It was Saturday morning when I check out of Hotel Monterey Hanzomon, Tokyo. My flight was 23.30 at night. I could have stored my luggage somewhere in the train station and continue sightseeing on my last day in Tokyo. I have 5 years old boy with me, and he did not have the stamina to go on from 10 am to 9 pm sightseeing. I decided to book Hotel Mystays Haneda, a hotel near Haneda airport as a place where we can rest and my son will be able to take a nap.
I went from Hotel Monterey Hanzomon at 9 am to Hotel Mystays Haneda. It was quite far from Hotel Monterey Hanzomon by taxi. After store our luggage in Hotel Mystays, I went to the nearest tourist place from the hotel which is Odaiba. I took a taxi there where I experience some inconvenience, you can read about it in here The Unexpected Things on my 2019 Japan Trip
I was thinking, maybe I and my son can stroll around Odaiba for a couple of hours and have lunch there, then come back to the hotel at 4 o’clock, take a nap then off to the airport at night. I took my son to Odaiba Statue of Liberty Replica, Odaiba beach and Aqua City Odaiba mall for lunch. By around 3 pm, my son is already sleepy so I decided to go back to the hotel. From Aqua City Odaiba mall, according to the map, there is a train to go to Hotel Mystays Haneda plus a little bit of walking.
Apparently, the train I took was also the train that goes to Haneda Airport. I saw on the map which station I should get off from and walk to the hotel. As shown in the map, it was around 10 minutes walking from the train station to Hotel Mystays Haneda. So I thought, ok let’s just go. This is where things go wrong.
So I took the train that is also going to Haneda Airport. I do not remember which train, however, I knew that I should get off before reaching Haneda Airport. It took around 30 minutes-ish for the journey. I was sitting with my son and enjoying the view, while still looking at the map. When it was about 2 more stations, I prepared to get off. And you know what, the train did not stop at the station I wanted and it goes straight to Haneda Airport.
I was like OMG. Then I was thinking to look for a train platform to go back to the other direction (Hotel Mystays Haneda direction). I took the train to go back, and once again the train did not stop at the station I want. At that time I already spent 1 hour going back and forth. My son was already sleepy and very grumpy. I asked someone, it turns out I took the express train to Haneda Airport. Since the writing is in Japanese, I did not understand it.
Since I have been going back and forth, this time I got off at 1 station earlier than the designated station, so that I will not go to Haneda Airport again for the second time. I get off on that station while thinking I should just take taxi, since my son is worn out. I get off the train station only to find that I am in the middle of a quite area and it still far away from Hotel Mystays Haneda. That day is truly a tiring day. I walk outside holding my baby’s hand try to look for a taxi. There is no taxi available. If there is a taxi pass by, none of it stopped. Maybe I was on the wrong side of the road where a taxi cannot pick up a passenger. My phone battery was only 15 % left. I was so anxious and does not want to take another train ride.
With the remaining battery power, I use my map to look for the nearest convenient store. I took my son and walk there. After 10 minutes of walking, I found the convenient store. My legs were limp and I am worried about my son. He was crying asking to take a rest; I know he is already exhausted but we need to go on before it gets dark. While approaching the convenient store, I saw a taxi. The taxi was parking then the taxi driver got off to buy something at the convenient store. I immediately carry my son and run to that taxi.
I open my Google translate and wrote “We got lost, please take us to hotel. I will pay you more”. I am so desperate at that point that I am willing to pay more if the taxi driver took us to the hotel. It was 5.30 pm, me and my son were fatigued and cannot find a way to get there. We anxiously waited beside the taxi for the driver to come back to his car. I cannot speak Japanese, Google translate is my only hope. I greet him first, then politely show him my phone screen with the translated words. He saw me and smiled, he told me to wait (with hand gesture). Then he told us to get on the taxi. I feel very relieve. With taxi, the hotel is not that far.
We arrive in 10 minutes. I was ready to give him tip as my gratitude for saving me and my son from getting lost in the middle of nowhere. I was about to give him the money as I am getting off the taxi, he refuses to get paid. I am insisting to pay him and he is nicely declining my offer. I say “Arigatou gozaimasu” multiple times to thank him for his kindness to us. To me that day, he is my savior. I might sound exaggerating, but if you were in my position that day, you will understand why. The moment my son get into the hotel room, he crashes the bed and sleep. I am so lucky and grateful to have met genuinely nice person like that taxi driver.
I might have to learn Japanese language, if I want to continue coming to Japan. So my foolishness that day shall not be repeated anymore. Getting lost is a part of traveling, and it could be fun getting lost in Shibuya maybe, where you can still sightseeing. Not where I was and particularly not on the last day when you have to fly back home. I was honestly panicking and thought that I might not going to catch my flight that day. The lesson of the day is, if you take the train that also go to Haneda Airport and your destination is the station before Haneda Airport, you need to make sure that the train is not the express train that goes to Haneda Airport without stopping. Do not trust your map entirely, you need no double-check.