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On The Plane...

My first time on an airplane... Going as far as Japan on my first trip is definitely taking a leap into a whole new environment for me. It still amazes me how I am suddenly going to the country I'm so crazy about, and as my first overseas trip I think I'll enjoy this experience a lot. This is not the only time that I will go to Japan, for I plan to visit many more times in the future.

This flight (I took Delta) isn't nearly as bad as I had thought it to be...The food is good enough to pay for. (I wouldn't know because most of the trip was paid for-not by me.) I can't sleep at all, though I've had about 3 hours of sleep since last night. If there was more room to move around I would talk with the other people in our group since we hadn't had enough time to get to know one another.

We are flying over Alaska or something, but having no access to a window makes it nearly unbelievable. I hope this experience and writing in my journal helps my writing and journalism skills!


Narita --> Tokyo

We had arrived in Narita Airport, the most clean and organized port of transportation I've ever seen yet. The staff is very organized and everyone we saw were Japanese. After 13 hours on the plane it finally dawned on me that we were in Japan. Yay! (Ureshii wa!) It's beautiful in person. From the train leaving Narita, we stare at passing tile roof houses among an abundance of green fields, most of which seem to be rice paddies. The people look on as we (gaijin) foreigners take pictures like crazy people. What I've seen at home of course can't compare to this: The sights of large green fields and postcard-worthy cities, real towns, suburbs, slums and people hit me as a first time visitor. I was taking some pics like the rest, but now I put down the camera and look at the scenery with my own eyes as not to miss when fumbling for my camera. Looking with one's own eyes has a great impact as compared to looking through the lens all of the time, I think. The accents or dialect of the young students near us is nearly incomprehensible. We foreigners stick out of course, and, surprisingly, the talk that about 90% of the younger population have a PHS cellphone seems to hold true here. People decline to sit near us. Why? Either it's because 1. We're gaijin? 2. We have evidently spent 13 hours on a plane without a bath? 3. We take up a considerable amount of space? My bags were very large being that I was unsure about how much to bring on a first trip...

The Ryokan

The Ryokan, or traditional style hotel suite, is located in a suburban place called Bunkyo. Two traditional buildings lie among the apartment-style houses called "mansions". From the narrow, steep streets the open front of the lobby is welcoming, and hosts were there to say "irasshaimase" and greet us in. None of the staff know English, so full conversation is a must. We were guided to our rooms; tatami lined floors, sliding panel doors, futons tucked away for use, a low table with a tea set, a TV set, and remote control air conditioning! In the street, and looking outside at the scenery, it hit me that I was in Tokyo.

We gratefully went to the large bathroom that was located in the basement. It is called ofuro, and is totally seperate from the toilets. It consists of a spa-like loungeroom complete with vending machines, seats, an a omiyage-ya (gift shop?) The two shower/tub rooms, girls in one, boys in the other, surround a large round tub filled with just hot water. After moments of embarrassment over going in groups, we found that the bath was very theraputic and comfortable after such a long day. I changed into yukata and

ごめんね! Under construction