Travel Diary - Day 1 - A Very Long Day

Woke up at 5am - no reason apart from I usually wake up before my alarm at 5:30am (I start work at 7:30am).

So I just lay in bed for a bit thinking I can't believe I am actually going to Japan today - it has been such a long time coming that it almost didn't feel real.

At sometime around 8am we got taken to the airport and we went straight through customs - wearing fall clothing was a mistake because it was super hot in the airport, but an ice coffee did help.

As I sat sipping it and watching other planes take off it finally hit me - this was happening!

As you can see from the picture above Rilakkuma is being my travel companion, as you should always have a travel buddy. He was excited too - making a pilgrimage back to his home country.

We were on a smaller plane and as it wasn't full they kindly gave me my own row with no seats in front of me, which was great as the infection in my toe is still sore and my knee gets upset being in a seated position for too long.

Excitement soon wore off though because although I enjoy take off and landing I hate being in a confined place for hours on end - do not like the traveling part of traveling!

The food was really tasty, which surprised me greatly - but I was glad I brought my favourite snacks for in between.

Coming in to land I was in awe of how far the twinkling lights on either side of the plane spanned - I felt suddenly like I was not a city girl at all but a little country girl - simultaneously I was overcome with emotions of excitement, relief (at the flight finally being over), tiredness, joy, and thankfulness that I was on the verge of tears! Silly I know but like I said this has been a long time coming.

The airport was a whirl - pretty much as soon as you get off the plane you all pile into a train which shuttles you to the main terminal building then you find yourself in an enormous space where all that happened to get through is they scan your index fingers and face and if you have nothing to declare they wave you through - don't even scan your bags.

Outside it was very busy and crowded as people bought tickets and passes from various counters - I got my Icoca card and a ticket for the rapid service to Tennoji Station.

I managed to get a seat but then it was standing room for others and when I transferred to a local train in order to find Bic Camera (to get a data SIM for my phone) I had to stand as the train was so crowded.

With many Sumimasen's and Arigatou Gozaimasu's I found Bic Camera and what I needed. I then made the mistake of not going back to use the train and attempted to walk the 6 minutes to my accommodation. "You Are Here" maps are not orientated with North at the top and my Google Maps was being really slow.

People were very nice and tried their best to help me - although several people gave me conflicting directions!

When I was almost near my hotel and getting confused by which arrow on Google Maps was supposed to indicate myself (I never use Google Maps - complete noob) a nice gentleman who spoke very good English asked me if I needed help and turns out he knew the owner of my hotel so he walked me there!

So after about an hour or so walking I finally checked it!

Even though it was now 10pm Japan time and the ground beneath me swayed a bit (not an earthquake just extreme tiredness!) I was not going to let that be the end of my day. 

So as I knew Don Quijote's opened late and I had passed one on my way - after dropping off my stuff I went out again. And oh my is that store nuts - it's like a two-dollar shop on steroids - all sorts of things laid out in a way which sort of makes sense but is also kind of labyrinthy. Just when I thought I'd found the exit I ended up in a part I had somehow missed on my first walk-through!

Anyway I was overwhelmed by the cute things on offer and had to restrain myself - can't blow all my money on the first day. In the end I got a gift for one of my nieces (something I knew I wanted to get her prior), some cute socks, some nail polishes - I had to try really hard not to buy them all (so many awesome colours!), I also got some practical things like tooth paste, food for breakfast, and a cheap purple umbrella.

(I think I will do a huge loot post setting out what I got day by day when I get back as I don't want my family and friends seeing their Christmas presents before Christmas!)

Head swimming and feeling slightly delirious I headed back to the hotel to shower and sleep. 

At just past 12 midnight I laid out my futon and went to sleep!

I apologize for the lack of images in this post but as my mind was on get this, go there, etc, and the fact that I was extremely tired meant it just wasn't on my mind!

Anyway its 5am the next day now and just watching the clock - waiting till I can go out and explore! (everything will be closed until 9:30am)