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Arrival in Japan

There various ways to the land of the rising sun, and the longest is actually the trip with the Trans-Siberian train to Vladivostok (and from there with a ship to Niigata in Japan). We decide to use the airplane via London with BA. Through early booking and thanks to the strong Euro the flight fee was only a minor part of the total travel expenses.

 The online check-in made the take off procedures quite easy, and after a short stop-over at Heathrow/London we were again in an attitude of about 12000m by minus 55-60 degrees outside temperature.

Mealtimes, beverage services, and a wide selection of movies, television channels, reports music channels and flight information on the individual screen reduced the travel time, and only after sitting comfortably for 12 hours (unnecessary movements were not possible) we started with the visa entry procedure, which still is a very important act of administration.

Narita Airport had changed again, as the airport seems to be extended continuously, and there were still various police men armed with jo and shields. Koreyuki san (he is 72 years old and is practicing Aikido for more than 20 years) was already waiting at the arrival lobby, and only within some minutes we were sitting in his luxury car bound for Tokyo.

The highway to Tokyo is not very exciting as there are various walls for sight and noise protection along the way. Our driver had to pay over and over again at the various tollhouses (the toll reduced automatically when passing the gate), but he did not care so very much about the speed limit of 80km/h, which reduced travel time considerably.

Already far away from Tokyo’s city border endless areas of blocks of houses, nicely built as mass bunkers, and overall accumulation of wooden huts, which are assembled as closely to each other as possible replacing every green spot. Only the areas close to the river riverbeds are still undeveloped. After reaching Tokyo city Koreyuki san drove us through whole Tokyo (along the highways high over the city mostly within noise protection walls), along a new bridge over Tokyo Bay and then towards Shibuya, where the hotel was located.

Although we were terrible tired (one of the passengers, who’s name will not be given, was hanging at the back seat and not any more able to push the camera trigger) we were very thankful for this individual sightseeing tour.

After repeated driving round, encircling and finally arresting of our destination we then spotted the place to stay for the next weeks.

Unnecessary to mention that shortly after arriving at the hotel we again started a half hour walk, which would become a matter of habit during the next weeks, and headed for the Tendokan, where we received our new Dogis and Hakamas, which we immediately tested carefully during the next three hours of practice …

C & P