Day 1 - Novotel Auckland Airport, Auckland, New Zealand to Hotel Graphy Nezu, somewhere near Ueno
This morning at 5 am I woke up with deep, deep regret over the hotel club sandwich I ate at 8.30 pm the night before. I creaked my way through Yoga TV, huffing and puffing and swearing through downward dog, sun salutes, and warrior pose.
Ten hour flight was slow torture in that special, special way us Antipodeans have to get used to in order to get anywhere in the world. Rob looked like he won the lottery when he found out there was no one sitting in the seat next to him. Flight gold. Watched Edge of Tomorrow on tiny screen. Cursed the recliner in front of me. Ate both mine and Rob's breakfast fruit bun. Traded Rob chicken for his lemon pannacotta. The bartering system is well and truly alive.
Narita Airport "super 90s" in Rob's words. We went to the post shop in the airport to pick up a special package, namely portable wifi the size of a small wallet. NZD$60 for 7 days gets you unlimited bandwidth. Rob and my brother made impressed grunting sounds when discussing this deal earlier at the airport so I guess that's good. You walk around with it and turn yourself into a portable wifi spot. Again, my brother was delighted by this description and shouted about the years being taken from your life with radiation or some such thing. We charged it on the 36 minute train ride from Narita to Nippori station, by plugging it into the powerpoint in front of our seats. Oh Japan.
The first time I was in Japan, the first thing I did was drink milk tea from a vending machine. It was 40 degrees in Osaka, I kid you not, and those vending machines saved my life. Six years later, I let history repeat itself for old time's sakes. If you're going to write a blog post about Japan, you have to mention the vending machines. It's a rule.
Portable wifi saved us by allowing us to Google map our way from Nezu station to Hotel Graphy Nezu. No small feat since it involved us wheeling our way noisily through dark, suburban alleyways with no sniff of a road sign anywhere in sight. Hotel Graphy Nezu totally hipster with a man in a scruffy beanie, tattoos, and beard mucking around with very many bikes outside.
We wander out in the neighbourhood for a late dinner. It's a balmy 24 degrees. No cardigan required. There's pink lanterns criss crossing above our heads, people on big cruisy bikes wheeling past us, and vending machines every couple hundred or so metres.
Ate a beef bowl for NZD$5 and shared a beer for NZD$4 at Yoshinoya. Rob had to be given a tutorial on how to open the door. I caused a raucous by getting too excited at the prospect of all-you-can-eat ginger and knocking the lid to the floor with a loud clatter. Ended the day at the local supermarket zoning out in front of unidentified food objects.