Monday, January 31, 2011

Aaaaand I made it.

Good morning from Tokyo, everyone. 
Limo bus ride from the airport through Tokyo

Yes, I am safe and in Japan. I hope no one's missing me too much, yet (otherwise, it might be a long three months). Currently, I'm sitting on my uncle Paul's couch staring at some very familiar objects;  a TV, a bookshelf full of movies, a cup of coffee, a kitchen table, a piano, a Lilo and Stitch Kleenex box. It's as if I just went over to my aunt and uncle's place to hang out. Oh, and by the way, their house is 17 hours away from my house (via plane; add 34 days via kayak) on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

It's only when I look outside that things get weird. Two-story townhouses packed together in odd clusters, interspersed with tiny, meandering streets and precisely placed trees cloud my vision. It feels like I'm in Asian Boston. 

Asian Boston
Stepping off the plane into the airport, I expected to be overwhelmed and terrified. But Tokyo Airport, although large, didn't feel like it was nearly so foreign as I thought it would be. In fact, even stepping outside into the fierce urban jungle with my aunt, I didn't feel like I had just flown 6800 miles and landed in the largest city in the world. The only thing that really tipped me off was the face masks, which made me feel like I was clearly on another planet.

That's right, face masks. Just about 20 percent of people here walk around in broad daylight wearing what can only be described as white, hospital grade, nose and mouth covering masks to protect from germs, pathogens, and allergies. Everyone wears them, whether they're working in the supermarket or walking down the street. It's a cultural thing. Every time I start thinking I'm in the middle of a major pandemic I have to remind myself that this is actually cool and normal (trendy?) here. It's purely precautionary.. and MEGA creepy.

Lastly, I'm excited to say that I have already tried sushi (we went to the grocery store last night), and it was delightful, though the options were a little bit more diverse than Nebraska sushi.

(top) egg, eel, octopus, fish egg, salmon, (bottom) shrimp, shellfish, more salmon, and squid.

Let me just say it; eating octopus is like eating wet rubber. The eel was actually good. The shellfish was.. semi-crunchy. Oh, and fish eggs are more of an activity than a food.

Well, it comes time for me to wind this up and be a part of my Japan family. Japanfam. Japamily. Jamily. I just want to send a lot of love to you all back in the states and let you know that I've had a full eleven hours of sleep and am feeling great. Carpe Diem!

Michael Out.


  1. Glad you made it safe, have a great time! You are missing a snow storm here...

    Emily out.

  2. Thanks Emily!

    I heard about the storm.. stay safe you guys. Don't die in a blizzard before I get back. Seriously, don't. It's gotta be you, or the blizzard, guys, so make it happen!

  3. Thanks for the update Mike - glad you made it safe! Praying for you!