I said I’d do it, and I’m doing it. Two years ago I took my first trip to Japan. If you’ve been within earshot of me between then and now then you know that Japan ruined everything for me. The experience there was so great that every other country I have been to has paled in comparison. I’ve never felt so safe, appreciated, respected, and awestruck than I have in Japan.
I’ve made it to my hotel after a 28 hour travel day. Wanna hear how that went? It went fine! Mostly. First, this didn’t feel like a normal international trip. A normal international trip prep includes but is not limited to; extra restless sleep, general crankiness at home, staring off into the distance after short circuiting about how much there is to do before I leave, not leaving the house for several days so that I can get some good quality worrying in there (I at least get to pet the cats), tears, etc. Oh yes, it’s a carnival at the Rischards household.
But this time felt different. Yes, I woke up a few times at 4 am thinking about all I had to do. Yes, my list of things to do kept getting longer – I’d replace an item that I crossed off the list with a new item every time. But the worry was gone. I knew I had a transformative trip ahead of me, Japan is my favorite place in the world*, and while there are some unknowns the fear of the unknown is gone. I finished 95% of the things on my list to do and get to shove the rest of the things to do onto Ryder, who I’m pretty sure will simply dump the list into the trash (recycling if we’re lucky). I even had time to play pokemon for about 30 minutes on the day before I left. This is on the day that is usually reserved for alternating between mania and catatonia!
One of the bigger changes this time around was the absence of fluids. Ryder had to leave a day ahead of me on a business trip so there was no tearful goodbye at the airport. I didn’t cry when he drove off in his truck the day before either. I secured a ride to the airport with my friend Lorena’s husband Dan since Ryder left early. I totally should have cried when Dan dropped me off just to give him a little of the true experience of pre-trip Sue Anne. I owe him big time for the drive to DFW in morning traffic. Got checked in, flight was on time, and I spent 15 hours on the plane trying to sleep during Japan’s evening hours. That wasn’t terribly successful but I got in a few cat naps. Realized too late that I could have watched all of the latest GoT if I had started earlier on the flight. Got the first 3 episodes in.
The Korean airport in Seoul was nice. It was a 5 hour layover. I think the thing I will remember most about it is all of the toothbrush zombies in the bathroom. It was the weirdest thing. I walked in and couldn’t see any stalls at first but the area by the sinks was about three people deep in toothbrushers. Not everyone had a sink so they were just standing in random places in the “lobby” of the ladies room. Some had their eyes closed. Some had their mouths hanging open. Some had their eyes rolled back into their head and they groaned a little bit. Could have definitely been the start of some spooky Asian-inspired “Ring” horror story, except with toothbrushes. I couldn’t even hear myself peeing over the scrubbing of enamel.
The next flight to Tokyo was about 2.5 hours. I navigated Haneda airport and train system fine. Got my pocket wifi and had money on my suica card thankfully (that’s the card that gets you through the train and bus system) because I was having trouble getting cash on my bank card. Long story short that was solved with a quick chat. The train was about an hour and then I had a 17 minute walk UPHILL at 1am. I welcomed it, actually. I think I just ate two days worth of food in one day and I am not willing to give up on my health goals quite so quickly. My one remaining fear was that I wouldn’t be able to find my hotel. It’s not a chain and it’s an older building. I had to contact them ahead to time to see what the check in process would be since I wouldn’t be there until 1am. They gave me a door code and then said they key would be at the front desk with my name on it. So… the hotel was hard to find in the dark but after walking around the block a couple of times I found it and entered the code that got me into the lobby. Wanna guess why I’m typing this blog at 2:30 am? They forgot my key. Luckily there’s a bathroom, a small sofa, and electrical outlets. I’d like a shower, but you know what? Without my body going into overtime creating stress hormones, I actually don’t stink! Also I gave up my hippy deodorant. That helps too.
What’s furaidochikin? For the blog title I had a lot of fun brainstorming with Aryn Corely, all around funny guy. Does furaidochikin, pronounced slowly, remind you of anything in the English language? How about aisukurīmu? Sound familiar? These are some English words borrowed by the Japanese language. Always happy to find those. I know that Fried Chicken Crossing doesn’t seem terribly descriptive regarding a Japanese travel blog… but isn’t it? I mean… if I’m the fried chicken… and I just crossed into Japan….
I’m not messing with photos right now but I’ll make up for it later. And hey, if you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet there’s no time like the present! Thanks for reading!
*Ok ok, my favorite place in the world is wherever I am with my husband. In this case, Japan still count’s because he’ll be spending some time out here too!
Enjoy your stay there! Never been to Japan, but maybe in the future. Doing enough crazy airmiles as it is… How many trees is Japan?
An unusual question Robert! Who am I to deny it? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Trees_of_Japan. I’m keeping up with your adventures too! I’m so happy for you!