I was surprised at how long it took for my bags to finally show up at baggage carousel no. 4 considering how efficient I’d always thought Japan to be. Maybe it just seemed to be taking longer due to how tired I was, but after 20ish hours of travel, can you blame me?
Instead of attempting to figure out where I was and where to go by myself, I went straight to the information desk to ask for directions to the monorail, the ATM, and wherever I could get a SIM card.
Out of habit, I had to stop by their tourist information center ~IYKYK~ to critique/admire how flyers and pamphlets were laid out, what type of information was available, any additional services worth nothing (I spy a vending machine), etc. From there it was a short walk to the portable Wi-Fi place (the sim card place was closed, apparently), which, despite being unmanned, was surprisingly easy to navigate.
There was a very neat folder with comprehensive instructions in English on how to purchase, how to scan your barcode – which then opened up a locker containing the hotspot, a case, a charger, and a lot of flyers and coupons, how to connect to the hotspot, and how and where to return it. The best part? I could return it to a number of locations, including Narita International Airport – the airport I’d be flying to Mexico from.
I returned the way I had come, and was about to head out towards the Monorail, when a sign caught my eye: Observation Deck. Not one to ever pass up the opportunity for a nice view, and with no real deadline to check in to the hotel, I headed up to the 4th floor.
Sorayan, the airport’s super cute mascot, had her own Christmas-themed photo spot.
At the top of the ramp, the deck opened up above the runway. For being so close to the landing planes, it’s surprisingly calm up here. But the view is mesmerizing. And yes, that’s my suitcase.
I stayed up there for a good hour, just watching the planes. Trying to guess where they were heading, where they were coming from.
Back inside the airport, it took me a while to get to the access bridge. Thankfully all the station maps were both in English and Japanese, alleviating my confusion.
And confused I must have looked, because right as I was exiting the monorail to switch to the metro, the sweetest woman with a strong British accent beckons to me:
“I was just as confused the first time I came here. Follow me”.
Was I a bit naive? Yeah, probably. But I followed her across the promenade until we reached the next set of ticket machines and platforms. We parted ways only to run into each other again in the elevator, where we wished each other luck and laughed see you soon.
I was the lone rider of a subway car, spotless in the traditional sense but plastered with ads.
I made my way through the underground maze of shops;
And out into the merry street. A great first view of the city.
I watched people cross through the arcade, unconcerned with the late hour.
Lighting up the dark alley across from the hotel, the bright vending machines were my only source of food, sparking my curiosity with their red and green lights.
Milk tea in hand, I finally headed into the hotel.