Well, as you can probably extrapolate from the fact that I’m writing another blog post, we arrived safely in Japan as scheduled. Although the plane took off late, we actually arrived a tiny bit earlier than forecast. In this blog post, I’ll answer a few more FAQ’s from both before and after the move. In the next blog post, I’ll talk about our travel experience and my first impressions of Japan.
FAQ #8: What direction will you be flying?
Answer #8: We flew (from Texas) northward across Canada, westward across Alaska, and then back down southward close to the Russian coast. We landed in Narita Airport, which is the closest airport to Tokyo, took a train into Tokyo, and then took two more trains to arrive in Minato-ku, where we live.
FAQ #9: Huh? I thought you were going to be living in Tokyo…
Answer #9: Yes, we are living in Tokyo.
Japan is made up of four major islands. Each island is divided into prefectures (to for Tokyo Prefecture, dou for Hokkaido Prefecture, fu for Kyoto and Osaka Prefectures, and ken for the other 43 prefectures). Prefectures are further divided into cities (shi) and districts. Districts are divided into towns and villages. The biggest cities are divided into wards (ku). In English, the wards call themselves “____ City,” but in Japanese, it’s “_____-ku.”
All of that to say… we live in Minato-ku, Tokyo-shi, Tokyo-to, on Honshu (the “mainland” island). When mailing a letter or package, the address is simply “Minato-ku, Tokyo”—no need to write out “Tokyo-shi, Tokyo-to” or to specify the island.
FAQ #10: Are you taking the stroller?
Answer #10: No. It wouldn’t fit anywhere! We elected to bring the baby carrier/sling. Now that we’re here, I know we did the right thing. I’ve only seen two other women with babies, but both used baby carriers. Furthermore, there’s a lot of up and down (the nearest department store, for example, is in the basement of a building) with few elevators that I’ve seen—not a wheelchair-friendly place to live—and lots of stairs and escalators. Aisles are narrow with sharp corners that would be physically impossible to navigate with a stroller. Even the sidewalks are often prohibitively narrow.
FAQ #11: Did you forget anything?
Answer #11: Yes, baby wipes. Kind of a problem. We managed to buy more before running out, though. Also, I seem not to have packed any deodorant. Maybe I left it on a table near where I was packing. I’m using Derek’s for now and, I have to say, male deodorant is quite pungent compared to female deodorant.
FAQ #12: How did Ada do on the flight?
Answer #12: She did splendidly. She had no problems on either takeoff or landing and made lots of friends on the flight. She only took two brief naps in our arms.