Monday, October 17, 2016

Postcard from Japan: Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016

My mother-in-law, Akiko Suwa Traylor, and Mariko Tanishima

I have decided that I have to go to Haneda Airport in order to rent a Pocket WiFi.  It seems that this is the only way I am going to connect to the internet anywhere in Japan.  It takes about an hour and a half by train.  With Forde Sakuoka's help, he shows me the Tokyo train/subway map and what trains to take.  (By the way, I have solved the problem of the flight to Okinawa.  Mariko-san has called SkyMark--- she has a big cell phone, and found out the schedule.  So I call and talk to an English-speaking agent, Mr. Shibamoto, and reserve a seat from Tokyo to Naha, Okinawa, and then from Naha to Kobe when I visit another friend.)

The trip starts at the Narimasu station which has both train (above ground) and subway (below ground).  I'm taking the train on the Tobu Tojyo Line due east to Ikebukuro.  There I transfer to the Yamanote-sen (line).  (The Yamanote Line is famous as the train that goes in a circle around Tokyo through many of the most famous places such as Shinjiku, Tokyo, and Ueno where the zoo is.  At some point in my stay I'm going to take the train all around the circle to see all the sights--- like circle line cruise.)  Today I'm going south on the Yamanote-sen and getting off at Hammamatsu-cho.  Because it's Sunday the train is packed and there's only standing room until a couple of stop later.  

Now there are screens above the doors with digital moving signs telling you what train you're on, what station is next and where you're stopping.  There's also this information over the loudspeaker in both Japanese and English (women's voices because it's considered more gracious and kind---and maybe more understandable?).  Since the summer Olympics back in the 60s and the winter Olympics the first year I was here (1971), the signage everywhere in both Japanese (Chinese characters and phonetics) as well as English is so incredibly better than even when I was here last in 2005.  

Monorail leaving Haneda Int'l Terminal
At Hammamatsu-cho, I take the Monorail to Haneda Airport which is south of the city.  This is an adventure!  There are three terminals and I go to Terminal 1 first because that where SkyMark Airlines' flights depart from.  I want to know ahead of time how long it's going to take to get there from Narimasu (almost 2 hours).  

Then it's on to find the NinjaWiFi desk.  The Information Center agent (I wish I'd taken her picture because she and the other women are dressed in white dresses with large round black circles, stylish white mesh hats and white gloves) tells me that I have to go to the Int'l Terminal by way of the Monorail or the Free Bus shuttle.  So, I find the Free Bus Shuttle stand outside and have another nice ride on a limo bus.  Then it's inside, finding the escalator up to the 2nd floor amid all the people.  I have to ask another Information Center agent where it is, but she ushers she around the corner and there they are!  Very helpful and friendly.  

I've accomplished my two goals so I've got time to walk around the airport terminal taking pictures of the building and structures.

All the mass transit vehicles are so very clean and professional looking.  It's rare to see litter or a dirty window.

On my way back to my mother-in-law's, I relax and can appreciate the huge buildings along the Keihin Canal.  The Monorail runs along the canal which empties into the Tokyo Bay.  The images are somewhat out of focus because of the Monorail's movement and speed.  In some places, the scene of the boats on the canal take on the look of Venice and its waterways.  All over Tokyo you see huge buildings and constant construction everywhere.
Inside the Monorail is very spacious.


  1. Really enjoying your posts from Japan Jennifer. That is a real adventure.

  2. Looks like you are having a good time. Thanks for posting. You will have to do a major show and tell at the December meeting.