Back in 2003 I visited Japan for the first time. I was there with Rikke, and in less than one week we managed to party hard in Tokyo, sleep through an earthquake and fly off to Sapporo to meet my friend Mari before heading back to Denmark again. This was my first hectic introduction to Japan, and it was love at first sight.
We hadn’t done any research before we went, so don’t ask me how we managed to get from the airport and to the city. We didn’t have a hotel reservation either, so after arriving at Tokyo Station, we walked up to the hotels in the area and tried to book a room. Though none of them would let us stay in a double room, because apparently, it would be highly inappropriate for two girls to sleep in the same bed! Hotel rooms around Tokyo station are expensive, and we were on a tight budget, so we didn’t want to pay for two separate rooms. Finally, after what felt like hours, we found a place to stay. I don’t remember the name of the hotel, but the room was tiny and had a bunk bed.
I also have a small confession to make (please don’t tell the customs in Amsterdam). We were out shopping in this huge Japanese supermarket, when I saw a shelf with Japanese whiskey in 3-liter PET bottles, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to bring such a funny liquid souvenir with me back home.
However, I’m not a good smuggler, so when I went through customs in Amsterdam, I was oozing bad conscience. An officer told me to step aside and asked me to open my suitcase. I did, and the big bad PET bottle was staring right back at him. He picked it up to inspect it closer, while he asked me what in the world it was. “Some kind of Japanese wine” I muttered as I mentally prepared myself for a hefty fine/jail/whatever Amsterdam might do to offenders like me. Can you imagine my surprise, when the officer just shrugged his shoulders, put the plastic bottle back down and closed the suitcase, while he waved me through customs?
To this very day, I don’t know whether it was because of the difficulties in reading the Japanese characters, or whether he just didn’t care, but the whiskey was a big hit at the student party in Sweden the following weekend.