So much for blogging more often. :} It was a very busy week, so I'm glad that I took time off! At first, I think Terinati and I were just worried about getting things done, but when Thursday rolled around, I was so excited to see my friends RainShine and Pandamo come in that almost all of my worries were melted away. We stayed up too late catching up, ran around like crazy, and the wedding was beautiful, silly, and happy. It was so much fun to see all of our family and friends together, and I feel extremely lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.
While I intend to send out formal thank yous, I still think that blogging my gratitude now is important. Terinati and I were blown away by the support and generosity of everyone. We are going to have a great start, taking out debt and moving forward. In addition, I want to thank everyone who helped pull the wedding together with us. There are too many people to list, but in particular I want to give Anna special kudos for going above and beyond the call of duty; she didn't have to do all that she did, and she did it all voluntarily and without once complaining, and it made such a difference in how smoothly everything went that I know that the wedding wouldn't have been the same without her. :) Of course, this is not to overshadow all of the other hard work that went into the wedding from so many people. You totally blew us away! Thank you so much!
Unfortunately, we haven't received any wedding photos yet. In fact, right now I am typing on my laptop on the plane to Tokyo, without access to the internet, so if anyone has e-mailed photos, I will have to post them on Flickr later and provide a link. (as an update, we forgot our cord to plug in the photos, so we're going to have to try to find one while we're here)
Also, I want to say how much I miss everyone already! Not only were we able to reunite with so many, but I got to know many people a lot better. :) I want to work hard to keep in touch when we get back, even though I know I will be very busy with my two classes. :/ With some determination, we can make it happen!
Day 1 - Tokyo, Japan
So, to the honeymoon! Our journey actually started immediately after the wedding. As I planned, we stayed up until ungodly hours (I was up 24 hours on accident :} ) to get onto Japan time. I was worried that the anti-jet lag plan wasn't going to work, especially when around 3:30am on Monday morning Terinati and I started feeling queasy from lack of sleep! But, we took a nap, and now I am on Japan time, and I'm not even there yet! I'm happy, because we want to make the most of this trip.
The first plane we rode on was a Jazz Air Canada plane, and it was super cute! A lot of the people riding it were complaining about how small it was, but Terinati and I found it to be unique and cute. But then again, I'm always excited about new and different experiences. Everyone was friendly, and we managed to get through the next airport without too much trouble.
The plane we are currently on is very big, but super comfortable! I can honestly say I've never had such great service, food, and space on an airplane. It's not as comfortable as having a bed, but Terinati and I managed to get our sleep and relax. So, hooray! I am looking forward to the next meal, though. Part of me feels guilty because I haven't had a chance to work out, but I'm sure we'll make up for it with all our touring around once we're on the ground . . . which is only 7 hours away now!
Anyway, there's nothing else to say for now. I wish I was near enough to a window that I could look out, but then again . . . every time I've tried, I've been entirely blinded. :} That wing is awfully SHINY! Okay, more to come later! 8:35am Japan Time!
--6:15am Japan Time, Wednesday, June 17th
12 hours is a long time to wait eagerly to see a sign of Japan, but the flight was great and as we came in, we saw Narita and some of the surrounding area through a haze of cloud. I was very anxious as we stepped into the airport. I kept feeling relieved that we'd made it that far okay, but also heavily aware that we are on our own in a foreign country, and I've never had an experience like this. I also had thoughts such as wondering if Japan would be how we'd imagined, how we heard.
And then, we noticed our first major difference between America and Japan. The escalator in the airport was so silent! I didn't say anything at first, and then Terinati couldn't help but mention something to me. All of the escalators, elevators, car engines . . . every machine we've encountered so far, even the train, was absolutely silent. And the people have been too! I feel as though my mind is free to think, clear of the noise-clutter we normally have everywhere where I live at home. It's very peaceful. It's also strange to be in such a big city and walk down the street and have thunder be the only major noise.
We took the train down to Ueno station; the gentleman from Inside Japan Tours was very polite and made sure we got on in a timely fashion. We saw beautiful rice fields, houses, interesting hotels and apartment buildings . . . parking lots full of bicycles and verticle parking lots . . . We also couldn't help seeing some places from home, like Denny's, T.G.I. Fridays (really didn't expect to see that one!), McDonald's, Starbucks, and a few other familiar figures with different names.
After reaching Ueno, we needed a taxi to the hotel. It was a little disorienting being on the other side of the street, especially when with several cars it was still impossibly quiet. Every time Terinati and I spoke, I felt like we were interrupting a prayer moment in church or something. :} The taxi driver was very polite, and the taxi was amazingly clean inside and out. In fact, the whole area is very clean.
