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December 24th, 2012

Having just returned back to Japan, I am trying a few new things. First of all, I am on the Keisei Skyliner this time, not the Narita Express. While it does not roll me directly in to Ikebukuro, it does have a few key advantages: first, it’s cheaper by a thousand yen or so. Second, it’s faster—it does not take the roundabout way via Chiba and Shinagawa. This ride will be only 40 minutes, compared to the usual hour and a half. Third, I was able to jump on a train departing 17 minutes after I left customs; the Narita Express has only infrequent trains going to Ikebukuro, my transfer point—I have sometimes had to wait a full hour to catch a train.

On the Skyliner, I will have to get off at Nippori, transfer to the JR Yamanote Line, and then transfer again at Ikebukuro. Not fun, but if it will save me an hour or more in total, and be cheaper by a third, then it’ll be worth it.

The second thing: I am back to tethering, officially now. As Softbank started the tethering service December 15, I cam back and voila, there it was. So a blog from the Skyline as we pass through… let’s check Google Maps in iOS 6 (!) … ah, Komuro, on our way to Shiroi. Wherever the hell those places are.

One more point in the Skyliner’s favor: power outlets at each seat. Also, they don’t clump people together when there are free seats available. So far, so good.

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  1. Troy
    December 25th, 2012 at 08:20 | #1

    Good thing you got that trip in when the yen was still über-high!

    Maybe it’ll go down to 100 again.

    I’d love 150! That’d make Japan’s prices make so much more sense.

    But 100’s pushing it I would think.

    It’s also great that you think of Japan as home.

    Getting married, buying a house, a car, a dog, and working there for a couple of decades sure helps!

    Me, I spent just ~8 years in Tokyo after my first 25 years in California, so going back to California was still like coming home more or less.

    I certainly felt better on the ground in California than coming back to Japan. The sky was always so blue, the hills green, the weather so much warmer, plus I’d be renting a car and running all over the state between home, SFO, LAX, Monterey, etc. while my return to Japan I’d be hit by the massive assault on my senses that is the train ride from Narita to wherever in Tokyo I was living at the time.

    Back then I had less than zero clue about the macro situation and economic future of Japan, or the US for that matter. Know that I think I know more, that also colors things more.

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