Mariners make it to Tokyo … and I didn’t lose my passport

A crowd of Japanese journalists awaits the Mariners as they came through the Narita Airport on Friday.Just arrived in Tokyo with the Mariners. And it’s a weary contingent after a 16-hour travel day that started at 1 p.m. when the team and its party took off from Phoenix and ended at what was 5 a.m. PT, though it was 9 p.m. Tokyo time.

The flight was 12 1/2 hours, then there was an hour wait through customs and then a two hour bus ride from the Narita Airport to Tokyo.

There was a pretty good stir when the team finally made it through customs as about 100 photographers and Japanese journalists were waiting to shoot pictures of the team — or Ichiro specifically — as they came through the concourse.

There was also a large scream from a group of fans when the Mariners arrived at the hotel. I was on a second bus, but I’m pretty sure the squeals were for Ichiro. Just a hunch.

My first impression of Tokyo is that the weather looks a lot like Seattle today, very rainy and overcast, but the city is huge. I’ve never been to Japan before, so this will be an interesting experience. I was surprised to see as many American restaurants as we did just driving in — everything from Starbucks to Krispy Kreme to Hooters.

Traffic was bad and our bus driver stopped at one point and said it was 30 minutes still to the hotel, but he was stopping for a five-minute bathroom break. Given that everyone had already spent 14-plus hours traveling, that was met by large groans and “just get there” comments. And the only one who got off the bus was the driver himself. But after the required five minutes, we were back on the road and eventually did arrive.

My first travel horror story was the feeling of panic when I thought I’d lost my passport, frantically checking every pocket of every bag where I thought I might have stuck it after we went through customs. Just when I began to wonder exactly whether I would get back to the good ol’ USA without it, I found it stuck in a book I’d been carrying.

Whew!

Now I’m headed for bed as in my mind, it’s 6:30 a.m., even though the clock here insists that it’s 10:30 p.m.

Either way, I haven’t slept much for a long time, so it’s time to adjust the body clock and be ready for tomorrow’s workout at the Tokyo Dome. I’ll keep you posted here and on Mariners.com. And you can follow me on Twitter as well at @gregjohnsmlb.

1 Comment

Wow. That must’ve been a gut-clenching moment when you thought the passport was gone. I left my wallet in the cab of an 18-wheeler many years ago while hitchhiking through Wyoming in the middle of nowhere (there’s lots of nowhere in parts of Wyoming), but at least I was still in my own country at the time. Glad that turned out well for you. Look at it this way — there’s no other way to enjoy that monumental feeling of relief when you find what you thought was lost, right?

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