March 28, 2004, 22:30: Tokyo, Japan - New Takanawa Prince Hotel
Yesterday, I did two things I'd really been itching to do: Go surfing again and meet my long time friend Dean. The surfing kicked my ass - the waves were about 6 feet high sometimes, and it was very hard work trying to walk back out into that, and paddle like mad to catch a wave. You need to be really fit to do this activity effectively. I'll keep that in mind for next time. I got back to the Hostel after the lesson, had a shower, and took off to a club in Kings Cross that I would be meeting Dean at. I walked up and down the strip again, and it was still as seedy as ever. I couldn't quite spot the club Dean had wanted to go to though. After a little bit, I got a call on my phone from Dean, and he told me he was outside, and just to walk down the street and meet him.
I walked for a short bit, and I saw Dean as he called out to me. Now this was a bit surreal - my last night in Australia, a foreign country which I'd grown quite accustomed to (as well as quite attached), and I'm hanging out in a posh club in Sydney with someone I'd consider a very good friend - only I was just meeting him in person for the first time. In all fairness though, when you've been talking to someone for years, you get a very good idea of who the person is, and what they are all about. I really enjoyed hanging out with Dean, and his friend Daniel, and we talked for a few hours in the club. I had to cut the night short due to the horrific time I had to get up to catch my shuttle, and took off, trying to grasp the events that just happened. It all felt so unreal, especially since I knew my stay was at an end. Resigned to the realization this was my last night in Australia, and that surfing had totally killed my energy, I fell asleep pretty quickly.
Today was a long day. I spent just about all my day from 5:30 am either commuting, or waiting to commute in the airport. Got up at 6, caught a shuttle to the Sydney airport, bought a few things in the tourist traps they have set up in the airport for a few people, and waited around for my flight. The flight was delayed by an hour and a half, and I was already there 2 and a half hours early, so I had some time to wait. I bought a bike magazine and ploughed through that in no time. I then bought the autobiography of Richard Branson, the man who started the whole Virgin Enterprise... It was a thick book, and ensured me a few hours of something to do on the plane. We eventually got on the plane after they replaced some parts (!), and soon, we were off to Tokyo. I really didn't want to leave Australia, but unfortunately, bills have been telling me otherwise. The flight was relatively uneventful, occasionally spiced up with a bit of turbulence. Actually, on further thought, there was a fair amount. Good stuff.
I got to Tokyo, cleared customs, and bought a ticket on the shuttle to the Hotel, which left in an hour. I continued reading my book, now getting a bit tired, and on the hour, the bus came. I checked my bag, and got in. It took 2 hours to get from the airport to the Hotel. I was expecting a much shorter commute, but I arrived at 10:15pm. This place is crazy. There's Sumo Wrestling on TV. I haven't gotten a good impression of it yet, as I'm not only extremely tired, but it's dark, and I haven't really been anywhere. I just know that I'm in a totally unfamiliar place, and it's very disorienting. Tomorrow, I go on an "organized" trip to Mt Fuji.