My direct flight to Tokyo on JAL007 from Boston was uneventful and arrived on time. A last minute phone call from my daughter Jodi made for a wonderful beginning to the journey. Much too excited and also concerned about Toma, I relaxed listening to music but did not sleep.
On my arrival I was given priority status at passport control and quickly issued my Japanese Residence ID. Finding myself the first passenger in the baggage area, I was pleased that my luggage was among the first off-loaded. My good luck continued as the six pieces of luggage with my residency status were not an issue at customs clearance. I was united with Keiko in a record 30 minutes from the time I landed in Japan. I was so happy to see her and my niece Mai there to welcome me to my new home.
We had a 45 minute train ride from Narita Airport to our Tokyo condo where we were joined by Keiko’s sister Yuko for a brief tour of the unit. I am most impressed with and thankful for all the work Keiko did to have our new home ready. We then went to a nearby restaurant for some sushi. Asleep by 10:30pm JST, I awoke at 5:30am feeling well rested and looking forward to my first day in my adopted country.
Keiko and I first went to the Adachi-ku town office to complete my registration process and documentation for Japanese national health insurance. We fortunately arrived as they opened as there were many required documents. Although the office quickly became a very busy place, the friendly staff handled our case quickly and efficiently.
Before continuing we stopped for breakfast at one of my favorite cafes, Paul’s. I first learned of this French bakery chain when I lived and worked in Tokyo on the 2001 FIFA World Cup. Great food and great memories! A perfect way to start the day.
Our next stop was at a SoftBank store to connect my phone to their mobile telephone network. Although mobile service is slightly more expensive in Japan than the USA, I believe the service is faster, more reliable and offers more features. And, we are saving considerable amounts on monthly expenses for condo cable TV and internet services.
On our way home we stopped at an ever present convenience store for some lunch provisions. Keiko spent the afternoon working from home. I took a nap and later unpacked the four suitcases we had delivered rather than bringing them with us on the train from Narita Airport the previous evening.
All afternoon, however, we shared thoughts anticipating the expected arrival of Toma later in the day. The company handling Toma’s travel kept us well informed during his journey. This photo taken during the Frankfurt Germany layover at the airport’s pet comfort station tells the story a lonely, bewildered Toma.
Toma arrived in Tokyo about 12:30pm where he was greeted by a Japanese firm hired to clear him through the pet import process and deliver him to our home. They called or texted us with status reports throughout the afternoon and at 7:30pm a very happy Toma was home with us!
It will likely take Toma, as any world travel will understand, a few days to recover from his jet lag and travel experience. That said, he seems filled with energy and joy in our new home.
October 2, 2019 – Adachi-ku, Tokyo, Japan