I am Waiting for You: Narita International Airport

When “The Beauty” Maeda stood up and raised the microphone, that was a happy moment for me. I knew, she would tell us that the Vanilla Air JW 130 would be landing at Narita International Airport soon. How could I wasn’t be happy, Japan, which had always been just a dream and had become something unattainable, finally this moment anchored me at its gate. The passion for Japan was also caused by my own stupidity of torturing myself by wasn’t visiting that country immediately after understanding the rhythms and habits of backpacker world. I was more selfish to exploring Southeast Asia for 3 years, even the first edition to explorind East Asia, I prefered Hong Kong, China and Macau as my first destination. Japan deliberately became the dessert of my adventure in East Asia. Yes, that was right….That country was at my east asia exploration peak with other county, i.e South Korea. Make this story felt special.

The aerobridge attached to plane door marked my first step to Japan. Narita International Airport’s Terminal 3 warmly welcomed me even though I knew the temperature outside had reached 2 Celsius degree….“Hopefully the blood doesn’t flow from my nose”, I firstly mumbled when I was walking down the aerobridge.

Nervous and scared, that was how I felt when I walked down the arrival hall to the immigration counter. “What if they check the amount of money I brought?”, “What if they refuse me to entering the city?”…The amateur worries still haunted me. Understandably, for me, Japan felt like a country with different caste in my eyes.

“Is this your filst time in visiting Japan?”, his face was flat but not too scary when investigate me.

“Yes, Sir”.

“How long will you stay in Japan?”, standard question.

“4 days, Sir”

“Hoooohhh….Just foul days. Very sholt time”, he was still flipping through my passport details, looking at my adventure track record.

“Ale you alone?”, began to put my passport in his right hand and focus on talking to me.

“Upss, address …. Don’t let him ask for money in my pocket”, I palely thought.

“Okay, what will you do in Japan?” started interrogating.

“!@#$%….^&*()?…..,”:}{[]/”, my hands moved here and there while telling at length about all my plans. I wasn’t worried at all because I was a reliable itinerary maker….. Yup, an itinerary that was too economical.

“Good….Good….Good, nice toulist”, I saw his smile even though he immediately hid it. Immigration officers were like that, putting on a fierce look was the first procedure.

“Do you bling your itinelaly?”, his last defense, looked like I would easily break through.

“This is, Sir”, with a bright face, I handed him six itinerary sheets, complete with details of the time, places I would visit, costs to be incurred, and the address of each destination on it. I’ve beaten him.

“Hoooohh….You would go to Osaka too”, nodded but still read page after page.

“Yes, Sir. That’s a nice city to visit”.

“Yes…yes..yes….Good, welcome to Japan”, he reopened my passport and put the arrival stamp on the tiny pink visa waiver.

Yessssss….I entered Japan.

Oopsss….The inspection hadn’t finished yet, apparently.

“Stop, please!”, a middle-aged man in a black jacket with its zipper which was left open so that it was clear that his thick gray sweater. He was blocking my steps now.

“Put your bag….Thele!”, he pointed to a place to put my bag while carrying two hand-held metal detectors in both hands. Without further ado he swept my backpack with that tool with his right hand and then his left hand followed.

“Hand-held metal detectors are layered like that,” I muttered admiring Narita’s tightness.

“Can I inspect you?”, he showed me a sheet of paper with a picture of a standard series of inspections of all limbs by touching.

“Yes, sure!”, I took off the used winter jacket from Pasar Baru.

“Hooohh…you don’t need to take youl jacket off…..Hoooohh…..Do you using t-shilt? Sully? This is Japan, you will fleeze with your t-shilt…..Hahaha”, he kindly chuckled.

I spread my arms and he started checking. Oh, how polite that person was, for checking me he asked for permission. The first social value I got from Japan on my visitation.


I was starting to get confused with all this country’s transportation system. There were many types of trains available to the city. Starting from Narita SKY ACCESS Line, Keisei Main Line or JR Sobu Line train, but I never knew which line I would take to get to Tokyo. Ticketing Vending Machine buttons were not easy for me to understand, not liked I usually do. I was swallowed by this country sophistication.

