Just because you go to a cool, faraway destination it doesn't mean that the experience is going to be amazing. I promise to always be real about those trips that failed to impress me. However on this occasion, it was definitely my fault that it turned out to be a dud.
Japan is one of those places that I had fantasized about often. I love everything in Japanese pop culture and feel a healthy connection with most variations of eastern spirituality, not to mention that I'm pretty sure I was a Harajuku girl in a past life. Upon returning from Australia, the husband and I had the choice of a short layover in either Hong Kong or Tokyo and it wasn't even a second thought to pick Tokyo.
We were going to have 20 hours to spend there in between flights. The plan was to get to our hotel, shower and then take the train into Tokyo-proper to spend one wild and crazy night doing everything that we could. Before we left for the trip I had even arranged for a tattoo appointment early that next morning before our flight back home. It felt daunting since we've never been to an Asian country before, but we really felt the need to make the most of it!
We landed in Narita and checked into our hotel with no problem. We had maybe a few Australian dollars on us, but we were pretty sure that being equipped with our credit cards and ATM cards would be just fine. We took a taxi to the Narita train station at about 9pm and were able to use a credit card to pay for the cab ride. But to our dismay the train station kiosks would not take any of our cards. The town was almost completely shut down for the night and we eventually spotted an ATM. Again our plans were foiled when none of our cards were accepted at the machine. We were stranded! We had no way to conveniently get into the heart of the city and there was no way that I was going to be able to make my tattoo appointment in the morning.
Feeling defeated, we wandered around the quiet town of Narita and tried to take in as much of the traditional Japanese charm that one can see from street level. Eventually we stumbled upon a karaoke bar that was open however they only took Japanese, Australian, or American cash. We didn't even have enough to buy a Kirin beer.
I think I have a total of eight photographs from that night including one of me standing by a cute beverage vending machine; not much to write home about. We eventually got a cab back to our hotel and had to resort to eating chicken fingers and french fries in the hotel restaurant. How very Japanese... The remainder of the trip consisted of watching crazy Japanese television and then heading to Narita airport. Which I have to say is probably the coolest airport I've ever been to. They have tons of shops and things to do and the Japanese Airlines lounge was pretty swanky.
While waiting for a flight back to the states, I purchased some Japanese fashion magazines and vowed to make it back one day with a very well-prepared itinerary and wallet!