TR: ECC/ACE Japan trip days 1-2

TR: ECC/ACE Japan trip days 1-2

Post by STOPSPA » Thu, 29 Sep 2005 20:34:48


Japan trip day 1 -- June 3.  Flying, flying and more flying.

Well, this is the big day.  After only a touch of sleep, I headed off to
the airport.  For once, I allowed the supposed 3 hours they said to allow.
And, of course, it wasn't necessary.  I caught a cab tot he airport pretty
quickly and arrived almost three hours before my flight.  I was taking
American Airlines.  But because my first flight was on a small American
Eagle flight to JFK airport in NYC, I was able to avoid the VERY long line
to check in on American.  Instead, I checked in at the American Eagle
counter, which had maybe 3 people in line!   I don't really understand why
American has their NYC flights leave from an auxiliary terminal which you
have to take a shuttle van to get to.  You'd think that for such a short
flight, adding 15 minutes or more to get to the plane is a bit silly.  I
know that I'd never take American just to JFK because of this.  In any
case, after waiting forever, I finally got on the plane and to JFK
uneventfully, with only a little sleep on the flight.  Then I got to JFK
and walked seemingly forever to get to my terminal.  Seriously, the walk
had to have been nearly a mile total, and took like 20 minutes! Eventually,
I got to my gate, with only minor delays at security, and ran into my
roommate for the trip, Dan Harvey, a newbie to ACE who recently joined,
while playing Ms Pac-Man!  It just so happened that he was on my flight to
Tokyo.  The flight over was long and boring, but mostly uneventful.  I
spent much of it watching our route on the little video screen -- when I
wasn't asleep.  We flew over much of Canada, Alaska and even Siberia!
Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to see much of Canada or Alaska.  But I
slept through most of Canada anyways!  I did get to see Siberia, which was
pretty much all wasteland.  But for some reason, I found flying over it
fascinating.  As expected, the airline food was horrible. Why, of why,
didn't I stop at the deli at JFK? ;-)  Damn, this was a long fight!

Day 2 -- June 4 arrival in Tokyo and Aqua stadium

Eventually, we arrived at Tokyo about 30 minutes late, due to wind
patterns.  We were planning on taking the shuttle bus to our hotel.  But
Justin had said that he was going to try to gather a big group of us to go
to the nearby Aqua Stadium park to ride the new Intamin coasters there at
6PM.  And if we tried to take the shuttle, we wouldn't have made it.  So I
decided to take our chances and take the JR Narita Express train to the
Tokyo station, and take a cab from there.  We ran into a bunch of ACErs at
the airport, but the others were more nervous about the trains, and decided
to wait for the bus.  This was our first experience with the trains in
Japan, and it was an impressive one.  For the longer trips, you have
reserved seats, and line up on the platform at the spot for your car.  On
this train, there are racks my the doors for luggage.  Since crime is
nearly non-existent in Japan, no one worries about leaving their bags
there.  We arrived at Tokyo station on time, of course, and proceeded to
get lost trying to find out way out of the station!  There were actually
exit signs everywhere, but they all led to different corridors and
platforms!  With a little help, we managed to find our way outside, and
caught a cab.  Our cab driver spoke NO English at all (which we found odd
for one of the few jobs you would think would require some English!)
Luckily, I found a page from the hotel website I'd printed up, which had
the name of the hotel in Japanese!  Cabs are NOT cheap in Japan!  It ran us
$22 (almost as much as the train!),  but we decided it was worth it to get
to the hotel easily.

We arrived at the hotel and checked in without problem.  We quickly checked
in with the ECC, only to find that leaving for Aqua Stadium was delayed to
allow more people to come.  Dan was very happy to find that we had a free
internet connection in the room, which would be his lifeline to his family
and work.  We laughed over the super toilet with more buttons than many
computers!  You can heat the seat (we can't have a cold ass now, can we?)
And when you sit down, it loads up the extension with the bidet and ***
spray with water, so it's ready when needed!  The toilet has one button
with a picture of butt-cheeks to spray your ***and one with a picture of
a gal in a dress squatting.  You can guess what that one is for! ;-)  You
can even adjust the pressure of the spray.  But the basic default amount
was more than enough for me, thanks!  (Of course, I had to try it.  Tell me
you wouldn't!)

