that’s how easy and enjoyable my stay was. I even registered for a point card, yahoo! I love them. The Sunroute is not for you if you want the full ‘Japanese’ experience—it’s a Western style hotel—and it’s not for you if you want a laundry room and a pool and lots of in-house extras, but I don’t care about any of those things, so it was perfect for me.

99$ a night gets you a clean, cute little bedroom, and you are literally a footbridge away from Takashimaya and Tokyo Hands and Shinjuku station. To stay in Times Square, the NYC equivalent of this neighborhood, you’d pay four times that amount, and you’d probably catch gonorrhea from the toilet seats. Honestly. This is a good, clean space.

Here is a pic of my awesome bathroom:

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