Woke up at 5am, packed those last minute items, and headed out to New Plymouth Airport. Weather was a bit dodgy but the 7am flight to Auckland went ahead. Once in Auckland grabbed a subway and something to drink as the flight was 35 minutes delayed to Narita, Tokyo. Once on board I was next to a friendly lady who asked if I was superstitious. We were in row 13. Being a staunch New Zealander I told her, not at all. Superstition is a joke.
It wasn't until landing (11hrs 20mins later) that I realised row 13 had given me the worst luck possible. Plan A = land in tokyo, grab the 6pm bus to gotemba, meet host family, drive to mishima.
Plan B = psssh who needs a plan B?
Due to the flight delay I had missed the last bus to gotemba that night. Luckily in the distance I spotted my Japanese Lecturer! Running after her like an escaped prisoner (and skipping a passport check, oops, lol) I managed to catch up and ask her for some much required help!
While trying to ring my host mother to let her know the change of plan, all i received was an engaged tone. Not once, but around 4 times. Assuming my phone didn't work in japan I decided to cash into a public phone. What? still the same response. Now i started to panic. If they weren't in gotemba waiting it would be a very long walk to mishima. Just my luck, we were calling each other at the same time. Without knowing, I gave up and finally her call came through :)
New Plan : catch the express with my lecturer, for 1hr 45min and then take the next bus 9:30 to gotemba
sounds easy? I don't think so.
On the express my lecturer said h..y cr.p you only have 15 minutes to find the west exit and bus 35's stopping gate. Cocky like I am, I told her that's easy. Used to run cross country all the time. Well the 3-4km run (this train station was unbelievably huge that even locals couldn't give me directions) was very difficult with jet lag, skate shoes, bags, and jeans.
OMG the sweat. It was so warm that standing still with my lecturer waiting to board the express forced us to sweat all over. She was a life saver and had some baby wipes to help keep us cool.
Anyways, bus stop 35 (after a lot of J-walking) YES i missed the bus. Oh wait, ticket counter closed. good game japan, good game.
Again asking the locals for help and explaining that the next bus (10:30) was the last one and i need to get on it dead or alive.
This awesome lady went nuts and bashed on the door of the kiosk until a lady (packing up to go home) come to see what's happening. She refused to sell a ticket to me, and later said I could not pay the driver either. After much debate, she called the driver and said cash will be fine.
What a day. Couple of hours later I arrive in gotemba, at 12:06am Japan time. That's 5am-4am NZ time.
Day 2: (since it's past midnight)
Yay bed time!! everything will be fine!
I could barely sleep, my body was still vibrating like i was on an aeroplane, train or bus.
When I did eventually get to sleep, it was short lived. Today we were going to the Canon facilities for some recreation. Swimming, badmintion, gym etc. I was still jetlagged like crazy :s can't remember the rest of the day lol
* just remembered, Panda chan sweets!! so delicious! in the album link below
Hello Kitty Land!!
After explaining I would either be shot, or have no friends for going to Hello Kitty Land, well.... it was amazingly awesome! Definitely one of the highlights. It's crazy how one character can be so popular to have a place dedicated to them. We definitely don't have a huge fantasy land dedicated to the Nek Minnit Guy.
Lunch was strange. A Mc Donalds with exceptional service, and a 2013 pokemon calendar. Could it get any better? Yes, it could. A very scary, smelly....
Creamed cheese, crab and shrimp burger. WHAT THE ....
Yes it exists:
Everyone's favorite was the boat ride at kitty land.
Instead of describing it, i managed to video the entire thing. Maybe a little scary, but yea.
Other various photos are in this small album including some home made floor tile towers with the twins, a missing tooth, and some photos in kitty land.
The missing tooth was my doing. After sprinkling tiles over her one got lodged perfectly in her mouth, smashing out the wobbly tooth. I have never seen her so pleased, so i didn't get in trouble :D
the christmas mood was a bit early, but very different to the New Plymouth parade down the middle of town im used to.
Many dancers and flips etc.
Day 4: Flat laptop.
Good game once again, my laptop charger has the earth pin, which doesn't work in Japan. 4 days later an adaptor came in the mail from amazon jp. Amazingly enough it was about $3 NZ on amazon. Much better than the $120 charger in stores. Quality? absolutely insulting LOL. But it does the job :)
I popped down to see the people at MIRA to let them know i'm in Mishima and they provided information about the sister city celebration. 20 years between New Plymouth and Mishima.
Im going to take a break from writing, and i'll continue from the sister city celebration.
Still to come: getting sick, taking medicine, bad side effects, a traditional japanese house with an 88 year old, visiting sun to moon, long car rides, karate in pants 10x my size, monorail, amazing soup, sweet beans, 40km long traffic jams.
see you soon! thanks for your time.
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Comment by LostBoyNZ, on 27-Nov-2012 08:14
Very interesting read! Looking forward to the next one :)
Are you there as a Uni exchange student? It looks like lots of fun with your host family :)
Comment by Steven, on 2-Dec-2012 06:14
Fancy running into your blog Leslie. Only noticed after I finished reading and saw your comment about being a uni student from Vic. I then scroll up to see who the author is and look who it is! Lol.
Also, what a coincidence running into Edwina. Very lucky of you haha.