The older I get, the deeper I feel. Funny how random thoughts enter my head. I talk less about it, which explains less blog posts, but I do think a lot.
I was thinking about what makes the Japanese so special and this is what came to me. The difference between Japanese and other people is the difference between business class and economy.
In Japan, we get treated like kings and queens—whether by the taxi driver or the hotel staff—even if we’re not staying there. (I have great respect for Japanese taxi drivers.)
The day before we left Tokyo, Jeroen and I remembered to book our shuttle bus going to Narita airport.
We thought it would be as easy as booking an airport shuttle in Hong Kong. But Tokyo is a bit tricky on New Year’s eve and day.
The night before I tried to call our hotel concierge about booking a bus. They were fully booked, except for a 3:30 PM bus that would go to Narita, while our flight leaves at 6 PM. Way too tight.
We tried calling a couple of recommended shuttle companies—all fully booked. And one must never take a taxi to Narita, unless you want to spend Php 20,000 pesos one way.
Luckily I prayed hard and searched my brain. I tried to remember how I went to the airport last time.
From the Andaz hotel where I was staying, I took a taxi to the nearby Imperial Hotel where my brother was staying. From there we went to Narita together.
I searched online and found that a 2PM limousine bus departs from Imperial Hotel on January 1st. So I asked our concierge to book us 5 seats, which they did. Thank God!!
The next day we checked out at 1 PM and stuffed two taxis with 15 pieces of luggage and five passengers.
Less than 10 minutes later, we were at Imperial Hotel.
When I told the Imperial bellboys we were there to take the limousine bus, I thought they would dump our luggage on the side and make us wait in the cold.
But no. They took all our luggage from the cabs, onto carts and escorted us inside the lobby—as if we were hotel guests checking in.
A man carefully stacked our luggages on the trolleys while I paid for our bus tickets at the window—less than 13,000 yen for three adults and two kids.
With less than one hour to go, the boys and I had time to check out the hotel outlets to see what we could eat quickly.
We sat at the grand old lobby, then the bus promptly arrived before 2 PM. Our luggage was taken in and we boarded. Everyone at the hotel treated us with respect, not as pesky tourists, and nobody expected a tip, which we love about Japan. That is truly first class service.