When we got to the hotel (I'll tell you where later when we aren't here anymore, for our own safety), we were greeted with gifts from Inside Japan Tours (a sakura tea set! I'm looking forward to having tea this morning, since it is a fasting day for us), a complimentary gift from the hotel (I chose a "happiness" pack which included bath aroma and some kind of "spicy" . . . hair gel? It's very Engrishy, so once we have figured out the picture situation, I'll show you more!), and then we got to pick out MORE complimentary gifts. I was feeling very spoiled, but fortunately one option was light-colored socks, which I needed because I foolishly only packed my black socks. Oops.
We came up to the hotel room and it's just very cool! While much smaller than American hotel rooms, it is extraordinarily practical. When we came inside, there is a spot to insert the stick attached to the key into the wall, which turns on the electricity in the room. So, when someone leaves, nothing can be left on, which I bet saves the hotel lots of money!
Immediately inside are slippers (too small for Terinati's feet! heehee) so that you can take off your outdoor shoes and switch into them. My feet are nicely snuggled into them right now... SO COMFY! Everywhere, there are instructions in Japanese and English, which is very helpful. The bed takes up most of the space, next to a couch which I suspect also can act as a futon of sorts.
I am sitting right now at a desk in the room next to a TV and a very convenient little hole in the wall through which the internet cable comes through. Above me is an air conditioning unit that adjusts the temperatue to the exact setting you desire very quickly by remote control (in C, not F), and on the ceiling is a radio speaker! It took us a while to explore and figure out that the controls are at the head of the bed for the lights and radio, which is very convenient; no stumbling to bed in the dark for us! We also have a mini-refrigerator, which I think is cool because we can go to a nearby store, pick up drinks, and stash them here for later. :)
But, none of these are the coolest things in the apartment. The bathroom takes the cake! Inside they provide toothbrushes with toothpaste capsules to use and razors. This is a big deal to me because anywhere I have traveled in the U.S., I've never had that; we packed our own toothbrushes and such. The toilet is very cool, with a heated seat if you choose to turn it on, and washing implements. =^oo^= It got better! The bath tub was a jacuzzi! We haven't gotten the jacuzzi function to work, but it doesn't matter! Terinati was just excited to see a bath that fit him, and after such a long trip, we knew we were going to need to relax our muscles before bed. The bath and shower water is just like the air conditioning unit in that you can set the exact temperature that you want it to be! It's amazing, and much easier than our fickle shower at home where the temperature fluctuates all of the time. Not only that, but there are dispensers in the shower for shampoo, conditioner, and face/body wash. :) I didn't need to bring anything but clothes!
We took pictures, but will have to show you later. I really hope we find a device quickly, or we will run out of space on our camera. :( d'oh.
After getting settled in, we decided to go out and get dinner. Inside Japan Tours recommended a sushi place just up the street . . . but there were tons of sushi places, and we couldn't read their signs to tell which one it was. :} lol. So, we decided to be adventurous and go a little farther, and outside of Tsukiji Sushi Sen, a nice girl beckoned for us to come inside. Since she was the first, we decided it must be fate and went inside. :) It was a very welcoming place, with a warm atmosphere. Everyone there seemed to know each other, or at least talked to one another as if they did, and we sat down and were only a little out of place. :} With the little Japanese I know, we managed to order water and pointed out some sushi we wanted to try, along with some tempura. It was delicious! There was one piece of sushi that looked like brains (it was something that was cooked with a blow torch, probably some kind of squid), and I affectionately called it "zombie sushi." heehee. It was delicious; it could eat it all the time. The sushi was so impressively fresh, and we immediately realized why. There were tanks of fish right behind the counter, which the chef was working with. Amazing! It cost about $40.00 after a blueberry dessert, and we felt it was well worth it. If there weren't so many new things to try, I'd hope to go back there.
After that, we decided to explore in the rain and saw a few interesting things, such as a cute pottery store with maneki nekos (one of them was posed just like our Tatsu, stretched out and arms out to the side), and then we saw portable shrines, and the Kaminarimon Gate before the rain started to get too cold and heavy, so we headed back.
So, that was our first day in Japan! I feel less anxious about getting lost or in trouble today, but it's only the morning! However, I do miss Stardust a great deal. I woke up, and my vision is pretty bad. I looked over at the couch and saw something dark on it, and for a moment I thought it was her, but quickly remembered that she wasn't here and that it was just the laptop case. :(
Anyway, we need to get going, so I'd better shower and we will be on our way! Talk later!