There will always be a thrill of adrenaline when walking into an airport. The excitement was contagious since my girls were finally getting to walk through the security area that has seen so many family members pass through. Even with arriving at RDU by 4:30 am, we were all pumped and ready for this long awaited adventure.
The girls could not have done any better on each of the flights especially considering this was their first time flying. I think one of Sophie's favorite parts of flying was being allowed to chew gum (a privilege that doesn't come until our girls turn 6). Our longest flight from LA to Tokyo (over 11 hours...) was full of movies, great food, some sleep, and amazing service! Flying the Japanese airline, ANA has officially spoiled us. It can't compare with United Airlines.
Arriving in Tokyo was a whirlwind! We landed around 4:30 pm on Wednesday (a full day of traveling with stops in Houston, Los Angeles, and finally Tokyo). Upon arriving and making it through customs easily, my parents were right there waiting for us. Such a relief! The next few hours consisted of getting our train passes & pocket wifi, checking out the cool Japanese bathrooms, eating Subway, and trying my hand at speaking Japanese while ordering McDonald's french fries. Pitiful, to say the least...
Since our family was awake by 4:30 am the following morning (this picture was taken a little after 5 am), we enjoyed walking through the Japanese garden on the grounds of our hotel, and a relaxing breakfast at Starbucks in the airport (since we had a free shuttle to and from our hotel).
There was a train station under Narita Airport making transportation into Tokyo so convenient. The Japanese train system is incredible! So efficient, so clean, and so fast (more about that later!)
My girls fully embraced the experience of train riding, taking in the sights, watching the countryside change within the span of minutes from rice fields to the sky scrapers of one of the largest cities in the world.
Our mission for the day was to view Tokyo... from as high as possible. A short walk, with plenty of sights to take in, led us to the Tokyo Tower looming above a local temple (so typical of Japan to have the old and new intertwined).
Signs of a nation in desperate need of Jesus were always present. My heart broke during these times, but it gave opportunities to share with our girls the need for the gospel to be proclaimed in a nation steeped in idol and ancestor worship.
Tokyo Tower was full of amazing views, Chloe's lost wallet, Naomi's "fright height," and a mysterious baseball found at the top of the tower during renovations. We couldn't have asked for better weather on our day of viewing. I had hoped to see a glimpse of Mt. Fuji, but maybe the actual hike will happen on another trip...
My little middle noticed this quaint park on our way to the tower, so an unplanned stop on our way to lunch was enjoyed by all of us.
CoCo Curry was our choice for lunch. So many memories flooding back... I was so proud of my family in this area of traveling. They all tried foods new to them and never complained.
Needless to say, jet lag caught up with us by early afternoon. Even the bribe of the hotel pool was almost not enough to wake up our little Naomi. But after a quick swim with Nana & Daddy, we were back to the airport for a traditional Japanese supper (gyoza, soba, edamame, and yakisoba) where Sophie "practiced her bowing" while falling asleep during the meal.
More to come soon...