Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2008/03/03 Narita Express, Tokyo Station, Tamachi, Shibaura

As a first — with meetings at universities in Tokyo and Helsinki less than a week apart — the best way for me to travel was to book a round-the-world ticket, with a stopover in Beijing to see Eric. The first leg of trip brought me to Narita. When Diana and I came to Japan last summer, we landed in Osaka and returned to Narita on the bus, so this is my first time on the Narita Express train.

DI_20080303_NaritaExpress.jpg

The plane arrived just at dusk, so there wasn’t much to see outside the train windows in the dark. I had reservations at the same hotel as in the summer, so I knew that I would have to change trains at Tokyo Station.

DI_20080303_TokyoStation.jpg

From there, it was only a short hop over to Tamachi Station. The station gates are up over the tracks. Walking south, there’s a small cluster of restaurants down the escalators.

DI_20080303_TamachiStation_south.jpg

Diana and I tried some of these restaurants last time. The map of the surrounding area provided by the hotel listed an additional cluster of restaurants and shops a little further south in Shibaura, so I went there looking for a noodle shop.

DI_20080304_Shibaura_NoodleShop.jpg

As I had encountered previously, selecting a purchase is done by dropping coins into a vending machine. Since I don’t read Japanese, knowing which button to press is a challenge.

DI_20080304_Shibaura_noodle_vending.jpg

Fortunately, this noodle shop had a full display of samples. I’m at least sufficiently familiar with Chinese characters that I can match up the sign in the display with the words on the vending machine.

DI_20080304_Shibaura_Noodle_Display.jpg

I’m not uncomfortable with the basics of getting around in Tokyo: navigating the trains, finding the hotel, and getting local food. This may be as much as I can expect as a business traveler, and certainly the minimum requirement. I’m glad that the Japanese are very helpful to a person who looks lost.

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