My friend had been teaching English in a small town called Himi and was getting a bit homesick, I love to travel, so when she asked me to come over for a visit, I packed my bags and went.
I have travelled quite a bit, but mostly to countries where I speak the language or a variation thereof, but Japan, that was a whole new world. Since she was quite a ways from Tokyo, I had to take an additional flight from a domestic airport that was a 1 hour bus ride away from the main international airport.
As Japan is a well oiled machine, I was able to get my luggage and clear customs in no time at all. I was safe and sound in the bus that travels between the two airports quickly. Once I arrived at the domestic airport (Narita), it became very clear that even less people spoke English or any other language I knew, than at the international airport. But being an expert at the international language of hand gestures, I was able to get through the check in process well enough.
Now at this point I was to call my friend and let her know that all systems were a go and she could start her 1 hour trip to the local airport to pick me up. She also advised me to eat something at the airport, as it would be quite late by the time I arrived at her apartment.
I was starving after my 10 hour flight of airplane food and needed something substantial. So I walk over to the one main restaurant where I saw people filling their bellies with the most wonderful soups. So I decide to get me some soup, when it strikes me, there are no pictures and all the choices are in Japanese writing. I had forgotten to ask my friend for any words or suggestions, and I could not call her back , as she was running out after I gave her the thumbs up.
Everywhere people were enjoying the delicious steaming bowls of noodle soup, and all I could do was stare and hope I would be enlightened with some sort of inspiration on how to order some delicious soup.
But hunger and lack of sleep took over and no ideas came to mind. Thank goodness Japan is a well oiled machine and the flights always leave on time.
Later I learned that Soba, Udon or Ramen in conjunction with tempura will keep my belly full and happy.