Only then I took a better look and saw . . .
Uh, yeah. Rice. Perfect straight-edged rice paddies, bounded by perfect, straight-edged irrigation canals.
Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more.
Things I wasn't prepared for:
The enormous TV screen in the ground-floor entrance area of Narita that displays--along with your expected Scenes from Colorful Japanese Tradition--twelve-foot-high photographs of kawaii kittens. They're really quite surreal, the twelve-foot-high kittens.
Great froths of hydrangeas spilling down the slopes beside the highway.
The fact that Tokyo is not only a city built beside water, but a city built on water. Coming in on the bus from the airport, I was amazed by the canals (not to mention the Sumida River) running through otherwise wholly urban streets. Past the river, further inland, the canals disappear, but it's quite an effect while it lasts.
The moment of total self-satisfaction when I realized that I could read the sign on the bus telling passengers to fasten their seat belts. (Okay, okay--that's the only sign that I've been able to read. But it's a start!)
The private bathroom delights me. It's like a space capsule, with everything necessary for civilized grooming tucked into a prefab pod.
And yes, that's the infamous Purity Blue nylon granny nightie on the bed. It wanted to have its picture taken.
The guy out on the street with the megaphone seems to have finished making his speech now, whatever it was about . . .