Thursday, March 24th:
It seems like only two weeks ago that I was standing out in front of Seoul Station - in the blustery cold - waiting for a bus to take me to Incheon airport. Oh yeah...it WAS about two weeks ago.
The trip this time is a bit different, however. Mel and I are off to Japan for a long weekend visit with our friends Bill & Sarah.
It's different in another way as well...between taxes, moving, end of term school projects, and planning my parents' visit (they arrive on 8 April...), we have put absolutely zero planning time into our trip, instead choosing to rely on Bill and Sarah to handle the nitty gritties of "who, what, where, why, and when." Will it work? We'll see.
For today (tonight), all we have on the agenda is fly (from Incheon), land (at Narita), make our way (likely by train) to the New Sanno hotel in downtown Tokyo, and check in. In upholding our newfound spirit of ill-preparedness, neither of us is sure where or when we'll be meeting Bill & Sarah....
Having packed lightly, we skip baggage claim and get down to the Narita Express ticket desk just in time to jump on the 21:45 train to Tokyo Station. The train ride is smooth and fast - but expensive.
During the train ride, I dig deeply into the Lonely Planet's treatise on Tokyo looking for subway instructions from Tokyo Station to Hiroo Station...the subway map is a mass of multi-colored spaghetti. I manage to draw a line connecting the two stations, we purchase SF Metro cards, and we're off and running. Despite the numerous individual lines, navigating the Tokyo subways appears simpler than Seoul.
The walk from Hiroo Station to the New Sanno is surprisingly short and simple. We're there by 11 pm and asleep by 1 am (a comparatively late night for us...with an early morning ahead).