We boarded the Shinkansen at the start of peak hour so the carriages were packed. On the way I got talking to a very funny lady who was obviously curious about us and our travels. We swapped some travel stories, taught each other a few words (Sakura!), and she had a thoroughly good laugh when I showed her the makeover photos.
I think the best part of our conversation was when she was genuinely surprised to learn that Australia didn’t have public nude bathing! Or maybe it was when I successfully said ‘it was lovely to meet you’ in Japanese (‘Anata ni aete ureshi’) and she was really pleased, bowed, and waved goodbye.
The whole conversation was definitely one of those intimate moments that makes travelling so satisfying.
Arrival in Tokyo
We arrived in Tokyo at 7.30pm and were on the Yamanote line at absolute peak hour with 12kgs of luggage and backpacks. THAT was an experience. This was the platform as we boarded for Ueno:
That train ride was a challenge. You could really tell just how much the every-day commuters hated us.
Luckily for us, by this point, we were kind of delirious so everything was just silly fun. When we emerged from the sardine tin that the train had become, and onto Ueno train station, Monique’s bag tumbled off it’s wheels and onto it’s side turning completely onto it’s top. We dealt with this by having laughing fits.
I’m sure the business commuters thought we were quite mad or some really annoying assholes.
Finding Hotel Sardonyx
Once we’d composed ourselves we had to find our way to our new hotel: Hotel Sardonyx.
From the map it seemed pretty simple – exit Ueno train station and it’s just around the corner and down the street.
Well. This is one of the 4-5 exits at Ueno train station:
As you can probably imagine we got lost. By this point it was late, very dark, and freezing cold. We were hungry and tired and my ankle was in absolute agony.
But lucky for us the man who we asked for directions did us the nicest favour. He didn’t just point us in the right direction. He didn’t just walk us to a corner and then direct us from there. He walked us right to the door of our hotel. I have honestly, in all my life, never been as grateful as I was at that moment. I gave him the full ‘Domo Arigato Gozaimasu‘ with a deep bow, which totally made him smirk, but I was that thankful.
We checked in for the night, gratefully dumped our bags, and collapsed on the bed – exhausted.
But what a view! The vibe of Tokyo was already seeping into us and even now, Kyoto seemed like a distant, if not pleasant, memory in the wake of the sprawling metropolis in front of us that was begging for exploration.
Next post: Hotel Sardonyx review.
Until next time,
Kally & Mon.
Ever been trapped on public transport at peak hour with luggage? Was your experience funny or frustrating? Let us know, leave a comment. 🙂