Cloudy with a chance of Nihon

My first international plane ride was alright considering I had the middle seat in the middle section of the plane. But it was spacious, I had plenty of leg room, the seats were comfortable, I was given a blanket and a neck pillow, and the TV in the seat was stocked will all the Oscar nominee movies. I was given two meals and two snacks and all the drinks that I wanted.

Beer and a brownie

And some fancy toilets were stocked on the plane. Bidets for days.

My flight though was delayed on the runway for about 2 hours. We were 18th in queue for take off. And then it was 14 hours in the air for a total of 16 hours of sitting on a plane. And once we touched down in Narita international airport, there was a bit of turbulence because of the cloud cover and the rain. Over all, a successful flight and little to no sleep on the plane.

7AM at JFK, waiting to check in

It didn’t really feel all the different setting foot off the plane, but once I starting to see the sign that said “Welcome to Japan” and pretty much ever sign was in Japanese, then it hit me. My dad and brother actually too the trip with me, and they stayed in Shinjuku for the whole week. Luckily enough, my friend Kazuki, who had studied abroad at New Paltz a year ago, works at Narita Airport. When he finished his shift at work he met us at the Starbucks in Narita, we all caught up and chatted and tried to figure out what was the best (and cheapest) way to get to their hotel. And we figured that the JR (Japan Railway) line would be the cheapest albeit a little longer along the lines of travel duration.

We needed to get to Okubo station, which is one stop after Shinjuku on the Soubu local line. It took about 2 hours and one transfer. Thankfully the trains not only announced the stops in Japanese but also in English, and the signs were posted in English as well so we didn’t get lost trying to find our station.

And a fun side-note: The stations play music, like an ice-cream truck on a merry-go-round kinda music, right before the doors close. And also, the seats on the train were heated. I’d take the JR line over the LIRR any day!

Shinjuku at night, from the 17th floor of the Hundred Stay hotel

So having been awake for over 24 hours, navigated the Japanese transportation system, and had a nice man on the street who spoke English very well helped us find our hotel midst the nighttime city life, my first day in Japan ended with me flopping onto the hotel bed, too tired and too late to check into my dorm. Which was around 8PM Japan time, which would have been 7AM EST. It was exhausting. I could have checked into my dorm that night since I contacted the International office letting them know about the delay and all, but it was dark, I was tired, and I didn’t want to lug around my bags trying to find a building somewhere I didn’t know.

The next day thought, I met up with my friend Rachel, who is also here from New Paltz, and we moved into the Tokyo Girls dorm together. I will be talking about my dorm and some of the beautiful sights my family, friends and I went to the week before orientation started.

Courtney is an English and Asian Studies double major with the dream of teaching abroad & becoming an author. She cannot wait to put her experiences in Japan down on the page.

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