Posted by: sea2stars | November 22, 2009

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

So today I embarked on my trip to Tokyo and unbeknownst to me did I realize that getting to Tokyo would be a trip of its own. My roommate suggests that I use the bus to get the high speed rail in Taiwan. She was kind enough to drop me off at the bus station and talk to the driver for me to ensure my arrival at the train station. I felt like a little kid getting on the bus for my first day at school, to shy to talk to the bus driver and unaware of where I was headed. At the high speed rail it was easy enough to get my ticket and soon enough I was on the fast train to Taipei. On the train it had English and Chinese and at one point informed me that we were traveling at 294 km/hr (182 miles/hr). The train even felt fast. When we passed a train going the opposite direction it was like it was there and then gone in the next second. I could only think about how much fun my nephews would be having if they could ride the ‘supper fast’ train as well.

After the high speed train I had to board another bus that took me to the airport. I was very early and checking in was a lot easier than in America. I didn’t even have to take off my shoes or belt to pass through security, it was a small victory for me to not have to undress in front of strangers. Some friends of mine had a layover in Taipei on their way to Indonesia and informed me of a terminal dedicated to Hello Kitty. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to check this out. The terminal was far more elaborate than they had explained. Actually many of the terminals had themes. I found it all rather amusing.

The plane flight was nice and I was able to watch most of The Half Blood Prince. The plane announcements were rather long as they went through Chinese, Japanese, and English and it hinder me from watching the entire movie. The friend that I am staying with in Tokyo had left me directions to get to his apartment, so I boarded another high speed train to get into the heart of Tokyo. The Tokyo train station is enormous. I had a hard time finding an exit. Their are at least 5 different levels, all of which you can board numerous trains on. I probably spent at least 20 minutes trying to find my way out of the maze an onto the streets. I was trying to grab a cab and I must have looked lost because a nice gentleman, who spoke English, came up to me and helped me tell the cab driver where to take me. I find that Asians are very nice to foreigners and I’m always thankful to be in an area of the world were people go out of their way to help. I’m not sure that always happens in America. The cab driver kindly deposited me at my destination. Although my friend is away on business he has still been kind enough to allow me to stay in his apartment. He left me a key with the concierge and I had no problem getting into his apartment. So after 2 buses, 2 trains, 1 plane flight, and a cab ride later I finally arrived at my destination 12 hours after I left. The entire day was a success without any problems.

I find that I instantly like Tokyo. My friends apartment is on the 20th floor with an amazing view. It’s like a sea of buildings and lights. I’ve never seen anything like it before. They drive on the opposite side of the road here and it seems even easier to get around than in Taiwan. I do find it rather amazing that a 3 1/2 hour flight can get me into a completely different country. I fly a lot so it’s really not that big of a deal, but somehow it felt different today. Usually I’m flying to go home or on vacation where I know I’ll go home afterwards, but I don’t really consider Chiayi to be my home yet. I guess it kind of feels like flying to a new place for vacation even though you are already on vacation. The fact that I can be in a completely different country, with an entirely different language and culture, in a few short hours just blows my mind.



  1. sounds like an adventure.

  2. Emma likes the Hello Kitty statue, Nolan wants to ride on the double deker super fast train and Caleb keeps pointing at Japanese people and saying “Aunt Rachael Chinese”. They all loved your pics.! Guess we are coming to Tiawan!

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