Thursday, January 31, 2008


The flight from Orlando to Detroit, and then to Narita, was uneventful... but very long. After landing in Japan, we were met by a few URC (Urayasu running club) members plus two men who worked for the city as event planners. We loaded up our bags and drove right to meet the mayor, Mr. Matsuzaki, at city hall.

Welcome to Japan!
Originally uploaded by klbarrus

We had some tea and listened to an address from the mayor, welcoming us and giving us a brief history of Urayasu. The city was originally a fishing village, and over the past few decades, grew by landfill (reclaimed land from the sea). As a result, most of the city is quite new. The major attraction is Tokyo Disneyland, which I suspect has a large amount to do with the Sister City agreement between Orlando and Urayasu!

Meeting the Mayor
Originally uploaded by klbarrus

We were presented with the blue URC jackets, which would come in handy over the next few days. It was winter and cold in Tokyo!

Sister City Agreement
Originally uploaded by klbarrus

On display at the visitors center.

Following this, we checked into our hotel, the Emion Tokyo Bay. An hour after that, another group from the URC came to meet us in the lobby to discuss the itinerary they had planned out for us: sightseeing around the Tokyo area for Stacey, Eric, and me; Tokyo Disney for Tom and Michele. It was surprising how much work the URC had put into making sure our visit was filled with activities.

Then we were off to dinner, at an Italian restaurant, where we had a mix of Japanese appetizers and side dishes, with baked chicken and tomatoes for the main dish. And lots of beer.

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