“Welcome to Japan folks, where the local time is… tomorrow.” –The Simpsons, “Thirty Minutes over Tokyo”
To start this blog off proper, allow me to introduce you to my hat-
This is me standing in the Pittsburgh airport waiting to start my journey. My hat is, of course, a tribute to Where’s Waldo? which was a favorite of mine growing up. In my mind, it is much more interesting to travel the world with a good Waldo hat.
The point of Where’s Waldo, of course, is to find said hat amongst a bunch of people. Keep this in mind, because as you’ll see I’ve already had a bit of fun with this.
Anyway, flying to Tokyo was 14 hours with a brief stopover in Chicago.* The flight over was a bit grueling, as it turns out United only serves you in coach one airline meal, one cup of Ramen, and one tiny sandwich during the whole thing. Good thing my mom sent me off with a baggie of Goldfish crackers and cookies- some things never change! Anyway, I arrived at the Tokyo airport, breezed my way through customs, and the quick fingerprint and photo-taking later I got my train ticket and was speeding to Tokyo within the hour, feeling quite pleased with myself.
My hosts in Japan are the parents of my cousin’s wife Asako, who reside in Tokyo. I was picked up at the station by a second cousin through marriage I never knew I had and we went to my welcome dinner-
Those are Asako’s parents on the right, and Sasha on the left who volunteered to show me around Tokyo for the weekend. The beer and sake flowed, and I am frankly amazed that I stayed awake as I’d been up over 24 hours by that point.
The view from my room at six in the morning, when I woke up the next day. That’s a baseball field down there, and even at this early hour some Japanese were doing aerobics! But soon the sun came up and boys came out to practice baseball; soon it was time for me and Sasha to begin exploring Tokyo.
*It was a freezing -8F (-22C) degrees in Chicago which leads to an interesting question- does it count as a temperature extreme if I never left the airport?