So I ducked under the blizzard. My flight was cancelled the night before but in the morning I was able to snag the last seat on a later Madison-Chicago flight and make the connection with the nonstop 13 hour ride to
After clearing customs I converted my train voucher (a tourist train pass available for purchase only OUTSIDE
I asked on the platform if I was getting on the right train because NOTHING indicated it was the same one on the ticket. I dragged my collection of luggage on and found my seat. Spent about an hour getting nodding-off whiplash before I started getting nervous. I nudged the woman next to me and asked Shinjuku? She spoke no English. She looked at the ticket and then made an X with her forearms in front of her chest. It was like Family Feud without the nasty buzzing sound. Two more and the other team would have a chance to steal.
She asked the guy behind us to be sure. He asked someone else setting off a chain reaction of Shinjuku interrogatives and perhaps a few cross-armed X’s. Finally a sort of attendant with a vending cart came by and assured me I was in the right place. Yuko, the woman next to me, decided she would give me her phone number. I tried to imagine two people waving their arms silently on opposite ends of the phone connection. Seemed odd, but a nice gesture. I tried to sell her the English school I represent.
I had a map and just pointed and made weird noises for the taxi driver. We exchanged a lot of bows and nodding along with some more noises. It was only a few blocks away.
My room is just large enough for my luggage and the little bed. I may put the two suitcases inside and sleep in the hall. The toilet has what looks like a large remote control console on it with lots of buttons. I am afraid to push any of them. I feel a bit vulnerable, if you know what I mean.
The pillow on the bed is stuffed with the “beans” of a bean bag, but I was relieved to find the other side had something puffier and synthetic. Reversible pillows. Fancy.
Dog tired. Tomorrow I brave the subway and my maps that have nothing but Japanese figures on them.