Sunday, January 26, 2014

perks of going against the grain

"Hi Claire," Bryan started out in his message to me, "I will be in Tokyo from the 15th through the 21st! If you're interested in coming up it would be great to see you and check out some sights around the city and I'd extend my stay so we could explore other parts of the country as well."

Would you like to join me in Japan, the note read. 

Not really, I thought.

I was all for meeting up with Bryan, mind you. It's just, Japan just never crossed my list of places to visit. The list it was on, actually, was the one written Places To Go If You Have No Other Option

So I debated. And debated. For a solid 24 hours, since a decision was needed quickly. I hesitantly consented. But the days following up to my arrival in Japan brought a swelling of excitement within me to see a country I never cared to step foot upon.

I googled the essential in order to ensure a great travel experience: the best food joints. I let Bryan do the rest. And an outline of the trip was starting to come together.

He was staying in a 5 star luxury hotel during the time he was there working. The rest of the stay would be on par with my low budget options. A low budget option I was going to take from the onset had I not thought I'd be stuck overnighting it in the Tokyo airport at my arrival.

After my dorm mate confirmed otherwise, quick communication exchanges were sent back and forth between Tokyo and Jakarta. I'd be making my grand entrance into the city in style. At a 5 star hotel stay.

My dorm mate and I traveled side by side up until the last train I needed to take in order to reach Bryan's hotel. At that point we parted ways, never to see each other again. He has reached sainthood in my eyes, though. And I would deem him as such, if only I could remember his name...

On that last train ride, I was greeted by two Japanese men commenting on how they loved my suitcase. It's flowery and tacky. I wouldn't expect anything less than love for it from the locals.

I hopped off the train and traded it for my final leg of the journey via taxi. A black luxury car with a little Japanese man dressed to the nines, donned in white gloves, drove me through the lit up streets of Tokyo. The roads were still busy, despite the middle of the night hour on a Thursday.

He led me to the front entrance of a towering hotel, I walked through the grand lobby including marble flooring, giant chandeliers and a two story water feature.

I buzzed the doorbell to Bryan's room, waking him up from his slumber. He welcomed me in, explaining he had another bed brought up, which he had taken; leaving me an entire king sized bed for myself fitted with plush pillows and a down-feather comforter.

I walked into the bathroom to shower pressure so strong I felt guilty using it, and toilets with heated seats.

Tokyo was a far cry from thin mattresses, low pressure cold showers, and squat toilets I had grown accustomed to. And I couldn't have been happier my response to Bryan's initial invitation to me was, "Sure! I'll head up to Japan, so go ahead and book the extension on your stay."

1 comment:

Patti said...

Wow. Talk about contrasts.