To Haneda airport and back

Nao's friend was to leave for his boarding school in Hokkaido today and we went along to the airport because we had nothing better to do. We got picked up from Kasukabe station by this guy who drives a Mercedes. Tsuchiya - that's his name - is 28, can't read kanji, works as a physics tutor, speaks English better than Japanese although he is Japanese, and likes to drive 'fast and furious'. Tsuchiya is also working as a VB programmer and just developed a schedule program for some educational institution.

The conversation was mostly about random things like him riding the bike from Rome to Frankfurt without a map and any knowledge of Italian or German. He ended up in some countryside town in Germany but did manage to get to Frankfurt 4 hours before his flight back to Japan left.

We picked up Nao's friend (I can't remember his name) and his mum as well as Tsuchiya's girlfriend. Now, as you might know if you have been counting along, this created some problems because it is quite hard to fit 6 people in a 5 seat-car. The trunk couldn't be used as an optional seat because it was full with Mario's (we'll call Nao's friend Mario from now on for convenience) massive suitcase. Nao and I ended up taking the train. Tsuchiya and his girlfriend let us borrow their train cards - the ones that you just have to swipe over the ticket-vaildator-gate-thingy.

We took the train to a station with an incredible long name, 3 stations south of Tokyo station. There we changed to the Tokyo monorail! Pretty cool it was too. We had a really good view on Tokyo and later on Tokyo Harbour. Haneda Airport's Terminal 2 opened just a few days ago and was the last stop on the monorail. Everything was really new and shiny and there were more windows than walls.

A bit of monorail track!

Mario's flight got cancelled due to snowing in Hakudate (in Hokkaido, Japan's northern most island) so we had some Ouba (soup with noodles in it) for lunch at the airport and then drove back towards home. Tsuchiya gave us a card for public transport worth 3000yen so that we didn't have to pay for the train ride home.

From left to right: Tsuchiya's girlfriend, Tsuchiya, Mario's mum and Mario