Even though I was sleep deprived and jet-lagged I was still really excited and awake when I landed in Tokyo because Japan was one of the places I was most looking forward to visiting. I said goodbye to Chris and Esther at Sydney and Christchurch airport ready to do the next few legs on my own for the first time.
After I had gone through Customs at Narita airport, I collected my Japan Railways Pass that I had bought in England. This pass allows me on any JR (the largest private train company in Japan) trains except 2 express Shinkansen (Bullet Trains). The trip from Narita into the centre of Tokyo was 80 minutes and the whole way there the entire area as far as the eye could see was built up, exceeding even my expectations of just how populated the 35 million people strong Tokyo Metropolitan area is.
The area I was staying in while I was in Tokyo was Kawaguchi in the Saitomo prefecture, which could`ve been a city in itself especially by New Zealand standards. Another first for my travelling in Japan was that I was staying with a family at their home, the incredibly welcoming Shimomura`s. Straight away it was a huge difference to staying in hostels for the last few months as I had a room to myself and I could unpack my bag without the thought of having to re-pack it in the next few days. The flat was all that I was expecting from a Japanese home, mainly a lot of technology, including an autonomous floor cleaner, toilet with a heated seat and a rice cooker. Even the bathroom and kitchen sink managed to confuse me with a seperate drinking water and cleaning water option on the sink and a shower that you use directly over the bathroom floor itself. Once I got the hang of it I really liked the flat expecially how it made use of all the space availible and that everyone leaves their shoes at the door for special indoor sandals, with different ones used in the bathroom.
I spent my first day wondering around Kawaguchi and trying to get my bearings. One of the first stops I made was at a giant superstore with 4 levels each roughly the floor size of a large supermarket in itself, I went in looking for an adapter and ended up buying food, clothes, an ice cream and going on an arcade game in the store. Mari, my hostess also drove me to a park to see some late cherry blossoms. I arrived just after the main type of cherry blossom had bloomed but there were still several trees blooming that had the iconic Japan feel to them.
At night time the sky never really went black and absolutely no stars were visible, another huge change from New Zealand's plentiful supply every night.