Arriving in Japan

Welcome to Japan sign

Photo Credits: by heavylift on Flickr

So this has been a pretty exciting first week in Japan. I thought I would do a general overview of what has been going on.

Customs

Japan customs sign

Photo Credits: by busbeytheelder on Flickr

Everything went well for our arrival to Japan. Customs was easy, no questions or anything. Of course, they do take your picture and your fingerprints, so what else is there to ask about, I guess.

A little tip, you have to lightly push down on the buttons for the fingerprint recording. I thought you just had to rest them in the cradle, but then you get a “wrong” buzz. Another thing, I sure didn’t look pretty after the flight for the photo through customs . So I’m thinking with my hair and make-up actually done, I will be unrecognizable.

Baggage Pick-Up

Baggage

Photo Credits: by knitwick on Flickr

I forgot how polite and organized the Japanese are. By the time we arrived at the baggage area, they had already taken the bags off the conveyer belt and put all the bags from one flight together in one area. They also had personnel there so that we wouldn’t have to spend even one second looking around for our luggage. So lovely.

The Mobile Phone

Japanese cell phones

Photo Credits: by Route79 on Flickr

Trav had been hoping to get a cell phone at the airport. That didn’t work out as planned. They were all closing down by the time we arrived and the only rented phones out. Apparently, for a foreigner who is here for only a short time, it is pretty hard to buy a phone and a cell plan. They only offer 2 year contracts as far as Trav was able to find. (If you have more info on this please share in the comments below.) Alex, our contact for our apartment rental kindly let us use one of his. (More on Alex in a later post.) So that is taken care of.

Public Phones

Japan payphone

Photo Credits: by Sushicam on Flickr

A couple of things about the public phones. First off, make sure you have written your contact’s number down correctly….right Trav?=)

Secondly, they don’t take large bills. So if you just got money out of the ATM at the airport, you may need to buy something or get change made to use one.

Cash

on Flickr”]Japanese money

Which reminds me. Get cash. You can get it at the airport and you are going to need it for the shuttle home.

The Bus

Japan bus

Photo Credits: by lcars

We were much smarter this time and took a shuttle home rather than a taxi. An instant savings of $120! Yay for us, we are learning. The one thing about taking shuttle to your place, is of course, know where you want to be dropped off. So be familiar with the routes the buses take. Another thing is you may have to wait a bit. We had an hour wait before our bus would be through again. Also it was the last bus of the night for that route at around 9 pm. Keep an eye on that, or you may be taking that taxi despite your increased knowledge.
Again, the Japanese are so helpful. You line up for your bus in the proper area, and porters get your luggage ready to put it on the bus and then load it all up for you.

We were both kind of tired by this point and so things seemed funnier than usual. For instance, on the seat in front of us it said “シッタバリイト”. It took us awhile to figure out it was “seatbelt”. For some reason that was just the funniest thing ever, and we know have a new word to tell each other to put your seatbelt on.

One other minor event on the bus: At one of the stops, the bus driver forgot to close one of the baggage racks under the door. Now one thing we have learned is that our Japanese is not so great, and the other thing we can be sure of is that the little bit we know will flee at the exact moment we need it. I knew there was no way I was going to explain it to the bus driver as he drove. So I tapped the lady in front of me. I pointed to the door which blocked part of our window, trying to mime closing it and saying “doro”. I should have been saying “doa”. Needless to say, she was having trouble understanding me. Happily, I asked Trav how to say close (Shimeru – しめる) and he was able to pull it out of his brain right away. That she understood, and she was able to broadcast our concern to the driver. As it turns out, yes, the door did need to be closed, and yes, that was the one with our luggage in it, and only ours.

Whew. All’s well that ends well.

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