Bowing to public pressure, I am happy to announce that I have finally got the first chapter of the Japan Newsletter up and underway. I do apologise for the lateness in getting this off but it has been busy being a Japanese Swan and also posing as international tourist and jetsetter at the same time. So many experiences to be had and so much to enjoy. I am on visual overload with so many new things to see and do, you feel guilty for not going out and exhausting yourself with what is on offer. Also internet access, whilst available, is not always high on the priority when there are adventures to be had. But nonetheless I hope that this chapter is of sufficient size and interest to keep you in the happy barrel of communication.
The flight over was one of the worst I have ever had, it felt like forever and it was only 10 hours...what a woose I am. But the best bit was flying over Siberia and watching the sunrise over that landscape...OH MY GOD! What a light. Beautiful. But thanks have to go to Leese and her parting present...darls the Green and Blacks went down a treat and I thought of us in front of Will and Grace the entire time I gobbled it down. (started the detox the next day). And I was happy to inform that yes I did have the lightest and smallest suitcase in the entire company – Cate and Leigh I am challenging you soon I am sure! Tried to get an upgrade but the woman looked at me as if I was trying it on thick so I just smiled sweetly and let her put me wherever she damn well wanted to! Oh and if anyone wants to see possibly the worst movie in the world “Shall We Dance” has got to be rated a virtual stinker. Even being trapped in a plane seat with no other form of communication or distraction wasn’t enough to stop me from turning it off.
So without further ado...
Talk about first impressions!! There is one thing to arrive in an airport and be entering a city in the rainy dark when you can barely keep yourself from throwing up from jetlag or exhaustion...then there is entering the street after you have checked in and the sheer volume of being confronted by streets and skyscrapers of buildings and signs that you have no idea what it all means. Its incredibly awe inspiring and also confronting as suddenly everything you may know, be or understand as part of your identity has no relevance whatsoever because you cant even commuincate your name let alone your personality. Neon lights sparkle and blink from every nook and cranny of the narrow haphazard streets, all assaulting you in a blaze of marketing. The first meal is a negotiation of broken english/japanese and much pointing at pictures and saying “one” “ONE”!!!! But food in the tummy has (and always will) have the effect of making me feel calm, restful and contented with my surroundings. The walk back to the motel has one stop off in a fluoro lit 7-ELEVEN for some comfort supplies and purchases of various necessities. In keeping with the experimenting nature of first impressions, a friend and I decide to purchase a small green ball of something that looks like a sweet cake. Kirsty couldn’t do the green one but I decided to ... anticipating a sweet green tea pastry flavour! Well what a shock! First bite was a surprise of texture = squash ball... and the flavour was akin to a gelatinous plasticine.
Amidst much laughing and hilarity the “sweet green tea ball” was swiftly discarded. And now I sit in a very small tea house under a train overpass with deliate china cups and lovely pure water with a cup of tea listening to Ella Fitzgerald croon me into the very early Sunday morning. Breakfast has been rice squares wrapped in seaweed with a filling of stir-fry in it. No doubt I will get more adventurous with the food once I am more familiar.
But for now the small pleasures fulifill me entirely... Tokyo begins.
Walking around the streets at 7am is an exploration and gets me most excited. The whole idea of giving up coffee is somewhat redundant to my initial impressions of the difficulty of finding coffee here in the first place. But coffee houses abound and not just STARBUCKS. Dammit I will have to rely on my own resolve and determination to do the detox. Mind you it is refreshing to see that there is more on offer than just things like McD’s and Starbucks. I am holding to my guns and going against the “go with what you know mantra” and also hoping to have my own experience of Japanese culture, including the food.