This is one of a series of blogs which describe my trip to Japan in April 2012. To see further blogs in the series, click on “Japan Odyssey” in the Tag Cloud.
Travel from Narita Airport, 40 miles to Tokyo centre by limosine. Except it is not a limosine, it’s a coach — no horses — just the posh bus variety. Still it has a uniformed driver in white gloves and an assistant to load your luggage. The journey takes about an hour, mainly on a motorway with high walls and fences on each side, so not much to see.
Observing the vehicles on the motorway, they are nearly all Japanese. Quite a contrast with the UK, where most cars are foreign made. The number plates seem odd, as they only have four digets — you would think they would need at least seven like the UK, given the zillions of cars made by Toyota and Nissan.
Eventually we arrive at the coach drop off point, which proves conclusively that it is no limmo, as we now have to get a taxi to our hotel. So we drag our suitcases to the nearest taxi rank, which is inconveniently located on the opposite side of a busy dual carrigeway. There we are met by another man in a uniform and white gloves, who organises us into a queue.
When we reach the front of the queue, our taxi driver pulls up, gets out of the car to load our cases — and Number One Son starts talking to him in Japanese ! I am already tired and jetlagged, now I am completely befuddled. Tom has been learning to speak Japanese during the last 12 months and waited until this moment to surprise me. BRILLIANT.
Smartly dressed taxi driver in an informal uniform — black trousers, white shirt, black waistcote,white gloves. Not at all like the casualness of UK cabbies. His car doors opened and closed automatically. The interior of the cab was sparklingly clean and rather strangly draped in lace — like grannies antimacassers on the sofa.
A strange start.