Winter Travels (Tokyo to Beijing)

Departure day was largely uneventful. My flight was at 14:20, on Friday, the day of Chinese New Year. So, I thought perhaps the plane would be quiet. It wasn’t, but it wasn’t as busy as it was when I left, and the airport in Beijing was very quiet.

Still, on checking out I did, basically, the reverse journey of when I arrived. The airport was bright and relatively quiet. The shopping area was in the style of old Japan, there was a wide variety of shops and even a rooftop observation deck. I sailed through check-in and immigration, and settled down for lunch (ramen) in a restaurant on the other side of security, before boarding and leaving.

On arrival in Beijing, whilst the airport itself was quiet, the Airport Express, the train that goes from the airport to the main subway network, was busy. At the airport’s train station, there was a Brazilian guy who was trying to work out if the train went to Dongzhimen, the last stop on the line. I confirmed it did, and checked where he was going to after this. It turned out he was transferring onto the line I would also be taking – but I would be going further – so once we arrived at Dongzhimen, I helped him buy a ticket and made sure he got off at the correct station.

Walking back from the subway station I usually use, to where I live, it was, to put it bluntly, like a ghost town. Very few people, or buildings, were open.

Although only there for two full days proper, Tokyo was (as I suspected) a lot of fun. I was very pleased I’d gone, and it was nice to have one last holiday before starting work. Tokyo – and Japan – is a nice, clean and modern city.

The subway even had helpful signs like this, telling passengers to move up closer to others if the subway is busy.

But now, it is time to focus on next week, when work begins anew and I get new students in my classes.

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