Train fares to downtown.
One of the Ticketing Vending Machines.

Never mind…. I sat down first to calm myself down on a brightly colored soft sofa which was placed along the side of arrival hall corridor whose was designed like a running race track. Smart, insists it was a path for people to walk inside airport terminal. While sitting down, sadly I saw the price of food along Narita food court, it was expensive for me.

“Onigiri….yes….Onigiri, it’s the cheapest. I have to look for it at the convenience store”, my hungry stomach suddenly had an idea. I started to walk on the “running track” and quickly found Lawson booth at a corridor corner.

“What a shame!”, I cursed myself when I was asked to circle retreat in a following the queue which I really didn’t notice. A woman in the front line smiled when she saw me back in a circle past the shelves of mini market.

I left Lawson with a win for finding my first cheap meal in Japan. I ventured to sit at a dining table around Narita’s food court to eat it.

Two pieces of onigiri for 248 Yen for lunch that time.
Why did I take a trash can photo at that time!

“Bus…Yes, buses….Don’t worry about the cheapest train to downtown. Buses were been still the cheapest transportation in all parts of the world”, I kept looking around for bus ticket counter while eating the last piece of my onigiri.

It wasn’t difficult, I saw the table at far left in front of where I was sitting. I immediately approached a young lady at the counter and didn’t hesitate to ask for a ticket to Tokyo.

“Youl bus will depalt on 5 minutes… Hully up”, she lightly said when she received Yen from me. “Damn, so fast”, I thought hiding the tension. I didn’t want to argue whether my ticket will be forfeited when I miss the bus, because the departure time listed on the LCD counter was 11:30 hours.

An airport bus ticket to downtown for 1,000 Yen.

I quickly focused on finding the bus sign or logo. I found the picture of bus and ran towards it. Unknowingly, I wasn’t wearing a winter jacket and when I arrived at the door to bus shelter, I was shocked. “Crazy!” I screamed, the 2o C air pierced my bones mercilessly. For a moment I couldn’t breathe. I rushed back into the room and many people had strange faces looking at me. “Please, Donny….This isn’t the tropics anymore”, I sighed, since I was still reflecting that the air outside was still the same as Kuala Lumpur air I visited three days ago. I quickly put on my jacket and watched from afar the bus driver who was standing at the back door of bus. He looked at his watch and looked around for someone. I ran towards him. “Come on, Sil….I am waiting fo you”, he briefly said, pointing to the front door. I jumped at the front door and prepared to head to Tokyo. I shouldn’t have panicked, I think he was told by the counter staff that there was still one passenger who was going to board the bus.

Anyway….Welcome Tokyo.

I am Waiting for You: Narita International Airport

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Ketika “Si Ayu Maeda” berdiri dan mengangkat mikrofon, itulah momen bahagia bagiku. Aku tahu, dia akan memberitahukan bahwa Vanilla Air JW 130 segera mendarat di Narita International Airport. Bagaimana tak bahagia, Jepang yang sedari dulu hanyalah angan dan menjadi sesuatu yang tak terpikirkan tergapai, akhirnya berlabuh juga aku di gerbangnya. Hasrat akan Jepang juga disebabkan oleh kebodohanku sendiri yang menyiksa diri dengan tak segera mengunjungi negeri itu setelah memahami ritme dan kebiasaan dunia backpacker. Aku lebih berego untuk menyisir Asia Tenggara selama 3 tahun, bahkan edisi perdana ke Asia Timur pun lebih memilih Hong Kong, China dan Macau sebagai tujuan perdana. Jepang sengaja menjadi dessert petualanganku di Asia Timur. Ya benar….Negeri itu menjadi puncaknya bersama Korea Selatan. Menjadikan kisah kali ini terasa spesial.

Melekatnya aerobridge di pintu pesawat menjadi penanda langkah pertamaku menjejak Jepang. Terminal 3 Narita International  Airport menyambut hangat walau kutahu suhu di luar ruangan mencapai 2o Celcius….”Mudah-mudahan darah tak mengalir dari hidungku”, gumam pertamaku ketika menyusuri garbarata.

