The First Day
So it has begun. I woke up very groggy this morning in Haneda Airport after not having a very good nights sleep. The facilities were grand, 24-hour restaurants, showers, and the cleanest toilets I have ever seen, but the announcements for flights and people were going on all night. I’m sure I slept through quite a few of these announcements, but it did not seem like it. Every half hour or so I would be awoken by them, I would then doze off again and bam, another announcement. It was a free nights accommodation though so I shouldn’t complain too much.
So after getting my things together and having breakfast at Yoshinoya (my favourite chain of Japanese restaurants), I bought a ticket and took the train two stops out of the airport.. It was a beautiful day out, perfect temperature, and Tokyo was in fine form.
Although I have lived here before I had forgotten so many things about it. The level of organisation here, especially when coming straight from Indonesia, is astounding. Everything is clean and runs like clockwork, from the trains to the garbage disposal, it seemed that everyone had a purpose and was getting on with it, a far cry from Bali where people choose to move at a more leisurely pace. Also I forgot about the sheer size of Tokyo and its high population density. There are just so many apartments, shops, small manufactures, restaurants; all mixed in together, and it seems to never end. I walked nearly 30 kilometres today and not once did feel like I was in the countryside. The hustle and bustle of Tokyo just continued, even out here in the outskirts.
So the beginning of the day was fantastic; I distinctly remember having the thought “it’s good to be alive.” I was here, in Japan, doing what I have planned to do for the last three years, things could not get much better. By the end of the day it felt like I was walking on two bloodied nubs that used to have feet at the end of them, and I distinctly remember having the thought “Oh god why did I not train before coming on this cursed walk.” Two months of drinking and relaxing in Bali simply did not cut the mustard. I really felt the extra 18kg weight on my back, and throughout the day my legs got more and more sore, I got a HUGE blister on my little toe, which burst when I was taking off the blister patch I put on it, useless things, and to top it off I got ridiculed by a bunch of little kids about how my yellow sweater makes me look like Pikachu. Yes, the day was not all good, but it was mostly good. Even with the high degree of physical pain, I still enjoyed the experience of moving through the urban jungle known as Tokyo.
I’m sitting here now by a small stream where I have set up camp for the night, my thoughts flicking between missing everyone back at home, being very glad at being here and having this experience, and also being worried if I will actually be able to walk tomorrow because of the abuse I put my legs through today.