Thursday, July 22, 2004

21/7 Leaving Tokyo

Breakfast of miso soup and bean curd. Not too bad. But there was a ginger condiment which was particularly hot, although I usually like ginger I didn't like this one. And an odd blue pickle. The pickle was a little too strong for me and I couldn’t finish it. To waste some time before the aircraft leaves I go up to the hotel shop. I buy some postcards to send back to Australia. 500ml of coke is Y160. The area where the hotel is located appears to be industrial. There aren’t any footpaths to speak of but many carparks. I assume to service the airport.
The bus takes all the transferring passengers back to the airport. I can even check in at the hotel itself, very convenient. Last images are of driving between the concrete buildings in this area. There are little pink paper notes stuck over everything. Even a few stuck on tall grass stems. For a country in the middle of it’s summer, the vegetation is quite green and grows out of almost every conceivable nook and cranny.
We board at about 13:40 local time. There has not been an auspicious start as the aircraft was delayed due to a “water system maintenance”. As we taxi out I can see the airport’s name in a hedge along with a sort of floral clock. Both near the start of runway 16R. There also looks like an aircraft museum or similar off the end of 34L as we take off.
As we climb away, I notice the land around Narita is different to the Australian landscape. There seem to be urban pockets in bright green countryside. Not what I would call rural. I don’t see any patches of clear ground bigger than about 1k long. If the ground is not wooded it is either built on or cultivated. As we leave I can’t see Tokyo. The air is too mucky, even from 6000’ I can only see about 20km. And we enter cloud at 12000’.

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