By our third day I was starting to feel settled in. I bought some groceries the day before and finished unpacking. I decided I was ready for the first time the kids and I ride the train alone. We opted to go visit Eric at work for a nice long lunch (or so we thought).
Getting to the station was easy and I felt confident. It takes less than 5 minutes to walk to our station from our place. I was also excited to find out the kids would be free on the train this entire trip!
My Suica card was ready to go. Suica is a magnetic card you put money on and works as cash at many locations in Japan. It is especially useful for the trains. When traveling by train, the card is swiped to enter the station where you started and again to exit wherever you end (or if you switch lines to a train run by a different company). That way it knows how much to charge you and who to give the money to.
I swiped my card and went down the stairs to get on our train. We got on the correct train to Shibuya...so far so good! Apparently my card did not register back at the first station and when I swiped my card in Shibuya the gate did not open to let me get to the other side. I had a little moment of panic and texted Eric. He told me to go to the information window by the gate and I did. I wasn't sure the worker would understand me, but in faith, I explained what happened. He did something on his computer and I was through. Phew. Just cost us a couple minutes, no biggie.
The train station by our house
The sign that tells us when our train is coming. It also shows us in English
We got on our second train (at Shibuya station) feeling good about being on our way to see Eric.
At this point I was feeling good. Except for the slight hiccup with the card swiping, I was doing it! "I am woman!"
Then about 25-30 minutes into our ride I thought it was a little funny we were not seeing Eric's stop or even the one before it, he had told me to watch for. So I texted Eric. I said "we're in Yokohama". The text I got back said...
"??? What was your last stop? I think that is way past me??"
"Well that can't be good", I thought. At the next stop, we got off. In the meantime, Eric used a handy internet site and figured out how we could still get to him from where we were (like the lady in the GPS who says "recalculating route").
We would end up at a different train station which was somewhat close to him, and he would walk to meet us. Sweet Eric took his whole lunch helping his lost family and figuring out where we needed to go. The train ride back to get closer to him took about 20 minutes. We got off that train and I was so excited to see Eric. At this point, we had 20 minutes before he had to get back, so we grabbed a bagel and walked him back to work at a brisk pace (since it was a 20 minute walk away!). We talked about how next time, I'd be an expert getting back to his work and he showed us where we could relax and catch our breath. We said goodbye and looked around for a place to eat.
And my choice was Starbucks, although the kids didn't mind either
We took a few minutes while I finished my drink outside and obviously the kids were having a great day. They got to ride the train for a long time =), see their dad, and get treats.