We didn't have long in Narita because we were taking a bus to Tokyo the next morning. As much as we wanted to start exploring, we wanted check in to our hotel and pass out even more.
Thankfully, the airport had free buses to take travelers to their hotels. We were the sole passengers of our bus, save an older gentleman that made eye contact with me, smiled and went back to reading his novel. The seatbelt buckles looked strange: they all had a little red lever that I assumed released the passenger. (You know what they say about assuming.)
Jess and I passed the time by pointing out buildings and people that we found particularly noteworthy, an activity that almost certainly isn't. We did spot a business called "Hotel Chapel Christmas," which Google results tell me is not a church-themed family hotel for the holidays.
Our hotel's stop came after what seemed like an eternity but was probably closer to fifteen minutes. I tried to get out of the seat and found that I couldn't: my little red lever was not releasing the belt.
"What's wrong?" Jess said.
"The seatbelt's broken."
The older gentleman looked up from his book, saw me struggling with the red lever, reached over and pressed the very obvious release button on the face of the buckle that I should have readily seen. When I realized what just happened and looked up at him, he was smiling at me in a way that seemed very genuine, with not a hint of, "this moron doesn't even know how to operate a seatbelt."
I had to fill that in, myself.
Jess and I had heard jokes about how small Japanese hotel rooms are, but we were still quite surprised when we opened our door and saw this.
Cozy, to say the least, but it had enough space to move around, and that's all we really needed for our night there. They did have some nice little gifts for us, like these slippers and robe.
Which I promptly tried on.
The next morning, we decided to explore the area around our hotel before the bus came. The first thing I wanted a closer look at was the more traditional building visible from our hotel room.
We found that there was a train station fairly close to our hotel. Either it was very common for people to ride their bikes there, or a lot of people had misplaced their bikes in the same place.
We also stumbled across a sign that comforted us with the knowledge that, even though we had traveled a long time to get there, we weren't really that far from home.
We returned to our hotel to check out and wait for our bus. We boarded thinking that this would be the real start of our adventure.
We had no idea how right we were.