Narita Express

view from my seat

view from my seat

My son Fred and I flew from Austin, TX, to Tokyo and arrived on Dec. 29. Following son Rob’s instructions, Fred bought 2 tickets on the Narita Express. However, when I went through the gate, a station agent stopped me. We had the express tickets that gave us a seat assignment, but not the basic tickets to the destination of Shinagawa . She helped Fred get the tickets we needed to exit at Shinagawa.

gratuitous picture of ourselves

gratuitous picture of ourselves

We got on the train well before the 6:19 departure but it started out at almost 15 minutes early. Wait a minute! They don’t start early here! At the next stop Fred asked a worker who confirmed we were not on the N’Ex so we jumped off immediately. Fortunately we were still at an airport train stop and we walked easily across to the right train. Found our assigned seats and started right on time … and in the opposite direction. Whew!

It’s a nice train with comfortable seats and room to stow luggage. Luggage shelves also feature combination locks attached to cords for security. I fooled around with one for a minute but couldn’t figure it out and just left my bags unsecured–it’s Japan, after all! Fred did lock his.

We paid attention to the map showing our current location, with just a few stops over an hour’s ride to Shinagawa. A snack/beverage vendor came through the aisles a couple of times. At Tokyo Station, some of the cars separated to continue on a different route. As the announcer suggested, I retrieved my luggage shortly before arrival so as not to create a traffic jam at the door.

Uh oh! Fred had been distracted when he entered his security code and forgot what it was! He quickly told me to go ahead and get off to go meet Rob. The train announcement had said if you forget the code, stay on board to the end of the line and have the agent unlock it (presumably if you can prove ownership).

So I got off the train and gradually figured out which direction to go. Rob came running down the stairs toward me and I said, “Fred’s still on the train! He can’t unlock his luggage!” Rob jumped on the train and off they went!

I made my way to a fountain where we were to meet. I took a few photos in the immediate area:

Eventually Rob’s wife Lin found me and we picked up her car (via car sharing–rented until 9:30 pm). The garage stows cars on movable racks. Once Lin paid the attendant and he retrieved the car, she backed it up onto a round platform that he rotated around toward the exit. Great use of small spaces.

Off we went to the apartment to drop off my luggage then go to the Yokohama Station where Rob and Fred and his luggage were going. Funny thing about that luggage–I had the baggage tags with me. It’s a good thing the agent finally accepted  his claim of ownership!

Even with the extra driving, the car was safely returned before 9:30. After some delicious carrot soup, we went to bed, tired but grateful to be together.

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