In our tiny room in Tokyo


Dirck tries out his onsen robr

Dirck tries out his onsen robe

We haven’t been in this small a room since Bordeaux in 2006 but it’s what we expected from our “inexpensive” hotel (which cost about 22,000 yen or  $220). Unexpected was a really nice onsen, or public bath, for women only that I found very relaxing after a very long day and flight.  I knew the flight was long when I realized after the first six hours that I’d be in London, by then. Instead we had five more hours to go. This on top of two hours waiting nervously in the Des Moines airport, which was dealing with pop-up summer storms, and two hours in Minneapolis, after the one-hour flight from Des Moines.

So far so good with my bum back post-flight. I made sure to get up every few hours to do odd stretches in a relatively clear space near the bathroom (in front of rows of passengers). I wasn’t alone. There were a few other Japanese people doing stretches, foot-stomping and what look d like Tai Chi. Delta was impressive, especially after our dismal Air Canada flight to Lisbon last year. Great entertainment system, lots of movies, music (Deer Hunter, Fritz and the Tantrums) and cool flight tracker map that showed us just north of Kodiak, Alaska during one check.

We took the Narita Express train into Tokyo Station, as our Japanese friend Tom suggested, and although it was much more expensive (62,000 yen/$62 for two) than other options like the bus,  it was very efficient and we were eager to get to our hotel. We were hugely impressed by the fastidiousness of the train. When it pulled up at the airport and passengers got off, we had to wait while men carefully cleaned the floors and dusted. Imagine that happening on the Long Island Railroad at Penn Station.

Tokyo Station was as bustling as expected but we managed to find the tour office where we picked up our discounted tickets for the bullet train to Tokyo tomorrow and after a little bit of wandering we chanced upon the hotel we had reserved, Super Lohas Tokyo, which is very pleasant. We ate delicious tonkatsu (pork cutlets from black pigs) at a branch of Maisen, the famous tonkatsu place that is conveniently located in a department store next to Tokyo station. Exhausted and must get to bed.

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