My 3-hour transit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, turned into an 8-hour one after the tsunami hit Sendai right before I arrived in KL. Thanks to Starbucks and KLIA for the free wi-fi, thanks to Twitter for real time news (RIP Google News), thanks to family and friends who messaged me and Latte Girl via SMS, Facebook, and Twitter (RIP email).
It took a total of 8 hours from Melbourne to KL + 8 hours transit in KL + 7 hours from KL to Narita + 3 hours from Narita to Tokyo + 4 hours from Tokyo to Kyoto = 30 hours all the way through, but we eventually made it to Japan!
At Starbucks, nervously reading the news about the tsunami and the earthquakes before deciding to continue the flight to Japan at the very last minute.
Arrived at Narita airport at 12 noon local time. There were piles of sleeping bags (with Japan Airlines logo) and mineral water bottles at several spots in the terminal.
After immigration, I took the elevator down to the baggage claim area. There were several cordoned off areas with wet newspapers on the floor and water leaking from the ceiling. Damages from the earthquakes?
At the arrival hall, I saw more people stranded due to flight delays and cancellations. The situation was quite calm, the airport staffs were awesomely helpful.
Queuing for the JR train to Tokyo. I was glad to find out that they let people enter the train station in batches to avoid overcrowding the platforms.
Ken Watanabe look-alike was very helpful, translating the the announcements over the PA system into English, apparently the train was delayed by an hour and would run slower than its normal speed.
The crowded train. I was lucky to get on a direct train to Tokyo as several people got stuck at Chiba station trying to get on the Tokyo-bound train to no avail.
The queue at JR ticket office at Tokyo station was rather long, but the shinkansen service between Tokyo and Kyoto was operating as normal. Took a couple of hours of power nap on the bullet train.
Finally arrived at Kyoto station and had a bowl of ramen for dinner. It was weird how it felt like returning home instead of starting my holiday, the most mentally tiring 30 hours ever.
It’s now been a week since I arrived in Japan. We’re fine in Kyoto, it’s about 500km+ to the west of Tokyo. We’re getting used to the earthquake news on TV at night and even experienced a 2 magnitude scale tremor from the Shizuoka earthquake (no injury, no damage) 3 days ago.
The Sendai tsunami was a tragedy, my heart is with those who are affected. The Fukushima nuclear power plant incident was disastrous, but if you’re outside of Japan, please don’t buy everything you read in the media. The last 7 days proved how much The Age over-sensationalize the news about Japan, so, wanted: a decent Australian news website to replace The Age on my daily readings list.