Vote Charlie!

Arriving in Tokyo alive, discovering delicious noodles

Posted at age 25.
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I got back from my trip to Denver Tuesday night, leaving only Wednesday to squeeze in a four hour clinic appointment, a haircut, two hours of weight lifting, and a full day of work. Oh, and I had to pack for a week in Japan, but of course I didn’t do that till Thursday morning in the 30 minutes before I had to head to the airport.

Running a little late, I missed a BART train by a few seconds due to people standing on the escalator. Nevertheless, I made it to SFO on time and met my boss, who came to San Francisco first in order to fly with me. I didn’t have time to check out the Delta Skyclub, though. Perhaps on the way back.

I’d never flown with Aaron before, but I was sure it’d be fine. We had a group of two seats each way, with me at the window, so it was nice not to have to worry about interrupting strangers or any of that.

I tried to sleep on the plane, but I only ended up getting an hour or two. Usually I don’t have an issue sleeping on planes, or anywhere, but this time my back was annoying me. Oh well.


We’re getting close to Tokyo, but the excitement hasn’t set in yet. Maybe I’ve been traveling too much… Nah!


First glimpse of Japan. And it’s rainy.

We eventually landed at Narita Airport at around 16:30 on Friday, June 21, after 11 hours of flying. Aaron and I were trying to figure out if we were supposed to meet our associate Dan at the airport or at the hotel. Thankfully we saw Dan just outside customs. I had never met him before, but he looked just as I imagined, though perhaps a bit shorter.


We found Dan, and now we had to get on the JR Narita Express train to Tokyo Central


Tokyo has quite a complex metro system, apparently!

After introductions and seeking Wi-Fi to check in, we bought train tickets and headed downstairs to the station. The ride was uneventful, but it was nice to see some of the countryside.

An hour later, we arrived at Tokyo station and transfered to the Maranouchi metro line. The signs in all the Tokyo metro stations are clear, despite the stations being so big they all span multiple city blocks. Every stop on every line has a number, such as M18, so it is always easy to find which direction and how many stops you need to go.

We reached Akasaka-mitsuke station and walked to Hotel Monterey Akasaka. The rooms were smaller than any hotel I’ve stayed in, but big enough, with a normal sized bed. Everything was very nice, though, with lots of nice touches such as a heated bathroom mirror (and toilet seat!) and switches to control the lights from the bed.


A small but nice bathroom. Strange controls on the toilet, conspicuously low shower head, but lovely.

Once settled, we made contact with Nobuhiro, head of the company we are here to visit. He met us in the hotel lobby at 20:00, and he guided us to a spicy noodles restaurant that was a few blocks away.

The place was about eight seats at a bar separating the customers form the kitchen. There was no door to get in, but some cloth drapes instead. This seems to be a fairly common style for smaller restaurants around here.


The menu was small but entirely in Japanese, so Nob explained the options and ordered on our behalf, thankfully.

The menu was small but entirely in Japanese, so Nob explained the options and ordered on our behalf, thankfully. We tried three kinds of noodle bowls, a spicy and nonspicy and something like angel hair noodles with chicken. All of them were delicious, and I didn’t have a problem with the spiciness. It was so good I had to drink the soup, which Nob said is typical but not required. We also ordered two types of dumplings. Again, delicious all around.


Our first ramen and dumplings experience

With our Japan trip off to a great though slightly rainy start, we retired for the night to try to get rested for the day ahead!


A street near our hotel

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