On April 3rd, Sam and I departed from Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport around 11 o’clock in the morning for Toronto Pearson International Airport. The ride to Toronto was the shortest flight I’ve ever been on, short of an hour, and very comfortable (although the WIFI that is claimed to be free and available for all turned out to in fact not be free, but required a membership (and a very expensive one at that) so we simply talked a bit on the way.
We arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport around 12:15 where we had a layover of three hours. Toronto’s International Airport was absolutely splendid, the most well organized and interesting airport I’ve ever been to, and three hours flew by as we grabbed some food and got in line for our flight - most of the passengers being Japanese people returning to Japan, a huge amount of a japanese little soccer league team, and a handful of tourists. The flight to Tokyo was 13 hours and although that was the longest flight I've ever done, we had prepared in advance. As mentioned in my previous entry “Traveling to Japan for the first time as a Type 1 Diabetic: Preparation” I had my insulin and needles on my person, and didn’t come across any problems with anyone at check-in nor on board, we had decided not to refrigerate my long term insulin as, as per the information I had come across, I would have needed to contact our airline and it seemed like a lot of trouble. I packed two of my long term insulin pens and three of my short term, all in case of emergency. My needles etc. I kept inside my bag.
13 hours inside a plane isn’t that bad - if you plan some stretching along the way. As a diabetic I often struggle to find the right time, but mostly right place, for my injections, and plane seats are...tricky. Although we’d made sure that I would be seated at a window seat in order to have room for my injections (I have long limbs) this still was a tricky experience and on our next trip to Japan we made note to make sure to book a seat with no one in front of us to allow for better and safer injections.
Sam and I arrived at Tokyo Haneda International Airport around 4 o’clock. It was an exciting
moment for the both of us as we had long (very long) dreamed of getting to visit Japan, and here we were, but we didn’t have time to gasp just yet as we needed to hurry to the post office before closing time to pick up our portable WIFI for our trip, and the post office closes at 5. Make sure to make note of this if any of you plan on getting a portable WIFI as it may be much cheaper to pick up directly from the airport, but the post office has to be, well, open, for that. We made it though.
Now we had also prepared for the whole concept of Tokyo’s subway system and passes, but Tokyo truly is much, much simpler than people give it credit to. We got our bags and entry that led to the Tokyo Monorail where we purchased a Suica card from one of the very machine (we changed our money back in our own country), every machine offers a variety of international languages, and Suica cards are given to you by the machine right on the stop, which you can fill with more money at absolutely any time. We took the Tokyo Monorail, which for a long time rides over and alongside the sea side, when we had the chance to catch a beautiful sunset, until we eventually changed to the famous Yamanote Line until Komagome Station where our AirBnb was located. (We got a bit lost in Komagome though, Tokyo’s addresses were one of the only challenges we faced).
Our AirBnb was part of a public bath called Denjyō-yu/殿上湯, a small but beautiful room with a kitchen, tatami mat, storage space, and (wee) futons!! We had originally planned on exploring the area a little bit, but, obviously, were too exhausted. So, after introductions and settling a little bit (our hosts prepared out Futons for us though) we headed to non other than the 7-ELEVEN a little further down. The weather was good, although a bit fresh, and we were thrilled to spot our very first cherry tree blossomed on our way, right next to Seigakuin Primary School.
7-ELEVEN was, obviously, the massive highlight of the night and I still remember every single thing I got to try (although I’m trying to forget those atrocious frozen shrimp dumplings I swore I would figure out how to cook but I never did figure out Japanese microwaves & settings - I’m sorry, Japanese shrimp dumplings, I did you wrong. R.I.P. Sam got some cup noodles and I went for all the Matcha things I could find, and a peach beer.
We eventually settled into our futons and, I cant stress this enough, had one of the best night ever. We eventually accepted the fact that whatever the particular futons we slept in at Denjyō-yu made us sweet as well as sleep a sleep so profound I wonder if I’ve ever really slept correctly before or since. This was the end of our first “day” in Japan, I hope this was more or less fun or informative for you, I promise our following days actually contained activities and sightseeing. See you on Day 2 in Japan.