I can think of a lot of words to describe day one, but stressful would probably be my top pick.
I arrived at Pearson and the first thing I had to do was open my carefully packed bike box and take everything out for x-raying, since it wouldn’t fit in the machine. Oops. After re-packing, and some unkind words from an Air Canada employee about putting more than just the bike in the box, we went off to the Amex lounge.
The normal Plaza Premium lounge was closed so we went to their temporary setup down the hall. Not as fancy, but still plenty of free meatballs, linguine, and booze. Spent a bit of time there before boarding our completely full flight. It’s been a while since I’ve had to take a 13 hour flight and I forgot how much it completely sucks. While the seats weren’t terrible, being stuck by the window can be akin to torture if you’ve got people next to you who are asleep and who you don’t want to wake up.
When we finally landed at Haneda we went to fill out the customs form and… shit, we can’t write down our destination on the form. Turns out some of those Japanese characters are much harder than they look to write. After a bit of confusion and broken English conversations though we were grabbing our bike boxes and luggage. After another situation of us not being able to write our address on a form, we were off for the subway.
I waited in line for a ticket machine only to realize when I got there that it was for pass cards only. Fortunately the woman at the desk was very helpful and got us the ticket we needed. After struggling to get our cart through the fare gates we made our way down to the platform, and then realized that we never picked up our pocket wifi that we had ordered. Shit.
Not wanting to deal with the bikes and fare gates again I went back up to the departures terminal and found it, having to ask 2 people for directions in the span of about 30 seconds. They pointed me in the right place, I grabbed the package that was waiting for me, and went back down to Mateo.
We got on our train to Yokohama and it wasn’t too bad. It was Saturday and just after rush hour hours anyway so I don’t think we were a big inconvenience. Lugging those 70 lb boxes up and down so many flights of stairs when you have a charlie horse though can be quite a pain (literally).
We somehow managed to find the right platform and train to get on to our destination station and it was a short 20 minute ride. At this point though we had been awake for over 24 hours, both of us having slept very little on the plane (myself maybe an hour, Mateo less). We were both just dead when we arrived at Fujisawa station but we still had the most important thing left to do – build our bikes up and go to our AirBnB.
Outside the station we opened up our boxes and began building. Fortunately there didn’t appear to be any damage to the bikes, and it went smoothly. I almost had a heart attack when I couldn’t find the skewer for my front wheel, but it was tucked away in a pannier pocket. We used what little GPS map we had saved on our phone to help navigate to our AirBnB. We ended up walking our bikes and boxes since we couldn’t find a place to recycle our boxes (not a big surprise given the lack of public trash bins here).
The final challenge of the night was finding where our AirBnB host actually was. Even after googling it, picking out the right building and the right door was a challenge, so we booted up our pocket wifi and just emailed our host, who came out shortly and got us. We dropped our bikes and bags and went to the local convenience store to grab some food before heading to bed for the evening.
That’s all for day one. The weather forecast is looking a bit cold and rainy for our first ride day on Monday but I guess we’ll have to just suck it up and deal with that.