We'll, I've faced down my fears and made it from one side of Tokyo to the other and back again - on my own. A total of seven trains and about three hours of travel.
The journey there was smoooooth, I made all the changes with no problems. I shared my journey with thousands of other Tokyo-ites, a little too closely at times, but at least I had room to put my feet and wasn't a victim of "polite pushers". However, I didn't feel as though I had room to freely exhale until about 45 minutes into my journey.
The journey back was a tiny bit more problematic, but nothing that a little bit of map and sign reading couldn't overcome. Probably my closest call was when the train totally emptied out (see picture) and I didn't realise that this was the last stop of the train - merely two stations before my destination. Sorry the photo is blurry - as I took it an official person came running through urgently and politely tossing me off the train!
I think what has made it possible to do today, what I couldn't have done five years ago is that I've learned some of my local geography - most especially the names of some of the key stations along my journey. So I therefore could figure out whether I was getting on the right train, for example.
I'm still a little dodgy on all the variety of trains that they have - local, commuter express, semi-express, rapid express, limited express and even a commuter semi-express! Each with their own complex Japanese characters. If you're lucky you'll spot an English equivalent, but this still doesn't tell you if the train will stop at "your" station. To find that out you have to search for a wonderful bar-type graph with spots that tell you which station which type of train stops at on this line. Fantastic stuff!
All that aside, though. I think I have this route sorted! Which is good, because on Wednesday I have to do it again (actually only 2/3 of it). It is also one of the most direct routes to our mission's Japan headquarters where I go, on average, once a month. Often I can get a lift or have a travel partner, but it is good to know that I can manage on my own if I need to!