I woke up early this morning and took a subway to Gimpo Airport in Seoul, S. Korea. At Gimpo Airport, I took a special fast subway to Incheon World Airport. I took a flight from Incheon to Japan on Peach Airlines. If you are going to travel from Korea to Japan, Peach is the way to go if you want to save money. At times, the tickets from Korea to Japan are only $50.00 one way. That is a far sight better than the $450.00 I paid the first time I came to Japan from Korea. However, if you go Peach, expect not much leg room and expect them to not serve food and beverages unless you pay for it on the spot. The flight is so short, it is fine not to have a meal, but I did have a Coca Cola Zero on the plane. I arrived at the airport in Japan knowing I would need to make my way through the trains and subways to my hotel room. If you have been watching my blog, I have been practicing my Japanese as I give Japanese lessons to who ever wants them, so my Japanese was ready.
I don’t think it helped me in customs because my computer is half broken. It works fine, but the case is messed up, and the computer man says there is nothing he can do for it short of replacing my computer, so I just keep using the way it is. At customs, the Japanese were bothered by my computer. They couldn’t understand why it was broken and kept running it through their machines again and again like they were expecting to find something, and then after that, they took me to a private room and did a pat down search. I have never had anyone do that to me before, but I think it is because the computer upset them. In the States, we drove a car that had a dent in it for a while, and the police were always stopping us because of the dent. People just can’t understand using something that works but doesn’t look right. I spoke to them in Japanese hoping it would make them calm down, and they were nice, but still intent on finding something wrong with me, but you can’t find what isn’t there, and they finally let me go.
I thought I would eat after I got off the plane, but I just couldn’t find a restaurant that enticed me to eat there. There were lots of restaurants in the airport, but none of them really appealed to me. I took a train on into the city and then a subway on to my hotel. The Japanese I have been studying really helped because I am in a city where I don’t know my way around, but there was no way for me to be lost because I asked people for directions all the way, and they were very kind and pointed me in the right direction. I can’t read all their signs, but they can, and I can talk to them. I told the people who were studying my Japanese blogs that the most important part it to learn to speak, and then you won’t have problems in Japan. I didn’t know how to use their machine to buy a subway ticket, but it was okay because I just asked the man at the desk, and he came, bought the ticket for me, and pointed me in the right direction for the subway I wanted to ride. After I got on the subway, I checked myself and asked the lady next to me if the train was going to the station where I wanted to go, and it was. This is how I get around in Japan. I let the Japanese get me there by asking them lots of questions, and they are happy to help.
When I arrived at my hotel, I was downright tired! My back was killing me and my legs were hurting. However, the Japanese welcomed me right in. The lady at the front desk saw me walk in, and there was a line where people were checking in, and the other line was closed. One of the ladies saw me and said to me in Japanese, “いらしあいませ” （irashiayaimasei) which means “welcome,” and she opened up another line just for me and put me at the front. She waited on me right away and said to me that there was a public bath if I wanted it. The Japanese bath is called “お風呂” (ofuro). It was tempting because I was hurting in so many places. I know that in Japan the men and women’ are in two different ofuros, and there would be just women there. However, I really don’t like my body to be seen by anyone without clothes, so I didn’t go.
I went on to my room, and there were house shoes waiting at the door for me. On my bed, there were two “浴衣” (yukata) summer kimonoes waiting on the bed with a Japanese origami bird. The Japanese origami bird means they want to me friends. I needed something to eat, so I put my luggage inside and went to the local convenience store.
I had seen a bakery in the subway and already bought something there for desert because I remembered from the first time I lived in Japan that the Japanese are really good at bakery goods. However, at the convenience store, I bought tuna and mayonnaise （おんににり）(onginiri), a Japanese rice ball with tuna and mayonnaise in it and covered with seaweed. I also bought Milk Tea. When I was a little girl growing up in England, we drank a lot of tea with sugar and milk in it, and it became one of my favorites, and I still drink it. The Japanese have taken it a step further than the British. They serve it cold tea with sugar and milk in bottles like it is soda pop. If you know about the Japanese, they people who study culture call them “The Greatest Copy Cats in the World.” They take existing products and then improve on them. I actually still really like the way the English make their tea, but I also like the way the Japanese make it too.
After I ate, I fell asleep because I was hurting and tired. When I woke up, some of the pain was gone, but not all of it, so I figured it was time for a Japanese ofuro. However, not the public bath. The Japanese know how to make bathtubs better than anyone. They make them so deep that you can run lots of hot water in them, and get down inside and soak your whole body at once. If you overflow the bathtub, no problem. There are drains in the bathroom floor. I took a nice hot soaky ofuro, put on one of those yukatas, and now I am telling you about my trip.
My trip isn’t over, but for today it is. I am gong to rest this evening. Tomorrow, I plan on going to a Japanese castle to share it with you. Talk to you later. :).