29 January 2009

japan, day ten

last day.  i won't lie, it was also the most boring.  i can't describe how exhausted i was at this point of the trip.  we only slept, maybe four hours, after our night out.  i honestly, really thought i might collapse on the walk to breakfast.

yet, i abide.

cute spelling.

we went back to shinjuku for one last look around before hopping on the plane to return to hong kong, shop for a souvenirs, for the girlfriends especially.

and to also take a few more pictures in the bright, morning sun.

tokyo.  wild style.

after walking around for a while, it was time to head back to the hostel and collect our things.  the front desk gave us directions to the nearest train to the airport.  

that's where things went wrong.  no trip is ever without drama, i suppose.

remember the picture of the tokyo subway system?  not only does it look like spaghetti, but there are two separate systems in the city, the tokyo subway and the JR lines.  we hopped on the JR, following the map and the instructions we were given.  there were no english signs in the station.  we should have known better.

four stops later and it became clear that we were on the wrong train.  we hopped off, struggled to ask someone about where to go, and then, ultimately, got back on the same train.  which, after 40 minutes, dropped us off in the middle of nowhere.  we were now less than two hours away from our flight's departure.

a kind, old lady (have i mentioned how great japan is?) waved us over and, though some creative gesturing, explained that we had to wait 45 minutes for the next train to the airport.  which would itself take another 45 to reach the airport.  it was going to be close.  we drank a hot, canned-corn drink.

we got to the airport with maybe 15 minutes to spare, mostly discouraged, but determined not to give up until it was really, completely too late.  we ran to the terminal and were treated like triage patients at the northwest terminal.  though initially they said we were too late, they were able to rush us through and get us on the plane, not three minutes before it left the gate.

one plane and one taxi later, we were back in hong kong.  for three days.

in conclusion, my visit to japan did nothing less than restore my faith in the human race.

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