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Japan Day One

SO my flights were ok. Without realizing it I think im so paranoid about flying that i just sit there and do nothing. In other words both my flights took off just fine and I think that I thought to myself that the flights took off fine with me just sitting here doing nothing, so if I do something, Im gonna jinx myself. So my 6 hour flight from Boston to San Francisco, and my 11 hour flight from San Francisco to Nagoya, I just sat there. I didnt listen to my iPod, I didnt read my book. I just watched the little TV in front of me, which is torture in itself. I watched Batman Begins 2x, and I had already seen it once. I saw Mr & Mrs Smith. Enough said. And then I watched The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. At that point I realized I must have been delerious cause I thought that was a really good movie. Maybe I just liked that girl from Gilmore Girls who was in it. But it was actually kinda good.

Anyway we flew over Mt Fuji as we passed Tokyo. Just seeing it from up there was pretty intense. We were maybe 25000 to 30000 ft up and it was just below us, with the top of it just peaking out above the clouds. No snow at the top but just realizing how tall this beautiful mountain was and i was looking down at it was fantastic. I landed at Nagoya airport and had to walk through the airport to get to the boat I was taking to a town calles Tsu, which i guess means ‘Port’ in English. The airport was brand new and was just so bright and beautiful. Nothing exciting really. So i followed these access tunnels to the water where I had to buy a oneway ticket to Tsu, which for a 40 minute ride was $19.00. Typical airport prices, same as home. I got through the airport I think in 30 mins so I was very very early. Buying the ticket was my first interaction with someone who didnt speak any Emglish. I just said ‘Tsu’ as best i could, its harder than you think, to get them to understand, and he just held up his finger as to say ‘one?’ and i nodded and paid. Easy breezy. Everything is so efficient here, just like youve probably heard. Even on a boat like this all the workers have uniforms and head phones to talk to each other, about 5 people working the passengers alone. When I boarded there were two guys standing there and they bowed and I bowed back, and they did the hand gesture which is basically showing you to ‘walk this way’ towards a seat. People do that alot here, like they are clearing a path for you to walk and kindly gesturing you to walk. SO i got to Tsu and it was this very clean and immaculate small little boat terminal. I had to wait there for an hour so I just stood around and observed the few people that were around. It was dark but there was a good amount of light. There were two taxis there with lights on them that glowed green and of course two vending machines that were so bright it could have blinded you, hopefully I will get a picture of those later. Ashley showed up on time, an hour later (as I was early) with her friends Katie, who is a live wire from Texas, and Charly who is from Seattle. Shes got a rough exterior, but a sweet bad ass basically. We took a taxi to Tsu center to get to the train station, and they got ice cream there. I was too out of it to even think of food, I was so tired after being up for 24 hours at this point. There were so many people walking around with these red outfits which turned out there was this big NASCAR sort of thing going on so everyone went to it, I guess its big here. When we were buying our train tickets there was some American kid, seemed quite nerdy, who was sitting on the station floor and Katie talked to him a bit and all he could talk about was CARS CARS CARS, it was sorta odd to see this kid in the middle of nowhere who was just there for a NASCAR event. The trains werent too packed, got to sit all the way to Nabari, which took maybe 40 mins. There was this group of Indonesian kids on the train who were friends with Katie, and they kept staring at all of us. You get stared at more by other foreigners than you do the Japanese. I learned that way back in the day trading between Brazil and Japan was very strong, and now to this day this bond has kept, and you see alot of Brazilians even in Nabari. I guess its as bad as how we use Mexicans for cheap labor, they do the same with Brazilians. Anyway got to Nabari station and Ashley’s town is very cute, at least the area she is in. It feels very small, and kind of has this village feel. Outside the station there is this convenience store we went to where I got apple juice. And its REAL apple juice, not the urine look alike apple juice we are used to. You go to the counter and there are two perfect cute little Japanese girls working the counter. One charges and collects the money and one bags up whatever you purchased. They both had picture ID badges on their uniforms, which was so odd cause in America you are lucky if the convenience store workers have fresh breath, never mind two of them, looking like models, with uniforms, with name badges (how official does the job have to be?!??!!). It was also very very bright in there, and was so cozy cause you walk outside and its just this little village with tiny narrow streets with this bright futuristic convenience store in the center of it all. Anyway went to Ash’s apartment which was smaller than expected, but nice. Its 3 rooms. You walk into the house right into the kitchen/dining room. Attached to that is the shower room, and then the toilet room which is seperate, and kinda makes sense doesnt it? However the neither has a sink, there is only a sink in the dining room area of the kitchen/dining room. So 2 sinks in the room. A word about hot water here. You dont just turn on the hot water. First of all you strip down in the kitchen, then you walkin into the shower room which has a small basin which you stand in, and use the hose to wet yourself down. Outside the basin there is a standing area which is a big mat with a drain in the middle. So basically the room is one big shower which has a basin, but all water goes to the same one drain. Now for hot water, its very weird. You feel like youre in a dentists office. There is a machine, literally a machine, next to the basin. There are i think 3 dials on it. Next to the machine is the has valve. SO first you turn on the valve. Then on the machine you turn the dial from 0 to 1, and hold down the dial at 1 firmly, and turn this crank for maybe 3-4 second, then keep holding down at 1 for 20 seconds, then turn to number 2 and let go. Then you go to another dial and turn the shower head on. Basically every place you get hot water in the house has a seperate machine all its own with different ways of turning it on to get hot water! And oh yeah the other two rooms are the bedroom and the living room. Ok some sound is going off that sounds like a nuclear bomb warning you hear ‘in the movies’ i kid you not! TIME TO GO! End of day one.

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