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DOKool Destroys Tokyo Part 2: On The Ground

I'm a stranger in a strange land.

You hear that phrase, but you can't really imagine what it feels like when it actually applies to you.
The writing on the walls has strange characters that I can only pick out bits and pieces from. Ls are wantonly mixed with Rs. I've heard a dozen varieties of a language that I only have the most basic of grasps of.

The stewardess takes what seems like 5 whole minutes to tell the passengers that we're arriving at Narita, and to stow our tray tables, return our seatbacks to their upright position, and turn off electronic devices. Then she takes 30 seconds to repeat those commands in English.

When we first reached land, it almost looked normal from above. "Look at all those fields. Hey, a golf course." Could be the Midwestern US for all you know. But that soon turns into "Hey, look at all that kanji written on the roof" and "...why are all those cars driving on the left side of the road?"

When Sylvia and I were walking off the plane towards the terminal, I looked out the glass to see an All Nippon Air plane, with none other than Pikachu and a host of other Pokemon characters painted in large-scale onto the side of the aircraft. "...somehow I think it's all downhill from here."

Sumimasen, 'currency exchange' wa doko desu ka?

On the limo bus, the only gaijin among a scattered collection of Nihonjin until fellow TUJers join me. We stare through windows into a gray sky, green terrain, and gray highway as we make our way towards Tokyo.

6:30PM, we finally arrive at TUJ House.

"How do you turn on the hot water?"
"Oh, there's a panel, you have to activate it."
"...I'm too tired for this shit, man."

A dozen of us gather and go to Denny's, where the food looks exactly like it does in the menu and the waitresses all wear the 50s-style uniforms. There's beer on the menu. It costs more than the Coke. We stop at a 7/11 on the way back, where instead of Tastycakes and M&Ms I see all varieties of Japanese snacks and drinks. Parts of a Gundam figure come with Pepsi Twist, collect all 36 to build the entire model. A 'grab bag' Eva toy that I could get at a con for maybe $7 is mine for a cool 160Y.

My stuff's unpacked, my DDR pad works, and the real journey begins in the morning.


Note: This entry was taken from my travelblog, located at

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