Thursday, January 27, 2011

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles-Farewell Taiwan Hello Japan

Our Final day in Taiwan, we had a closing ceremony where each participant was able to get up and tell the group what the trip meant to them.  Although I had many favorite things, making tea and getting to know the farmers was high on my list.  We were treated to a wonderful vegetarian buffet lunch afterwards.  After lunch, we prepared for our trip to Japan.  It was suggested that we pack our smaller bag for Japan and leave the other stored in the airport upon arrival.  Boy, was that ever a good suggestion!

We had a 6:15 a.m. departure time.  Four member of our group weren't coming with us to Japan.  As you can see below, I don't think our bus could have fit one more person or one more bag on it. 

You can just barely see my head peering out from all the luggage behind my friends Lynayn and Elise.  I am glad there were no quick stops on our way to the airport!  This was the first mode of transportation for the day.  I have labeled this the automobile part of the trip!
We got to the Taiwan airport without any luggage falling!  We then checked in for the second mode of transportation of the day-planes.  Not all of us were on the same flight to Japan.  We had our designated spot to meet in the Tokyo/Narita airport.  There were six of us flying Delta.  We arrived in Japan late as our plane didn't take off on time.  We quickly found where to store our luggage, exchange our money, and go meet our group.  There was a little mix up, but we managed to make it just in time to get on our first train which left from the airport.

The train part of our journey was two-part and the third mode of transportation of the day.  After about an hour long train ride, we got off at the Shingansen station to switch trains.  This time we would be traveling on Japan's high speed train known as the "bullet train."  We only had about 15 minutes to figure out how to find our next train.  The train station was very crowded as it was the beginning of evening rush hour and many commuters ride the train to and from work.  We got on the train in just the nick of time and we were off.  The ride is so smooth, you don't really realize how fast you are going. 

We arrived on time and our hosts were there to greet us at the train station.  We walked from the station to our hotel across the street and down just a bit.  As we dropped off our luggage in the lobby, we had been traveling about 12 hours by this time.  It occurred to me how grateful I was for the suggestion to leave our large piece of luggage at the airport. 

Here are our hosts for the Japan part of our trip.  
Mr. Yamanashi, his daughter who interpreted for us Kazuko Kirita and her husband
After a lovely introduction, we sat down to a wonderful Japanese meal.  We cooked our food on the table.  We were treated to a wonderful assortment of vegetables and Kobe beef.  Some of us even had some cold Saki!

Here is the view from our hotel door as I greeted Japan hello and said goodnight!  I couldn't wait to wake up and see it in the daylight.  I hope you enjoyed my version of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles!  Has you ever been on a high speed train before?  I would love to hear about your adventures!

Come discover Japan green tea with me in the next few blogs! 

Happy Sipping, Lisa

1 comment:

  1. Dearest Lisa,

    In July of 2007 I was the chaperon, with another teacher, to guide 6 students on an exchange to Japan to our sister-city Osaki. We stayed in Tokyo for two nights and by train to our host families for a home stay. Even though our itinerary read we were traveling by bullet train but we did not. So I missed that opportunity!
    Your Taiwan tea adventure had a very nice ending and you got to experience the Asian way of traveling by bus. Safety does not seem to have the same meaning as it does here in the USA. But most of the times it works out well; as it did with your trip.
    Oh, in such overpopulated areas it is always smart to travel as light as you can. Constantly hopping on and off buses and trains will teach you this in a hurry.
    Looking forward to the rest of your Japan adventure.
    You did not fill us in on your end station where the bullet train (Shinkansen) got you off to... Maybe you did that on purpose in order to keep us captivated!

    Thanks for sharing this again.

    Have a nice weekend!