Mainland Japan didn't exactly get off on the right foot with us. We met up at Haneda airport just fine and made it to the neighborhood of our hotel. We decided for a uniquely Japanese experience, to spend our first night in a capsule hotel. Google Maps got us to the block where it was located and we then wandered back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, before asking a friendly-looking Japanese girl for help. She couldn't find it either, but then a man handing out flyers for a club overheard us talking and showed us the elevator for where it was located above an English pub. We got inside, locked up our shoes in a shoe locker in the lobby, and located our capsules without incident.
Then we decided to go out for dinner. We walked down the street, found an udon restaurant, went in and were seated. Then we waited a very long time while the waitstaff buzzed by without stopping until a Japanese man next to us flagged someone down to take our order. Udon is a type of noodle typically served in broth. After taking our order, our waiter returned. With bibs.
We scanned the room and noticed that not a single other person in the restaurant had a bib. We were also the only foreigners there. We put the bibs in our laps. The waiter looked vaguely apologetic. When our food arrived, my noodles were in sauce more so than broth and on my tray: a fork.
The fork and bib got the same amount of usage, which consisted of posing for this photo.
We returned to our hotel where Amy was very excited about taking a shower (she'd flown from DC to Paris, spent a 12 hour layover seeing the sights and eating the cheese, then on to Tokyo, making for one very long day) though after standing in a long line, she reported that there wasn't much water pressure. Around 10pm, we closed the rolling shades at the entrance to our capsules to go to sleep. There really was plenty of space in there (unless you're much taller than I am, 5'6, in which case it would be a bit short for you) and the shade rather than door kept it from feeling coffin-like, though it didn't block noise at all.
Some American girls were loudly talking and there was the jingle of keys on bracelets as women went by us to the bathroom. But that would taper off and it would get quiet. Right?
Nope. The jingling just kept going and going. Apparently, the cleaning lady worked overnight while wearing one of these for some reason. I thought maybe I was just being an oversensitive light sleeper, but no, even Amy after being awake for over 24 hours only got a couple hours of sleep. I gave up at 5:30 and got up to shower when there was no line and plenty of water pressure.
We went out for breakfast and coffee, checked out, and were then completely unable to find our bus to Kanagawa Station, near Mt Fuji, or get directions to it. So we bought train tickets and went to our platform. Where we were told that it was the platform for the local and we had tickets for the express on a different platform. It was about time for our train to leave, so we sprinted downstairs and back up to the correct platform, where the conductor said there had been an accident on that line and we could either wait (one hour...or two?) for that train or just take the local, where we'd have to switch trains partway. So we went back and got on a local train, proceeded to miss our stop and go very far out of the way before turning back and getting on a train to the station where were supposed to switch and then paying extra to get on an express from there to our actual destination.
This, folks, is why you want to carefully choose your travel buddies. This could have gone very badly, espcially considering we were both sleep deprived. Instead, we just kept saying how it was good that it was all happening that day because we really didn't have anything planned for the afternoon anyway. And maybe we were using up all of our bad travel luck and would have good travel luck the rest of the time. Amy and I had done a bit of travel together back when I lived in DC, long weekends to Virginia Beach for a half-marathon and to Rehoboth Beach for the beach, but we'd also done a whole lot of running together. When you run with someone, much like when you travel with someone, you see them at their worst, when they are tired and stressed and frustrated, and see how they deal with those things. And how you deal with how they deal with them. We pretty much kept our collective cool and were rewarded with a quiet hostel room that night, good travel luck in the week to follow, and one adorable train for the last leg of that day's journey.