How Do You Say “Taxi” In Japanese?

August 3, 2010

in OldSchool, Taking the Scenic Route

Alright kids, we’re coming to the end of my one-woman odessey to the land DSL forgot so I have one last road trip down memory lane for ya’ll.  
(Although be sure to come back tomorrow for our final guest host – her royal highness, The Empress!!)
This particular road trip wasn’t actually intended to be a road trip, per se.  The gods of family travel, however, had other plans.
We were living in Korea at the time, and one of the perks of being in the military (aside from the duty-free base stores and ability to wear camo Everywhere) was the ability to fly stand-by on the military flights for dirt-cheap.  
(And yes, I realize that American Airlines also provides this option – but do they ever end up seating you on the cargo net jump seats lining the belly of a C-17 cargo plane with humvees strapped to the floor in front of you?  Yeah, I didn’t think so…)
After three days waiting at the base’s airstrip for a flight with enough seats to get all 5 of us to Japan together, we finally caught a flight on a little 12-seater airplane heading to Tokyo.  
(Had my parents been a tad less responsible, at least half of us could probably have left on the first day…)
After circling Mt. Fiji for an up-close view of the iconic mountain, we landed in Tokyo.
About an hour after the taxi service shut down for the day.
No. Joke.  
So.  There we were.  My parents, a thirteen year-old brat me, and my two younger siblings.  And all of our luggage.
(FYI?  My mother?  Had not yet learned the art of packing light.)
It might be prudent to mention that we were standing outside of the airport.  In the middle of Tokyo.  Japan.  And we?  Didn’t speak a single word of Japanese.
After an extensive conversation with one of the airport employees that involved more sign language than a Hellen Keller memorial, my father discerned that we could walk to a subway that was “near by” to get to downtown Tokyo, where we could catch a cab to our hotel.
So off we went.  Each of us toting our backpack, a suitcase and/or a younger child.  Confident in the accuracy of our directions and the assurances that the subway station wasn’t far at all.
I’m sure, had the same trek been made by the able-bodied single person who directed us to the subway station, that they could have reached the it in 20-30minutes.  Replace the able-bodied single person with two middle-aged, slightly out-of-shape parents, an asthmatic teen, one 8yr old, an one 6yr old carrying enough luggage to avoid having to do laundry for an entire two weeks?  And you’ll still make it to the subway station.
Yup.  Our hop to Japan?  Turned into a 2hour hike through the streets of downtown Tokyo.  Pulling enough luggage to outfit every single person we passed along the way.  
Somehow we managed to maneuver everyone into a packed subway car without losing a single backpack or child, and then off again a few stops later when we (accurately) guessed we’d made it to the heart of the downtown area.
Of course, the second we reached street-level again, there was a line of taxis waiting to take us to our hotel.  Exhausted, we tumbled in, backpacks and all.  And we’d probably have spend the entire ride to the hotel staring in awe at the sights all around us if we hadn’t been so concerned with making sure we hadn’t actually walked through the entirety of our shoe leather.  
Or if the hotel hadn’t been just around the corner.
Still.  Tokyo?  Was totally worth it. 
And I?  Have a strict rule.  NEVER pack more than you can carry.
After all, you can always buy another pair of shoes once you get there!


Adelle August 4, 2010 at 5:20 pm

These family adventures give us something to talk about after christmas dinner when we are too full to move, right?

Love your blog!

The Empress August 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm

You are so right!! I have learned this with 3 kids!! You can always buy what you need.

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