Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Narita, Japan

I can't write tons about Japan because I wasn't there very long, but I was excited to learn when I arrived at the airport that there are lots of services for transit passengers when they have lots of time between flights. I had 9 hours and had been concerned about this.  I tried to check the airport's web site to find out any information about amenities, and I learned I could rent a day room being that my flight arrived at 7am, so I was planning to find one and then sleep the day away for lack of anything better to do.  But when I ran into an airport staff person at the entrance to the international transfer area, she told me about all the services they offer, including a lounge with wifi, snacks, beverages, and sofas. They will give you coupons for free meals, massages, and showers! And they will even organise tours for you that are free to do except for museum entrance fees that you need to pay if you choose a tour with a museum.  So of course, I opted to do that rather than sleep the day away!

Japan was really beautiful, what I saw of it. There wasn't enough time to go into Tokyo proper, so I didn't get to see that part, but I did get to see some of the country side around Narita.  I saw two temples, the Naritasan and Sogo-Reido temples, and then the Kawasura DIC Memorial Museum, which housed beautiful paintings that included some by Camille Pissarro, Henri Matisse, and Marc Chagall. There was even a Rodin sculpture! That was very unexpected.  The scenery around where I got to travel was similar to fall here at home, similar colours and some similar trees, although one sight was a lot of persimmon trees that were just filled with fruit. That's definitely something we won't see here!  One thing that struck me as funny is how many beverage vending machines were all over the place. They would even appear to be randomly placed to block beautiful country side scenes, but it's probably more that during a long stretch of no stores, you might get thirsty and want somewhere to get a drink.  When I think about it, rather than a vending machine, many countries I've been to would just have a vendor selling some fresh juice or something like that, so I guess it's not entirely different, only that one is automated.

While waiting back at the lounge for my flight, there was a TV on that had been showing news the whole time, but at one point, they started showing people singing this song called "Flowers Will Bloom". I get the meaning behind it is special, but I couldn't stop picturing what Simon Cowell would say if he saw any of them. It was dreadful! Please realise the next 4+ minutes will be pure torture, so decide how much of a masochist you are before you play this.  When I returned home, I decided to find out what the Japanese version of the song was because the credits after the English version said it had been translated from Japanese. It turns out the Japanese version is beautiful, and the singers are excellent and better coordinated! Have a listen for yourself and compare! (I'm not sure if you will see the video properly or not because it wasn't working for me, but the sound is the most important. You can also find it on YouTube, but I posted this version for my mom's sake because YouTube is blocked where she is.)

Back at the gate waiting for my flight, they played Neil Young and Sarah McLaughlin over the intercom. I thought that was funny.  Anyway, enough about that. I know you're mostly excited to see photos, so here they are--and don't forget to click on the album to see them larger!


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