I have arrived. And what a trip that was. Boarding an eleven hour flight, getting spoiled with in-flight accommodations (hot towels, movies/music/games/flight guide, and my favorite Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream?!), touching down and seeing the sights and sounds of the transition from Narita all the way to Koshigaya, and the sense of urgency I felt in gathering my resources, attention, and patience as I fought through about an hour’s worth of commuter traffic and station/train timing to get to my destination – what a ride.
Day 1’s post will be shorter than I had intended, mainly because we’re about to rush of to Akihabara and spend the rest of the day exploring again and because I was so focused on just getting to Koshigaya on time, so I’ll leave you with a series of photos of Erik and I checking out one of his favorite Izakaya-style yakitori restaurants, Daiya, owned by the awesome Dai-chan. After learning some basic phrases to ask for some food service and getting to know a little bit of the late night semi-bar-life culture in this cozy town of Koshigaya, I was exposed to some of the best bacon-wrapped and salted grilled skewers I have ever had. Sorry, Honda-ya, you are still my favorite U.S.-based restaurant, but Daiya really cut it close in overthrowing your crown.
Interesting to remember is that trains stop at midnight, so if you plan on going around town beyond that time, make sure to find a taxi or, better yet, find an internet cafe nearby that allows you to spend a reasonable fee for some shelter and entertainment. Or a club or bar works as well. Because my delays at Narita in finding my resources (pocket money, rail pass, mainly), I got to Erik’s place late, and we spent so much time eating so much good food at Daiya that we didn’t leave the restaurant until about 11:40pm. Luckily, taxis were (eventually) around the corner, so we took one home and called it a night.
But before we could actually call it a day, we could not resist trying some of Erik’s significant other’s favorite sake and a bottle of unopened plum wine and the beats of Hatsune Miku to celebrate my arrival in good fashion. In addition to the drinks, I was also able to deliver some goods from America for Erik that he had requested, which I’m sure you will not find anywhere out here. Especially the Twinkies. And Irish Spring Soap. Fresh.
Thank you to everyone for your support in helping me get here – from ride to Skype to email to Google Voice to facebook to friends and family – your kind words and excitement for me out here to be living one of my biggest dreams means so much to me. I can only hope that the next series of days will serve as a good insight to my experiences, a comparison to those who have traveled abroad to this country or others, and a useful resource for those looking to follow a similar travel path as me.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s already Day 3 here, and I need a phone/wifi hotspot device so I can keep in contact with home a little better. Akihabara, here we come…