Nervous dan takut, itulah yang kurasa ketika menyusuri arrival hall menuju konter imigrasi. “Bagaimana jika mereka memeriksa jumlah uang yang kubawa?”, “Bagaimana jika mereka menolakku masuk ke kota?”….Kecamuk amatiran itu masih saja menghantui. Maklum, bagiku Jepang serasa beda kasta.

Is this your filst time in visiting Japan?”, wajahnya datar tapi tak sangar menyidikku.

Yes, Sir”.

How long will you  stay in Japan?”, pertanyaan standar.

4 days, Sir

Hoooohhh….Just foul days. Very sholt time”, dia masih membolak-balik detail pasporku, melihat rekam jejak petualanganku.

Ale you alone?”, mulai menaruh paspor di sebelah kanan tangannya dan fokus bercakap denganku.

Duh alamat….Jangan sampai dia nanyain uang sakuku”, aku membatin pucat.

Okay, what will you do in Japan?” mulai menginterogasi.

!@#$%….^&*()?…..,”:}{[]/”, tanganku bergerak kesana kemari sembari bercerita panjang lebar tentang semua rencanaku. Aku menjadi tak khawatir sedikitpun karena akulah pembuat itinerary yang bisa diandalkan…..Yup, itinerary yang kelewat ngirit.

Good….Good….Good, nice toulist”, sekelumit sunggingan senyum sempat kulihat walau dia segera menyembunyikan. Petugas imigrasi memang begitu, pasang tampang galak adalah prosedur pertama.

Do you bling your itinelaly?”, pertahanan terakhirnya, sepertinya aku akan dengan mudah menjebolnya.

This is, Sir”, dengan muka cerah, aku menyerahkan enam lembar itinerary, lengkap dengan detail waktu, tempat yang akan kukunjungi, biaya yang akan dikeluarkan, dan alamat setiap destinasi ada di dalamnya. Dia sudah kukalahkan dengan telak.

Hoooohh….You will go to Osaka too”, manggut-manggut tapi masih saja membaca lembar demi lembar.

Yes, Sir. That’s nice city to visit”.

Yes…yes..yes….Good, welcome to Japan”, dia membuka kembali pasporku dan menaruh arrival stamp di atas visa waiver mungil berwarna pink itu.

Yesssssss….Aku masuk Jepang.

Uppsss….Pemeriksaan belum selesai rupanya.

Stop, please!”, lelaki paruh baya berjaket hitam dengan resleting yang dibiarkan terbuka sehingga terlihat jelas sweater abu-abu tebalnya menghadang langkahku.

Put your bag….Thele!”, dia menunjuk tempat menaruh tas sembari menenteng dua hand-held metal detector di kedua tangannya. Tanpa basa-basi dia menyapu backpackku dengan alat itu dengan tangan kanannya dan kemudian sapuan tangan kirinya menyusul.

Hand-held  metal detector pun berlapis begitu”, gumamku mengagumi ketatnya Narita.

Can me inspect you?”, dia menunjukkan selembar kertas bergambar rangkaian standar pemeriksaan seluruh anggota tubuh dengan cara meraba.

Yes, sure!”, aku melepas winter jacket bekas asal Pasar Baru itu.

Hooohh…you don’t need to take youl jacket off…..Hoooohh…..Do you using t-shilt? Sulely? This is Japan, you will fleeze with your t-shilt…..Hahaha”, dia terkekeh ramah.

Kurentangkan tangan dan dia mulai memeriksa. Oh, sopannya orang itu, untuk memeriksa begitu saja minta izin. Nilai sosial pertama yang kudapat dari Jepang di kunjunganku.


Aku mulai bingung dengan semua sistem transportasi negeri itu. Banyak sekali tersedia jenis kereta menuju kota. Mulai dari Narita SKY ACCESS Line, Keisei Main Line atau JR Sobu Line train, namun aku tak pernah tahu dia akan melewati jalur mana menuju Tokyo. Tombol-tombol Ticketing Vending Machine tak mudah kupahami, tak seperti biasanya aku begitu. Aku serasa tertelan kecanggihan negeri itu.

