12 Sep 2005

tokyo and shinagawa day one

The flight over was quite good, except for the lack of food (we missed dinner because of the time difference) and so by the time breakfast came around, we were starving!

But I was able to get in 4 movies on the 12 hour flight, thanks for the interactive video system on the Virgin Atlatnic Airbus 340. The plane was very well styled, lots of chrome where most other airlines would just opt for dual tone plastic. The interactive entertainment system was really top notch, especially for the ability to fast forward and rewind movies.

We arrived in Narita Tokyo Airport half an hour ahead of schedule. The immigration was a breeze and that's the point where we see the first QR Code! It's right in our passport, after our passport is scanned, our friendly immigration officer prints out a QR code and sticks it in our passport.

Rich comments that Tokyo isn't ruled by robots yet, they're not that advanced. I guess he was expecting robots manning the immigration desk rather than humans.

We take the Narita Express out of Narita straight to Shinagawa which is where our hotels are. It's great because we don't have to change trains anywhere, and the station is right on the famous JR Yamate Line that loops around Tokyo stopping at most of the major shopping stations. The whole trip took us around 85 minutes, and lucky for me, my hotel was just right opposite the station. Rich's hotel was around a 5 minute walk up a hill :)

Spent some time eating and exploring Shinagawa. It turns out that this place is pretty dead, its small and there's not that much to eat. Can't even seem to find a Kaiten Sushi (Sushi Train) shop. Also spent some time walking around the shops and enjoying the air conditioning here. It's not too hot, only 24C here, but it is very humid. Finally, we caught up on some sleep before dinner, and at least I'm not feeling any jet lag effects.

Haven't taken many photos yet because there's nothing really exciting to take of. The hotel room (like all rooms in Japan) have a heated toilet. The first time you sit on the dunny, it's actually a shock because your body is conditioned to take the coldness of the toilet. so for a split second its like you've just been burnt. Unfortunately, I don't have an MP3 playing toilet here.

Japanese TV is kinda boring on a saturday night, probably even more boring tomorrow night because its election day tomorrow. Not so exciting because Koizumi is predicted to win by a wide margin. But nevertheless, there'll be wall to wall coverage, I expect.

Finally, no internet access in my room or the reception. Anil and Rich have wireless in their room because they're corporate high fliers. I'm in another hotel so, I'm unable to even get any sort of access without paying. I can use a Sony Vaio 14" laptop in the Yahoo! Cafe for free, but I can't upload stuff from my laptop, which is what I really need!

Tomorrow is workshop day, so there's not much to do. Might spend some time working on the presentation and then go check out Shibuya or Shinjuku for some nice food and shopping.

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