Today I moved on from Narita, into the outskirts of Tokyo. The turtlepack having gone through it's Biggest Loser like transformation is now 5 kilos lighter, and not to be outdone I have lost a crazy 1.5 kilos since I left Sydney, these things combined made the trip back to the train station much more enjoyable than finding the hostel in the first place. I purchased my ticket for the Keisei line section of my train journey and steadied myself for the first leg of my trip that involved switching trains, something I must admit, I had been dreading. As it turns out, I had good reason.
Firstly though, on the Keisei line I had a scenic, perfectly air-conditioned, relaxing 45 minutes all the way to Nippori, where I was to change to the JR Joban line. I made it as far as the barriers, when my ticket wouldn't work, at which point I had some terribly helpful barrier Nazi yell at me for trying to enter the JR section of the station with a Keisei ticket. Ooops. She did at least have the decency whilst she was yelling to point in the general direction of where I could purchase my JR ticket. Having obtained said ticket I proceeded down to the platform for the Joban line and jumped onto the next train, all good.
Well almost. Right train, wrong direction. Ooops. I was on a rapid express train to Ueno which thankfully is a fairly major station so I had very little trouble stepping back onto a train going in the other direction, back past Nippori and onto Minami Senju.
Conceding to myself, that my train mishaps were definitely no where near as bad as they could have potentially been, I continued on foot to my next hostel, or at least I thought I was. Once again, because it just would be a day in Japan for me without it, I got lost.
This time I had exited the station by the wrong gateway, and although I was following the right directions, past the policebox, past the 7eleven on the corner, I was walking in the complete wrong direction. Ooops. Hence I did not find my hostel. I did find a very nice little kids play area to have a sit down in though, and was just about to consult my oracle Warren when a really lovely lady with broken English asked me if she could help. With many a 'domo arigato gozaimasu' I set off again, all the way back to the train station.
This time after reconsulting the map and finding the other exit from the station I walked straight here, past another policebox, and another 7eleven on the corner, to the Hotel New Azuma. All in all, I had successfully managed to extend a trip that should have taken just under an hour to just over 3 and a half. Ooops.
After checking in, I suddenly feel like I am really backpacking. The Hotel New Azuma is a bit of a misnomer, there is nothing 'new' or 'hotel'-ish about it. The corridors and stairs up to my 3rd floor room are dingy and barely wide enough to maneuver the turtlepack through. The room itself is a sparse 1.5 by 2 metres tatami-ed floor and stinking hot when I arrive, but blessedly is on the corner of the building with 2 windows so I can capture any breeze there is. The humidity gets the better of me so I have a quick nanna nap and a shower. The room locks without any problems but I doubt the security of it none the less, I lock up my laptop and cash in my wire mesh cage, and wonder fleetingly if I should be more worried about having my dirty underwear stolen. Like the rest of the hostel the shower is a bit of a scary affair, but the pressure from the rose is strong and massages me into forgiveness.
For the rest of the afternoon I had intended to potter around and discover any sights around the area. There are none, not without waging war on the trains again. So I settle for lunch from the nearest kombini (convenience store) and an afternoon of planning.
The hostel itself does have some saving graces, it is cheap, it is only a quick train ride from everywhere in Tokyo, it is cheap, less than desirable accommodation does mean I will have no hesitation on leaving early every morning and arriving back late for the duration of my stay, and it is cheap.
I also can't wait to see the Studio Ghibli Museum tomorrow!