Alright! I am writing this at 11.30pm Tokyo time, the first time I have had a chance to stop and breathe today – not that it’s a bad thing!
Last night, at about 10pm as we were drifting off to sleep, we got a text message from Jetstar – our flight had been delayed AGAIN, but this time it was to the far more civilised hour of 9am. This meant our wake-up call would be at 5.45 instead of 2.45, and boy did those extra three hours of sleep make all the difference. Our breakfast and lunch was all paid for by Jetstar, and the flight went pretty uneventfully. I even managed to drop off to sleep for a bit. We touched down at 4.30pm Tokyo time to a balmy 6 degrees. I hadn’t changed from my skirt and singlet top that I was wearing in the tropical heat of Cairns, so I frosted over as we waited in passport control. It took about 2 and a half hours to get through customs and all, but our bags were brought to us by some incredibly efficient airport staff and the customs officer was very pleased we were going to see the cherry blossom. Then Dad picked up the mobile phones we have rented (just for domestic calls within Japan).
The original plan was to catch up with Kinjiro Murata and his family at about 9am this morning. Marnie (my grandmother) has known Kinjiro for forty years, since he was a student, and the last time Marnie saw him in person was over 20 years ago. We have been frantically emailing (with help from my Mum back in Aus) since our flight was cancelled, but thankfully, in some sort of Easter miracle, we made contact when we got our phones and he was able to drive in to meet us at our hotel. Kinjiro lives in Kawasaki, southwest of Tokyo, and he brought with him his wife, Yuriko, and his youngest son, Satoru. Putting us all to shame with their excellent English, they arranged to have dinner in the hotel restaurant, which was a multi-course, traditional Japanese banquet. We were served about 8 different dishes of food, including tempura vegetables, several types of soup and seafood dishes which I didn’t remember the names of, and the most delicious beef I have ever tasted in my life. This was the stuff of myth, I swear. If beef in Australia tasted like this, I could never be vegetarian. The serving sizes were all so small, but by the end we were full enough to burst. We practised our incredibly poor Japanese (though Dad’s is much better than ours) and talked for nearly three hours, about all manner of things. Satoru was two years old when he came to Melbourne, so he doesn’t remember it, but is eager to go back. He is 24 and teaches primary school – a class of 32 kids, which is a ‘small’ class for Japan(!).
Tomorrow Kinjiro is coming to take us around Tokyo. The delayed flight has lost us an entire day in Tokyo, and I have given up Disneyland. There is no way I am missing two days of sightseeing in Tokyo! I am attempting to upload some pics – hopefully they will work because I am way too tired to sit up!
|Mind-numbingly awesome beef (partially eaten cos I couldn’t help myself)|
|Marnie mastering chopsticks after a lesson from Satoru!|
|Satoru and Kinjiro|
|Our beautiful waitress (is that the right term?)|
|The group! (Minus Dad, who took the pic)|