I have to say the best part of this was the flight from Portland International Airport to Vancouver International Airport. Because the weather was good the views were amazing! If I ever have to go to Vancouver again I would consider flying Air Canada if the weather is decent. From Mount Hood to Mount St Helens and Mount Adams up to Mount Rainer and beyond, it's worth it. Seeing Mount St Helens from the air was one of those moments that was above my expectations.
Because the flight was late there was no time to check out Vancouver's airport. First we had to walk a long way to Customs where we had to turn in a customs form along with answer questions. This was repeated at Narita Airport in Japan. Then it was another long walk back to the gates where we disembarked. Very tiring but not a long wait to get on the plane for Japan.
The plane was not bad and service was good. Although the food was mediocre. I remembered to pack a few granola bars which saved me. I did watch "The Martian" finally. Not bad but so obvious when they had a body double for Matt Damon. I probably got an hour of sleep since I did not bring a neck pillow and the two guys next to me were rather talkative with each other. Including singing Disney songs.
Into Narita with another customs card and a long very hot wait to get through it. I did have an interesting conversation with a Canadian woman so that helped since I felt a little dizzy in the heat. Finally done with customs and off to exchange money. Narita was packed with people, serious zoo with everyone going in every direction. I had trouble finding the line for money exchange because people were just standing everywhere blocking everything. All I could think is "Tokyo you are so not ready for the Olympics". Got my money, had a slightly futile exchange with woman at Keisei Railway desk. Her English was great, she just didn't want to be that helpful. Down to train station and so many people getting tickets at machines I passed on getting a commuter card. Transfer at Aoto (thanks to the helpful station masters for pointing out the right train). Finally arriving at Ningyocho Station. Found the elevator right away and out the right exit and walked several blocks in the stifling heat to the hotel.
So glad I found it without getting lost since this was my first time in Ningyocho and the area it was in was mostly concrete apartment buildings and offices. Checked in, found my room, then out to a konbini which was only a block away. Food and a two liter bottle of water. Bought a lot of those during my stay since most of the time the temperatures hit 35°c and 70% humidity. August in Japan. Ready to sleep I found out the bed was harder than sleeping on a tatami mat. Sleep was not going to be something I would get a lot of during my trip.
So while the views at the start of the trip were extraordinary, it was a very difficult start to returning to Tokyo. Not as drastic as the last time but off to a difficult start. If you are wondering what happened the last time, the posts are here for my experiences during the Great Tohoku Disaster in 2011. I am glad this time I did get to see these amazing views like this one of Mount Rainer.