Tarif kereta menuju pusat kota.
Salah satu Ticketing Vending Machine.

Sudahlah….Aku duduk menenangkan diri dahulu di sebuah sofa empuk warna cerah yang diletakkan di sepanjang sisi dari koridor arrival hall yang alasnya didesain seperti lintasan lomba lari. Pintar, menegaskan itu adalah jalur untuk orang berjalan di dalam terminal bandara. Sembari duduk, sedih aku melihat harga makanan di sepanjang food court Narita, mahal minta ampun.

Onigiri….ya….Onigiri, itu yang termurah. Aku harus mencarinya di minimarket”, perut laparku tiba-tiba beride. Aku mulai menapaki “lintasan lari itu” dan dengan cepatnya menemukan gerai Lawson di subuah pojok koridor.

Dasar memalukan!”, aku mengutuki diri sendiri ketika diminta mundur melingkar mengikuti jalur antrian yang sungguh tak kuperhatikan.  Seorang ibu pengantri terdepan tersenyum melihatku mundur melingkar melewati sela-sela rak minimarket.

Aku keluar Lawson dengan sebuah kemenangan karena menemukan makanan murah pertamaku di Jepang. Kuberanikan diri untuk duduk di sebuah meja makan di sekitar food court Narita untuk menyantapnya.

Dua potong onigiri seharga 248 Yen (Rp. 32.000) untuk makan siang waktu itu.
Kenapa ya waktu itu aku memfoto tempat sampah segala….Hadeuh!.

Bus…Ya, bus….Tak usah kau pikirkan kereta termurah ke kota. Bus tetaplah transportasi terhemat di seluruh belahan dunia”, aku terus melihat sekitar mencari konter tiket bus sembari menyelesaikan potongan terakhir onigiriku.

Tak sulit, aku melihat mejanya di ujung kiri depan dari tempatku terduduk. Aku segera menghampiri nona muda penjaga konter dan tak ragu meminta selembar tiket menuju Tokyo.

Youl bus will depalt on 5 minutes…Hully up”, ucapnya ringan ketika menerima Yen dariku. “Sial, cepat amat”, batinku menyembunyikan ketegangan. Aku tak mau berdebat apakah tiketku akan hangus ketika aku tertinggal bus itu, karena jam keberangkatan yang tercantum di LCD meja konter memang jam 11:30.

Tiket airport bus menuju pusat kota seharga 1.000 Yen (Rp. 130.000).

Dengan cepat aku fokus mencari tanda atau logo bus. Aku menemukan gambar bus itu dan berlari kearahnya. Tak sadar, aku tak memakai winter jacket dan ketika tiba di pintu menuju shelter bus, aku terhenyak. “Gilaaaa” batinku menjerit, udara 2o C itu menembus tulangku tanpa ampun. Sejenak aku tak bisa bernafas. Tergopoh aku kembali memasuki ruangan dan banyak orang memasang muka aneh melihatku. “Please, Donny….Ini bukan daerah  tropis lagi, bodoh”, aku menghela nafas, sejak tadi aku masih berefleks bahwa udara di luar masih sama dengan udara Kuala Lumpur yang tiga hari lalu kukunjungi. Kupakai cepat jaketku dan kutatap dari jauh sopir bus itu yang berdiri di pintu bus belakang. Dia melihat jam tangannya dan menoleh kesana kemari menunggu seseorang. Aku berlari kearahnya. “Come on, Sil….I am waiting fol you”, ucapnya singkat sambil menunjuk pintu depan. Aku melompat di pintu depan dan bersiap menuju Tokyo. Seharusnya aku tak perlu panik, sepertinya dia diberitahu petugas konter bahwa masih ada satu penumpang yang akan menaiki busnya….Dasar ndeso.

Anyway….Welcome Tokyo.

Kisah Setelahnya—->