Monday, June 17, 2013

First Impressions of Japan, First Hotel

I’m trying to capture my thoughts as they happen before the “wow” becomes normal. This was written on our third night using notes I jotted down on the first night, with a few more tossed in.

We made it to our hotel safely. For me the biggest worry of the trip was how were we going to get from the airport to the hotel. Once at the hotel I knew there would be people who could help us. That portion was extremely easy. We landed. Went through immigration. Picked up our bags. Went through customs. Bought a bus ticket to hotel. Exchanged money via an ATM. Bought subway passes. And connected with Masumi via phone in less than an hour. Felt like a small miracle and a major accomplishment.

We met Masumi for our first meal. Even though the Hawaiian burger place looked good, Masumi encouraged us to eat Japanese food. We went to a food court so we could point and choose. We were actually surprised given that this was still considered Disney, just how little English was around. The bathrooms were labeled “Ladies” and “Gentlemen,” but the food court was all in Japanese. Eating will take a lot of faith and trust. Fortunately we do not have food allergies, but we have plenty of food aversions.

The first night was very muggy! We walked to the “Downtown Disney” area. We thought it would take about 10 minutes, but it was a nearly 30 minute walk along the sea wall. Oh well. We broke down and purchased a 3 day monorail card.

We are staying at a Hilton across
from the monorail station. The place is so luxurious (compared with where we normally stay). Unfortunately it only has wifi in the lobby, so we are slowly severing the technology umbilical cord. Trips into the countryside will further sever our connections.

Our room is gorgeous and fun. I upgrade (for about $4 a night) to the Happy Magic Room. The room has three magical spots. Don and Ashley found 2, I know where the third one is. The mirror in the bathroom has a part that does not fog over when the shower steams up the room. THAT is a really nice feature. The room has a fabulous view of Disneyland that reminds me of the one we have when we stay at Hojo Anaheim.

Our only downside is that while the plugs are the same as ours, and our gadgets can handle both 110 and 220 volts, our laptop has three prongs, and the hotel does not. We borrowed an adapter and will hunt for another one for the rest of our trip. I’ll need it to keep updating the blog.

The room has three separate beds. Each one is about 1 ½ times a US twin. The mattresses are super comfortable. The room is fairly soundproof. And, yes, I should be sleeping instead of typing.

We are encountering interesting toilets – ones with seat warmers and sounds  and bidets. Ashley commented it takes her longer to figure out how to simply flush some toilets.

Ashley was up the first day at 3 AM with jet lag. It is about  a negative 13 hour time difference. Very confusing to see posts on FB about things that have already happened that are just happening in NJ (like Father’s Day celebrations.)

I am so impressed that people dress up to go to Disney. I've noticed the women more than the men, as they are wearing soft, feminine outfits, touting ivory, mauve and other shades of light grey-toned colors in very feminine and lacy fabric. Everything hangs so beautifully and still looks pristine by the end of the day. I wish I had that talent. The women all seem to have amazing shoes that look incredibly painful, but they don’t limp or complain. Reminded me of the book “Why French Women don’t get fat.” The Japanese women seem to have this innate sense of style that I will never accomplish.

They are also much better about not being sun worshipers. They are covered from head to toe, and carry parasols. They are even wearing tights and gloves, but not breaking a sweat.

We have also noticed a lot of people wearing masks to keep out germs. We noticed our first person wearing a mask on the plane. We’ve encountered so many that Ashley asked us about it, which lead to a conversation about SARS.
I suspect we will have even more “first impressions” as we move away from the cocoon called Disney.

Everyone very friendly and willing to help


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