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Tokyo Airport Sucks

Joe Conley on Thursday, 31 July 2008. Posted in Study Abroad

Today we left Asakusa and brought our baggage to Tokyo station. The plan is to catch the last express train to Tokyo/Narita airport, and even though our plane doesn't leave til noon tomorrow, we just want to be there early. Also, since our rail passes for free train rides end today, we wanted to save the money for the train ride, and also a hotel. Hopefully we'll just be so tired that we'll sleep the whole plane ride, and be back on America time when we get back.

After leaving our bags, we went back to the Tsukiji Fish Market. It wasn't closed today. The main market where they have auctions for the restaurant owners and resellers is only open in the early morning, but the resellers and restaurants are open. So we checked that out, and went to the same sushi shop as last time. I got some egg this time.

Then we went back to Ginza. The last time Xander was in Japan a few years ago, he went to the Sony Building in Ginza, and we went again today. They had a cool aquarium outside, and a lot of neat technology and even a pretty serious clothing store inside. They had PS3s and games, but they don't sell the games there. We went to the apple store again, and killed some time listening to the presentation they were giving in Japanese about Dreamweaver.

Then we went to the huge 5-story Uni-Qlo. They had some really cool stuff for not too expensive, so I decided to buy a jacket and some pants. When I checked out, the guy asked me if the pants were the right length, and no, of course they weren't, I'm too short. Apparently, at this store, along with reasonable prices, they offer free hemming. So I ended up buying 3 pairs of pants because I was so excited to buy pants that were the right length for once. It took an hour for that service, so we went to another one of the Ginza Lion chain beer restaurants, and got some pizza and BBQ, but no beer.

Then we picked up our luggage in Tokyo station, took the Narita Express, and found the place where our friend shipped our luggage too. The guy seemed really surprised we wanted to pick up our luggage the day before, but we did it anyway. Then, when we went to check in for the flight, they said we couldn't check in til tomorrow. The reason? The Tokyo/Narita International airport, the largest in Japan and probably one of the largest in the world, CLOSES from 9:30PM til 6:00AM.

Me and Xander were completely floored. I don't know if I've ever been to an airport that closes. We left our baggage for the night at a storage place, that was unfortunately 500 yen per day per bag, so 20$ for my two bags. Then we asked about hotels in Narita, and one place was recommended, which seemed to be more of a hostel because they had dormitory style rooms "starting at 2400 yen."

We took a train back to Narita town, and carried our bags for the 10 minute walk to the hotel. The price ended up truly being 3000 yen per night because the 2400 rate is only if you stay for 2 weeks. And you pay up front like all the hotels in Japan. We checked in, and if we weren't surprised enough about the pricing, when the man said that, out of the whole lobby in the hotel, we could only use our laptops in the two seats directly in front of the desk we were really confused. We put our stuff in the rooms, and I rented a towel for 300 yen to take a shower. In the hotel shower, there was a sign that said "Please rent a towel. If you use your own, you will be fined 300 yen." Alright.

Then we hung out in the lounge, and eventually a girl who had stayed in Japan for a year doing study abroad started talking with us. But our conversation was cut short when the hotel manager said "Please go to bed now." I guess he wanted to close the hotel lobby, but he wasn't very nice about it. So we all thought this guy was really weird. He ended up sleeping in the little room behind the check-in counter.

Then we went to the beds. First off, the air-conditioner in the room was on and there was no way to shut it off because it was controlled by a remote we didn't have. Combined with the cough I've had for a week, this was annoying. Then it became apparent that I wasn't the only thing in the bed. I started to feel small bugs, maybe fleas, maybe bed bugs or something in the bed. Xander felt them too. It was time to leave.

When we took our stuff out of the room, the man woke up and asked what we were doing, we said we were leaving. When we said there were bugs in the bed, the man said that is "impossible." We'd had enough of this guy. He mentioned the 24 hr McDonald's that we had also seen on the way in. We can't get refunds because we paid ahead and the man was obviously a jerk or perhaps mentally deficient. But hey, free fleas, can't beat that right?

We went to the McDonald's listening to drunk foreigners ramble on about crazy things, and watching probably homeless Japanese people sleep til our 6AM train to the airport.