Wednesday 30 July 2014

Operation Kairu ga Kaeru (カイルが帰る) Day 1 - Arrival

I must be getting used to long haul flying because the 9 and a half hour flight passed faster than I expected.  The flight was pleasant enough although I never was able to find AC power.  Both seatguru and Finnair’s own website stated that there were AC power outlets in economy class.  Perhaps I should have just asked the flight attendants, oh well.
There was a young woman in the seat next to me who was returning home to Japan after some studying in Finland.  It’s quite rare for me to actually talk to other passengers (I’m used to sitting quietly when flying) but being dressed in suit led her to ask whether I was travelling for business.  This proved to be a useful conversation starter and for some of the journey we chatted about where we were travelling to/from and various places in Japan.
Upon my arrival, immigration and customs didn’t take as long as before.  This probably had something to do with making sure I’d completely filled out the immigration and customs cards before joining the queue as well as the queue generally moving quite quickly.
Preparing as much in advance as possible, I’d already arranged an airport rental phone online and simply needed to take a printed rental coupon to the counter at Narita Airport.
Before heading to Misato to meet with Kyle, first I needed to charge my Suica card with credit.  This is easy enough to do at any JR (Japan Rail) ticket machine.  Finding the JR ticket machine proved to be rather troublesome, there are a number of ticket machines for private lines and none of these will recharge s Suica.  Exercising my incredible ability to ignore what is right in front of me, the machine was next to the entrance to the NEX (Narita Express) platforms.
Having already made the journey a few times before, I didn’t have much catching the Keisei Narita Sky Access Line to Higashi Matsudo, then switching to the Musashino line to Narita (I think I have this committed to memory – so Kyle had better not move to another part of the country!).  After arriving at Misato, my navigational skills proved to be a little more reliable than I was expecting by managing to navigate my way from Misato station to Kyles apartment building.  I think he was a little surprised when I called from outside his front door, I don’t think he was expecting me to make it quite that far without help.
After not seeing Kyle for almost an entire year… we weren’t able to pick up the exact same conversation we had last time we spoke (which is what we usually manage to do) but it was pretty damn close.
The next order of business was unpacking and getting a little rest.
Arrival day tends to be a quiet day, usually because I’m jetlagged in to oblivion with my communication skills being reduced to monosyllabic grunts.  This time round was different. Although still a little tired (2 hours of rest did help a little), I felt compos mentis enough to do something other than sleep so Kyle invited his friend Yamashita san over (at this point I was a little concerned that I might not be brilliant conversation).  The plan was to carry out a little socialising followed by food and karaoke. Those of you who have never heard me singing karaoke, consider yourselves  very lucky.
Later that evening Yamashita san came round for a few drinks and a chat and we headed to get some food.  As we were in Japan, the choice of food was obvious.  Chinese! There’s a nice little Chinese restaurant in Misato.  After a nice selection of dishes and enough beers to make me not care about sounding like an orchestra of dying cats to tune of the Beatles, it was karaoke time. Courtesy of Kyles WiiU, we had a cheap and convenient alternative to conventional karaoke.  The Joysound application on the WiiU is basically the same software as found in Karaoke bars so when combined with a microphone you have a full karaoke setup.

All in all, an enjoyable and entertaining first day.

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