Japan - Day 1: Travel, travel, travel / by David Imel

Traveling to Japan is quite the experience. It took about 14 hours to get to Hong Kong (which is 5 hours past Tokyo..) and then another 5 back to Tokyo after an 8 hour layover. When you travel from the US, time stops. You chase the sun all the way around the world, and sleep becomes a foreign idea.

Hong Kong in itself was a wild place. I met up with my friend Toby and he showed me around the area. We went to a restaurant which seemed incredibly fancy, but that is apparently commonplace for the country. There are tall buildings everywhere and you it is impossible to escape the light. We took a ferry around the bay, but for some reason that only took about 10 minutes, because the bay is very, very small. It's evident that Hong Kong is really just a shipment center for Shenzen, China, which is very close by.

The biggest thing I noticed about Hong Kong was the heat and humidity. Not only was it 95 degrees (Farenheit), but it was so incredibly humid. Buildings were dripping not because it was raining, but simply because the air was so incredibly moist. Wearing a sweater was a bad idea, and it makes sense that people there only wear shorts and T-Shirts, even in the middle of the night. American influence was strong here, especially within the malls and shopping districts.

I traveled to Japan via Japan Airlines, and the plane was very old. That being said, it was one of the most enjoyable plane rides I've been on. There were little TV monitors in the head-rests which were controllable with TV remotes that came out of the arm rests, and these had game pads built into them. Video games are obviously a huge part of Japanese culture, but it was even worked into the airplane itself. I was very impressed.

I arrived in Tokyo around 6AM, and it took a few hours to exchange my rail pass and figure out how to get where I was going. The Hostel I am staying in is about a half hour out of the city by train, but it took me about 3 hours to get here because I have no idea what I'm doing. There are little train cards you can fill up, but it ended up costing about $20 just to get to the hostel. I may need to take out more money.

This hostel is absolutely incredible. It costs about $20 per night, but it is so beautiful. It is cool, colorful, and there are all kinds of people staying here. Surprisingly I am the only American I have met so far, but I've been hanging out with people from the UK, Germany, Russia, the Alps, France, you name it. I don't know why you would want to stay in an expensive hotel when you could meet people in a hostel. It feels like a field trip.

When I arrived at the hostel it was 9AM, but I wasn't able to get a room until 4pm. At this point I hadn't slept for about 35 hours, but I couldn't do much about it, so I went on a walking tour. If I learned anything from that, it's that I need shorts. It is very warm here almost all the time, and you'll sweat wearing very little at all. We visited a couple of temples, and saw some Taiko Drums, then had shaved ice at a cafe. When we got back I chatted with the others staying at the hostel and made quite a few friends. I finally got access to my room at 4PM, and it is quite amazing to look at. You sleep in one of 6 cubbies which have a bed, towel, one outlet, and one USB-A port in them. I passed out immediately after hitting the pillow, and slept for about 15 hours. Worth it.

I am going to the technology center of the city today, so I'm hoping I make it without getting too lost. Google maps works well here, so as long as nothing dies I'll probably be ok. I've got to do a lot of photo editing, but I also need to go do things, so I'll get to that later.

Let's go.