Monday, April 5, 2010

Touchdown at NRT

When I woke up from a two hour nap, time ceased to matter. Crossing the international date line, it had become April 2nd. I had not experienced April 1st. Slowly but surely, I caught back up to it.

Chasing the sun the whole way, people kept their windows shut trying to allow a sense of night to fall upon them. Some slept the full flight. Myself? Those two hours were all I would allow myself. There was so much to do, so many movies to watch.

A Good Husband was a fantastic movie about a photographer, and his wife – and their relationship that was less than perfect. It's hard to say more about it than that, but I would buy it if I could find it. The internet has very little information about it, through trailers exist. It is – however – very Japanese. So if you can get past that, you'll be in for quite the treat.

Then I watched The Rock. I had been thinking of this since I was in San Francisco, and had spread the desire to watch it to others. But it was nowhere to be found. Here, on JL001 the movie presented itself. It was fantastic, and wonderful, and lovely, and I kept thinking – been there, been there.

Watching movies, or reading books, that take place in a place you've been? Exponentially better.

At this point we were getting close to landing. In fact were we not delayed on ground, and a bit in the air, we would have touched down already. But no – the wacky clock kept saying forty more minutes. It said this for half and hour, before finally starting to count down below that time. Normally I'd have had no problem with this – but knowing that my friends were waiting in the airport, and that they might up and leave at some point, well that had me less than pleased with this situation.

Still, I tried to console myself by watching Ghost in the Shell 2.0 - I tell you what, the first ten minutes of that is all naked cartoon lady, and that's an awkward thing to have displayed on your screen. So instead I stopped that, and went to the back of the plane for sugar bun snacks.

At some point we decided to land. Smoothest touch down I've had. And as we were rocking left and right caught in some pretty bad turbulence until the moment before wheels down – well that was really quite impressive.

Off the plane I could feel myself closer to Japan, and my friends. All I had to do was clear customs.

Tricks with lines being roped off were made, and I ended up in the second row, three rows ahead of where I perhaps should have been. I did nothing wrong – just exploited a roping fault, quickly changed after I secured my place. Now I was close. I mean, still 1 hour before getting out of this super heated hell hole, but close.

Time passes, I get stamped in, I explain that the card asking how much money I had on me may read 100USD, but that I intended to get more from bank machines and use credit cards. This was not getting across. For the second time, I just said “I have friends here” and I was let in without any further questions. If in a bind at this border, just say those words, then all is well and good.

And in the lobby? A good collection of people I'd not seen for some time! Together we made our way to a bus, perhaps paid more than we should have, and ended up in Ikebukuro – where I stayed last time I was here. We were here just long enough to get on the JR line and head one stop over to Otsuka. There there was a jumble of checking into our rooms, and figuring that system out.

Cherry blossoms lined the street outside the window. Many wonderful things were here. But we were all pretty tired. Just a quick stop for dinner, and then back to crash. Day one in the books – but there was so much more ahead.

Welcome back to Japan... Oh how I've missed this country.

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