A few thoughts:
- On United, your airline meal choices tend to be "thing with chicken" or "thing with beef". On All Nippon Airways, your meal choices are "thing with chicken and fish" or "thing with beef and fish". Lunch was "thing with fish and fish". But luckily, they had some spare veggie meals, so I did not die. The very nice flight attendants brought me the number to call ANA to special request some kind of non-fish meal for the next 3 flights. Good plan.
- Immigration at NRT... They actually gave me a quality control survey with the time on it. They were measuring how long it would take a typical passenger to move through the line and gathering statistics.
- The airport bathrooms in Narita raise bathrooms to a whole other level. I couldn't tell if I'd stumbled on the one super high tech toilet or whether they're all like this. There was Unfamiliar Plumbing (I know, I should have snapped a photo for identification, but I'm embarassed by photographing things-that-might-be-either-toilets-or-bidets. Or maybe thing-to-bathe-child-in.) They had the speed wash Toto toilet, and what seemed to be a table for.... stretching? massage?
- On the train from the airport, the conductor wears a real conductor hat. This makes me so so happy.
- By the time I got my cell phone and my ticket and got on the train, I ended up hitting Shibuya at rush hour. At rush hour! With luggage! It's not that bad. I hate crowds, but for some reason, the transit-using crowd patterns are familiar and don't stress me out the way random shopping crowds do. Anyhow: rush hour on transit? No worse than any other rush hour on transit. (Okay, I didn't try this on the subway at a downtown Tokyo station. I might have to.)
- The express train moves so fast through the stations where it doesn't stop. The people on the platform seem to fwoosh by at strange angles, like a scene in a movie where they're accelerating the frames to make it look cool and futuristic. Of course, this might also be the jet lag talking.
- I was worried about dozing off through my stop. I asked the guy next to me if he spoke any English. No, sorry. Only Nintendo English, he says, which has no words for train. Chinese? Yes! He speaks Chinese! I am in Japan and jetlagged and talking about train stations in Chinese. It never occurred to me that Chinese would be useful in Japan! I can communicate! He tells me he can't help: his stop is before mine. Except later (in a non-dozing moment), I realize that we are approaching Shibuya station. I get up. "bu dui, bu dui" says my new friend.... and then he reads the sign and sees that I'm actually right. I speak transit.
- Sausage buns in pastry appear to be universal. The ones you get on the train after 11 hours of airplane are particularly exquisite. The label says "European Healthy", so it surely must be good for me.
- My hotel offers shiatsu massage through 2am. It is far more reasonably priced than the in-room dining. I'm tempted, but I think staying awake through 9:30pm to get dinner into me will be enough of a challenge.