When we finally got ready to leave for Aqua Stadium, Justin announced that
it would be faster to take cabs.  But many of us opted to walk to try to
take in some of the city's sights.  Unfortunately, our route was pretty
site-less!  After about 15-20 minutes, we found Aqua Stadium.  I bought two
tickets for Galaxy Express 999, but most people only bought one.  I even
managed to find someone to take my credit card, even though that function
in the machines was broken.  While waiting for the coaster, we ran into
Americans Sean Flaherty, Jim Raimar, Matt Bacoulis and company, in the
middle of their crazy 50-park month-long trip.  Unfortunately, this would
be the only time we'd run into them.  The coaster was certainly an odd one.
It's themed around some Japanese cartoon that none of us were familiar
with.  First there was a preshow in a room where we stood over 3D
lenticular views of some futuristic city.  These two animatronic robots
talked to us in Japanese.  One of them was hitting his hand with a stick,
and I joked that he was saying "You ACErs better keep your seatbelts on, or
else!"  Then there is a fairly long movie in one of two matching pre-show
rooms.  The movie is the type you'd see in a simulator ride, even though we
were just standing in a room.  Finally, the doors open up, and you get to
ride.  The weird thing about the station is that there are two stations in
a row, one for each of the pre-show rooms.  I only knew this because I rode
twice and got a different room each time, even though they were only using
one of them at each time!  The coaster itself was decent, but nothing
special.  It had a nice launch (though not hugely forceful) into a good
loop.  Then it had lots of twists and turns and a huge helix around the
dolphin tank!  It had some decent lateral forces throughout the ride, but a
few people considered the ride rough.  The ride exited into a gift show
that had lots of merchandise about the cartoon, but no actual merchandise
for the ride.  We'd have to get used to this on the trip!  We also took
note of the extensively themed pirate ship.  It was so themed that it had a
whole show associated with it, complete with effects, lights, cannons,
water splashing and its own pirate song!

After Aqua Stadium, a bunch of us headed into the hotel's food court and
found lots of different types of food to eat.  I opted for two pasta
dishes, since I wasn't sure if I'd like either one.  But they were
relatively small, so I came close to finishing them.  The cream sauces that
they use on pasta in Japan have a weird taste to them that I couldn't
really get used to.  It wasn't strong here, but was bad in some other
places.  After a boring walk back to the hotel, we mostly all just went to
bed.  I was surprised that I actually managed to get to bed at a decent
hour most nights.  Sure, I was up later than most people, but I did manage
to get 6or more hours of sleep most nights, unlike the ACE Europe trip,
where I slept less than 4 hours almost every night.  But I didn't do nearly
as much off-trip sightseeing on this trip as I did then.  If I go back, I
imagine that I will.

PLEASE remove "STOPSPAM" from my address when replying via e-mail.

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by
 the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree
 in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support
 him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not
 to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he
 fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is
 unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or
 anyone else."
                             -- Theodore Roosevelt

 
 
 

TR: ECC/ACE Japan trip days 1-2

Post by STOPSPA » Sat, 01 Oct 2005 14:04:48



Quote:
>Japan trip day 1 -- June 3.  Flying, flying and more flying.
>Day 2 -- June 4 arrival in Tokyo and Aqua stadium

Um, I guess I was more sleep deprived that I thought!  The trip was in
SEPTEMBER, not June, as was pointed out to me by someone on the trip who'd
read my trip report!  Oops! ;-)


PLEASE remove "STOPSPAM" from my address when replying via e-mail.

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by
 the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree
 in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support
 him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not
 to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he
 fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is
 unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or
 anyone else."
                             -- Theodore Roosevelt