Ah Tokyo. I had such high hopes of visiting you. I pictured myself watching this:
But instead, I’ve found myself watching this for the past six hours:
I’m sure I’ll visit Tokyo again someday and actually make it out of the airport, but today has been relatively uninspiring. My phone is of course still buggered, so I can’t take any photos myself, but here are a few things I’ve noticed about Japan, just from wandering around Narita Airport:
1. The Japanese love to wear masks. I’ve currently got a bit of a cold so I’m not sure if they’re putting these masks on after hearing me sniffle, or if they just always wear them. Is there some sort of outbreak I’m not aware of? Even on the Garuda flight from Denpasar, I came out of the loo to find a masked girl bearing down on me. I actually shrieked. I thought there had been some sort of gassing incident while I’d been in there, cleaning my teeth. I thought she had come to warn me.
2. Coffee costs $5. That’s U.S.D. I figured this out only after I had handed over my Visa card, accepted its relatively weak attempt to caffeinate my bloodstream was never going to get any better and opened my laptop to a currency convertor… which was when I also looked into the price of a McDonald’s meal. Those are 630 Yen, which comes to just over $8. Is this normal or did Ronald McDonald die and take his magical recipe with him, thus forcing both east and west into using back up supplies and an entire McNation to exist on borrowed burger eating time? What kind of price is that???
3. The toilets make you feel dirty. Which is kind of ironic when they’ve been designed to keep you clean. Over the past year I’ve become accustomed to squatting over holes in the ground, so don’t get me wrong, a bum cleaning, vajayjay-spurting system complete with surround sound bird-song and fake flushing to protect my modesty is all very nice. But it’s a bit confusing when you’ve only had one hour’s sleep and you don’t know which button is actually going to flush the toilet and which is going to decorate the cubical with a melodious water display the likes of which you’ve only ever seen in a Disney World fountain.
4. There’s nothing to eat, except McDonalds and sushi. And sushi costs about $20. I know I’ve been spoilt by the ability to buy an entire three course meal plus wine for the same amount in Bali but that’s still a pretty expensive meal. Especially when the only place you’ve got to eat it is a cramped row of plastic chairs, sitting between people in masks.
5. There’s hardly any Hello Kitty. I wanted shops of it. I wanted to peruse a store made entirely from the fur of pink and white dyed kitty-cats. I wanted assistants dressed in fake ears and tails, purring at me in Japanese and offering a personal tour around a castle constructed from plastic toy parts, bound together with the whiskers of actual cats which were all handed over to the franchise after death for this very purpose. I know it’s just the airport though. Perhaps the good stuff is outside.
6. There is a room with a sign outside that says ‘Smoking Adults Only’. Where are all the smoking children supposed to go? They’re not very welcoming to teens who’ve just arrived from British council estates.
7. I’m moody in Japan.
Can I board my plane to L.A now please?