On August 11th my wife and I left Miyako and headed to Naha airport on our way to Taiwan. The flight was actually the opposite direction we wanted to go, but there are no international flights from Miyako island. So, we had a forty minute flight to Naha and then an hour and 30 minute flight to Taipei. Being used to travelling back and forth from the US and Japan, this wasn’t bad at all.
I had been told that the people in Taiwan were friendly, and this can be felt as soon as you arrive at the airport. I have never talked with such a pleasant immigration officer. Rather than looking at me suspiciously, she stamped my passport and welcomed me to the country. We left immigration behind and got on a bus headed to Taipei station (the airport is located about 1 hour away).
Arriving at Tokyo station on a Sunday night, I was surprised at how quite and calm it was. I lived and worked in Tokyo for three years, and just about any station will be loud and packed on a Sunday night. Instead, there were small groups of all ages who were sitting in a large open area near the ticket machines. Being used to the craziness of Tokyo, the whole scene seemed surreal. We were also shocked at how clean the entire place was.
We got on our train and had no difficulty figuring out our station. Everything is well marked and most things are written in English. As long as you know the name of the station it’s really easy.
If you are wondering what Tokyo is like, look at the picture below and imagine three times as many people.
After exiting the station we opened our map to try and find our hotel. The very first person who walked by and saw us, asked where we were going and offered to help. As we were looking at the map with him, an older lady also stopped to ask if we needed help. He pointed us in the right direction and even walked with us a while to make sure we went the right way. I mentioned the Taiwanese people are nice right? Even the people at the convenient store we stopped at were very nice and welcoming.
We checked into our hotel, who also spoke Japanese as well as English, and called it a night. Tomorrow we will visit some small markets, national sites, and Taipei 101. We have a busy day ahead of us.
You can find Day 2 here: Taiwan Vacation Day 2