This post covers September 23rd and 24th of my 2012 trip to Asia. Start with part 1 if you want the whole story.
Flight 5848 from Busan to Tokyo arrived at Narita Airport at 4:30pm JST. Elena got in touch with me through Facebook when I was in South Korea and wanted to meet in Tokyo during my 14 hour return layover. I was happy to oblige. I know Elena from Hojeong’s group of friends that she had when I hosted her in New York City in early 2011. I rented a phone for the day for only 300 yen (about $3.80USD) at the airport. It was a simple phone, but worked well for voice and email. Most importantly, I was no longer burdened with finding a rogue WiFi signal for communicating, which was a nice improvement over the situation in South Korea. I sent Elena my phone number over Facebook.
My connecting flight was from Haneda airport at 6:30AM, so I had the rest of the day and the whole night to explore Tokyo again. My first stop was the Tokyo Sky Tree, which had only recently opened it’s observation deck to the public. At the time of this writing, The Tokyo Sky Tree is the second tallest man-made structure in the world. For this reason, the Sky Tree is on my things I saw on Wikipedia that I want to see in real-life list.
The lobby for the Sky Tree hosts an unnecessarily large number of very polite and friendly ushers guiding people through the whole process. The elevator was massive and fast; it took only 30 seconds to lift our group to the 350 meter high observation deck. I was treated to an expansive night view of the city of Tokyo and surrounding areas. Clearly visible from this high up were the many lighted streets of the city and the endless urbanization that flowed far out into the horizon. I paid a little extra for admission to go the 450M high observation deck. The view was much the same higher up, but at times you could see ghost-like clouds blowing past just a few feet outside the window.