Travelling for 20 hours from Trondheim to Tokyo, added with load of works I had done 6 hours before I woke up, continued with packing of what to bring for my long stay in Tokyo, really pushed my endurance to the limit. I had lack of sleep, less food resulting increase of temperature within my body. I did hope to not fall sick during this period and after I arrived at Tokyo.
This time I had to pass three different immigration processes. One was at Copenhagen airport since I was about to leave Europe to Asia, second was at Shanghai Pudong airport where the purpose was to take out my checked-in baggage (it was considered as leaving the airport) and then re-check it in again and the last one was in Narita airport, my last stop of flight. The immigration process (or queuing) was quite slow in Copenhagen, but when it was compared with Shanghai Pudong, the process in Copenhagen was relatively fast. Surprisingly, I did not expect too much in Narita. There were lot of foreigners on the plane flying us from Shanghai to Narita. I thought it would had gone in the same pace as it was in Shanghai Pudong airport.But the fact did not tell like that. I believed that the immigration process in Narita was the fastest I have ever encountered.
The only difference that I felt was how active the immigration staffs were. Ok, I was relieved. Out of immigration, I took my checked-in baggage, another worries came over my head: choosing train from the Narita airport all the way to the place where I am planning to stay. Ok ok, I got the information about the train I had to take from http://www.hyperdia.com/en and http://www.transit.yahoo.co.jp, but still, it was piece of papers. It was an enormous feeling when I saw ticket machines standing here and there which languages I knew very little. After taking out money from ATM, since the exchange rate is much better than money changer, I went to the counter to buy train ticket. I was planning to get passmo with my name registered on it, but I cancelled it because I did not have my Japanese mobile number. I had a bit of struggle to understand the staff whom I asked from but fortunately, I finally got my ticket 🙂
Anyhow, my Norwegian phone number was useless in here and fortunately enough get Wifi coverage to send my confirmation arrival and the approximate time of my train to reach there to the staff of that shared house. The problem was, I was already inside the train station located in the basement of Narita airport, which the signal was very low.
Now, catching the train. I was completely no idea how to read the direction for transiting between stations. In every station, I always asked somebody to make sure that I took the correct train. I told myself not to fall asleep at the moment where I was waiting for the upcoming station. Finally, I arrived at the last transit station, however I had to go out from that station because of different train company operating that line. Going out itself was a problem. I did not know that I had to insert my ticket to the check-out machine, but instead putting it in the fare adjustment machine lol.
Finally, out of the station. After 15 min or so looking for the designated station, by the helped of one guy (he was distributing free tissue with an advertisement in it, which I thought night club), finally I found the direction. To reach there, I had to take my luggage, lifted it up to the fourth floors..
I need a new ticket for this one. I did not know where the “English” option in that particular ticket machine. Bit panic since I was late already from the planned time, I looked toward to 3 old ladies (about their 50’s) and asked their help with stupid hand gesture. I did not know what kind of face I showed to them, explaining in broken Japanese and simple English did not guarantee them to catch my message, but they tried their best to understand and help me. I asked whether I was in the correct train station and which ticket should I buy. To my surprise, they gave me 100 Yen to buy 200 Yen ticket (another 100 Yen was from me). I actually had 500 Yen that time, but they were not pretty sure whether it gave the change. One of them said it was a “puresento=present”. We had short chat, like where I come from, what I will be doing in Tokyo and where the university is. The funny thing was, I replied some time in Norwegian, like “nei” or “takk” lol. Once again, they explained to me the number of stations that I would be passing before reaching my destination. Just to make things more clear (in term of language), they told me as well their station where they had to stop together with the number of stations they would be passing. “Wakaru? wakaru” “Do you understand? do you understand?”
In the end, they said, “ganbattene”, meaning “please keep your spirit”.
I was really thanksful for that moment. Then I said thank you to them, and continued to check-in counter. The train finally was able to bring me to the place I am living in here, now. The first day I arrived in Japan was really interesting. I wonder what will encounter me tomorrow?