Surprisingly Elegant, Narita

“Okusamaga zasekikara ochinaiyou, okusamano seatbelt wo shikkarito oshimekudasai.”

…was the inflight announcement by a Kiwi cabin crew, who was excellent at Japanese.

His Japanese was literally perfect… except for one word.

In Japanese, “okusama” is a wife, and “okosama” is a child, so instead of saying, “Please fasten your child’s seatbelt so that they do not fall off their seats,” he encouraged us to fasten our wives’ seatbelts- which I did.

Completely unrelated reminiscence from the flight, but yes… Narita!

As you know, Narita International Airport is Japan’s main international airport, and it’s often referred as “Tokyo/ Narita Airport” because its original name was “New Tokyo International Airport”.

This is such a deceptive marketing.

The airport is NOT in Tokyo… AT ALL.

It is in Chiba Prefecture and takes about 80 minutes by an express train to get to Central Tokyo.

It takes at least 3hrs to travel to my hometown in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Before children, we used to travel straight to my hometown after the 11hr flight from New Zealand, but this is not realistic anymore.

So… we decided to stay at an accommodation nearby for the night to be refreshed before the train journey to my hometown the next day.

This place was only 1.5km from the airport, and the friendly hosts even came to pick us up at the airport!

They have 5-star reviews from over 279 reviewers as of today- no wonder their service was excellent!

But what surprised me the most was how quiet this entire suburb was.

Unlike my preconception, it was very rural and spacious. I couldn’t believe the airport was less than 2km away!

As I explored the community, I realised that this area was full of history. I just hadn’t realised this as I’d always bypassed right through this area to go overseas/ home before this.

The host told me a lot of stories about the Narita area, and now I’m planning to explore properly next time.

During the morning walk, we discovered a historical farmhouse nearby that had belonged to an American farmer in the Meiji period (1868- 1912) then to the Imperial family. The exterior of the house can be seen in the photo above.

You can probably see that both the Japanese and the western elements are mingling together in the design of the house. We describe this sort of cultural remix as “Wa-Yo-Set-Chu” (わようせっちゅう 和洋折衷).

Perhaps, I’m a good example of a Wa-Yo-Set-Chu person.

Come to think of it, my graduation theatre project at an American university was called “Wa-Yo-Set-Chu with the Mad Japanese Man”… seriously.

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