May 21, 2004 pt1 – Narita Airport

I'm not this short - I was crouching down

I’m not this short – I was crouching down. From left to right: Flounder, Green, me, Hippie, Code Red.

My friends finally arrived today! I woke up early to tidy and vacuum my room. Before I left I pulled out my bright yellow Delta Upsilon Manitoba shirt and headed off to Narita airport on the slow trains. This involved taking the Odakyu line from Noborito to Shinjuku, the Yamanote line to Nippori, and the Keisei line to the airport.

After 2 hours in transit I arrived at Narita Terminal 2 about 20 minutes before the guys flight arrived. I left the train station in the basement of the airport, went through a security check, and then wandered around the terminal. The guys were flying a terrible flight from Winnipeg through Chicago to Narita Airport on United. In the arrivals area I couldn’t find their flight listed at all. After looking around at the signs I realized that United lands at Narita Terminal 1, so I was in the wrong terminal.

There were signs for a bus to terminal 1, but since I was more familiar with trains in Japan I bought a ticket and went back to the train platform. On the platform I learned that the next train between Terminal 2 and Terminal 1 was in 30 minutes. I tried to go back into the airport, but the train gate closed on me. I then attempted to use all of my Japanese skills to explain my situation to the train staff. Fortunately they understood and took pity on me. I walked away with a refund and directions to the bus which leaves every few minutes between the terminals.

Thanks to the incredibly slow lines in immigrations and customs I had to wait about an hour before my friends actually came into the arrival area. The entire time I had people staring at my bright yellow DU shirt. The shirt was very bright, but it did make me extremely easy to find in the crowd. After exchanging greetings and manly hugs, the guys showed me the souvenirs they brought from Canada; a case of Kraft Dinner and a 12 of Moosehead beer. I am so Canadian.

While the guys took turns exchanging money and cashing in travelers cheques, I was approached by an unlicensed taxi driver who offered to drive us to Kawasaki. I know he was unlicensed because no taxi drivers are allowed to solicit business in the airport terminal. I expect that our cab ride from Narita to Hello House would have been extremely expensive. I finally got him to leave and we bought tickets for the Narita Express.

Just like when I arrived months earlier, we changed trains in Shinjuku during rush hour. I took the group outside to get their first look at the Shinjuku skyline and mobs of people. If you ever bring people to Japan I recommend doing this. We changed to the Odakyu line and traveled the rest of the way to Hello House incident free. The Team Awesome Sauce adventure was about to begin!

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