We arrived at Narita Airport in Tokyo en route to Kawasaki.
Flying on a Jetstar (low cost Japanese/Australian airline) flight from Hong Kong we noticed a difference in the attitude of the staff.They were more polite and less abrasive than we’d experienced in China.
Leaving the plane, we followed a clearly marked passage and went through immigration with no delay. The question is “why can’t all immigration clearances be like that?”.
At the customs checkpoint we were politely asked a few questions and continued through without a hassle. So different from China. There is security in Japan but it is low key and seems more directed at protecting the people rather than the system.
Although we were one of the first off the plane our bags were already on the baggage conveyor. The question again “why can’t all airports be like that?” was asked again.
We took quite a long walk from Terminal 1 to the Narita Express. The passages were immaculately clean, clearly demarcated and every few metres marked with the distance left to walk.
A very different experience from the transition between Shenzhen and Hong Kong .
On the Narita Express we had our first experience of train travel in Japan. Lots and lots of people!
As we were train travel newbies there was some confusion in booking the tickets. After not being sure of which train to catch and getting more confused. We watched trains coming and going, so not really knowing what to do we decided to get on the next train and see what happened.
As it so happened we had bought the wrong ticket for what we wanted. But this was easily rectified by paying the difference to the conductor on the train.
It was a bit stressful first experience after arrival!
We stayed in Kawasaki. A city situated between Tokyo and Yokohama included in the Greater Tokyo Area.
As we walked through the city there was a feeling of tranquillity and organisation. The streets were clean and neat. The people working in the bakery were friendly and welcoming. considerate people - first experience –
The next morning, we had our first experience of Japanese consideration and hospitality. It was exhilarating. we had our first kind act of assistance
As we stood at the station. Staring at the machines. Confused about how to buy a Pasmo rail card a man, who didn’t speak English, came up and between gestures and doing most of it for us produced the cards and we were ready to go.
Kawasaki’s twin city in Germany is Lubeck and the name of the main street through the town in Nakahara Ward is Bremen.
We made a brief visit to Yokohama and were again overwhelmed by the size of the station.
As we returned to our station, Motosumiyoshi, we experienced another act of unsolicited kindness, I was trying to confirm that I was on the right train going in the right direction. A young girl leant across and asked if she could help. She confirmed that I was on the correct train. As she got off the train at the station before ours she stopped and handed me two wrapped biscuits “these are a Japanese speciality. Welcome to Japan”. An unforgettable moment.
Arriving at the station we were met with the sounds of a brass band. As we exited the station we saw that there was a large brass band playing. We stood and listened until they finished and as the next act prepared we left the station.
Only to be met with a festival in the town. Different shows from Spanish dancers to balloon artists. They lined the streets with vendors a wide variety of food and drinks. All very festive and enjoyable.
On the Sunday we lined up in the “Millerd’s Park Run”. An unofficial 5 km run which takes place every Sunday morning at 8 am. It was started by, and is organised by, my cousin who is a Park Run veteran and “addict”.
Initial Thoughts about Japan
- Living in Japan must be very pleasant.
- In world terms property prices are not high.
- There are vast differences between Japan and other SE Asian countries.
- Japanese people are helpful, law abiding and polite.