The story starts with going to the airport at about 9pm. After packing my luggage and pondering about what else I had missed out, I set out for Changi Airport at about 7.45pm, arriving there at about 8pm. At this moment, I felt reluctant to leave home, and wanted to cancel the trip altogether. You know, that feeling when you kinda don’t want to go somewhere else and just wanna stay at home and rot and curl up into a ball and be lonely.
I have this tendency to resist change, and I feel it isn’t necessary to feel that way most of the time. After all, had I not overcome that initial feeling of reluctance, I would never have had such a wonderful experience in Japan.
Anyway, as soon as I reached the airport and saw the faces of my two friends, Yinqing and Yu Hng, all feelings of loneliness and reluctance faded away. They were their happy, jovial selves and it really made me feel much happier knowing I would embark on the trip with these two wonderful souls.
So after the meeting pleasantries, we settled on Swensens for our dinner. Which kinda made for the first inside joke of the trip, which was the Teriyaki Chicken Pasta which Yinqing chose to order on Yu Hng’s reccomendation. I recall having hamburger instead of what they ordered, and Yinqing was salty at the quantity of food he got. So from that point on we compared everything bad to Teriyaki Chicken Pasta.
Oh well, it’s not much but it was really such a warm gathering.
Isaac came, and we entered the departure hall after walking around and talking to him for about and hour or so.
I remember from that point onwards there wasn’t much to talk about so we sat outside our gate’s waiting room (because we were something like, 1 hour early) and used our phones. Not the most glamourous way of burning some time before a flight, but I think it was pretty late, so we were all tired. We boarded the plane at about 12 plus (AM) and we were greeted by the most polite and pretty stewardesses I have seen so far. I think I’m biased to Japanese women so don’t take my word for it. But the service on ANA was excellent. I felt really comfortable throughout the flight (and the flight back to SG).
I can’t quite remember what the breakfast was for the flight, but I know it tasted good. Especially the Soba they served with some packet sauce thing that was really salty but still tasted pretty good when paired with the noodles.
Anyway, fast forward and we touched down, and there were a few things we had to get settled. Firstly was the checking out process, and then secondly was getting our shit together for our rail passes and our transport to Shinjuku area. It was during this moment that my first Japanese conversation in real life unfolded. I was a bit flustered as I spoke my first few words with them, but after a while I was okay with it. So anyway, we finally were able to get our rail passes, and then we set off on the bus to Shinjuku shortly after. It was really easy and was a pretty smooth transition.
I’m not gonna lie, at this point in time, we were tired as hell. After settling all the rail passes and checking in to our first AirBnB room in Shinjuku Gyoenmae (which was massively underwhelming, with a really small toilet), we were really sleepy and tired. Eager to stick to our schedule, we pressed on. It wasn’t a very good first experience because of the lack of sleep we had from the flight, as well as trying to find our room and stuff. I remember reaching the bridge that led to the shrine, and being extremely fatigued. I couldn’t appreciate the place well enough in that state.
We were greeted with a long route down to the shrine. While tired, I remember feeling the serenity of the place, despite my failing eyelids and all. There were bridges and display of Sake barrels all lined up nicely, and of course a brief description of what (the Sake barrels) they represented.
Honestly throughout the trip, I felt as if we rushed a lot of things, and we didn’t really take time to appreciate the history and descriptions of each location. I think it’s important, next time, to plan a more lax schedule to accommodate for this, and spend more time appreciating the historical significance of places and their culture.
So we went all the way to the shrine, and I took some pictures. Part of it was under renovation, but I went ahead and bought a two charms there, one for myself (I know that sounds so superstitious and kinda selfish) and Spud, my dog. There wasn’t much description as to what the charm was supposed to do, but I figured that it was a generic one to ward off the evils or something. I’m not entirely sure, but I’ll make a mental note to find out. And read up more on the medieval history of Japan.
TIME FOR SOME PHOTOS!
First, the stunning view from the flight. I remember being captivated just by this view. Sadly, my phone camera doesn’t do these kinda photos justice, so oh well.
ANNDDD TOUCHDOWN! Love the feeling of landing and taking off. Every time man. Such an exhilarating experience.
The Sake barrels at the Meiji Shrine.
The entrance to the shrine and the walkway. the leaves were neatly piled up, and I was surprised that I couldn’t find anyone around to clean them up. Maybe they just gather them and then clear them all up when the shrine closes?
anddd the shrine!
I believe this was the right side of the shrine (upon entering). You can see that there were renovations going on, and the shrine was still open, but I’m not sure if you could enter that wing. I saw some people enter though.
On the way in I saw this. I was on a bridge, and it was the first time I saw something quite like that. It has that peaceful Asian vibe that I really like. Ah I wish I lived near these kind of sites. So good for finding peace.
I have loads more photos but I feel these illustrate the day pretty well! And I’m kinda lazy xD. So… Deal with it. =P
So yeah, these are some photos of the trip. I’ll come up with another post on day 2 later this afternoon, after I’ve settled all the shit I need to do before lessons tomorrow and my band practice. CYA SOON!