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Details on the flights to Japan.

Now that we’re back from the first full day (I’ll post that separately) and actually awake, here’s the details on our adventure on getting here. First off, at one point I pulled out my laptop and even without internet typed up a paragraph while waiting for one of our planes:

So for those curious about what happened with the flight. I fly in from Cleveland to Chicago and meet up with my cousin and everything was going well. The flight was very uneventful, I think we only hit turbulence once. We get to the flight to Tokyo and they were just starting to board when we got there, which was good. We get on and notice that it’s rather warm. Turns out the auxiliary power supply wasn’t working. It did work at the end but they still cancelled the flight and pushed us back to a 6:00pm flight. Remember the initial flight was supposed to leave at 12:44pm. We sit around, talk to a guy my cousin was talking to on the plane, get a $10 voucher for food at the airport and eventually get on the plane for the 6:00pm flight. So we sit there, and wait, and wait. For an hour and a half we were sitting on the plane because of “routine international inspections” or something. The time then got past the point we were allowed to fly because in Narita there’s a noise curfew or something that you can’t have flights after 11:00pm. I guess they completely shut down the airport. So that flight got cancelled. They appologized a lot, you could tell even the pilot was annoyed when he made the announcement. When we were told it was cancelled the pilot said something like he noticed our flight was taking off the flight board and so we were cancelled and if there was anything they could do just ask an attendant or “come up to the cockpit or something.” Guess even he wanted to go to Japan. So we get a room, and another $10 meal voucher. We got rebooked onto a continental airlines so we would both be on the same plane, else we would have flown separate flights. Since I don’t have (free) internet yet I’m typing this up at Houston. yep, that’s right. Going from continental we had a layover in Houston first. I guess it’s not so bad since it cuts the long flight down. Just makes things more annoying. So we’ll get into tokyo around 2:20pm local time on Sunday. so we lost a day and probably won’t be able to “veg out” that first day since we really wanted to go to places. So that’s the cliffs notes version of all this so far. Guess things aren’t getting off to a good start.

In all honesty I don’t remember when we arrived. The plane trip wasn’t too bad all things consisdered. It was cramped and I wouldn’t be complaining if we did business class next time (yes, I really want to come here again). I spent most of the time watching the movies. Saw King Kong, Harry Potterer and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I think some other one and then a japanese one called Rinku, Rinku, Rinku that was kinda slow, but in Japanese. May have only slept a couple hours and didn’t read a single book I brought. I did do a quick recording when we got off the plane at Narita and it wasn’t even worth my time to upload it here. Basically that I was finally in Japan after a long trip and that the first thing I noticed was the green “running man” exit signs everywhere. As I’ll find out later, Japan is big on the stick figures and really funny warning signs. A good example (I couldn’t get a good picture of it) is when boarding the trains there’s a sign that shows a cat getting it’s tail stuck in the closing doors. On the other half of the door the cat gets it’s paw stuck in the door. Poor kitty. Another one shows a guy leaning over an escalator and then appears to fall because he hits his head on the wall from the escalator going in the other direction.

We get off the plane and after going through “customs” which was nothing more than some paperwork and someone asking “do you have anything to declare?” I imaging the customs process coming into the U.S. is going to be far more detailed. Got our money exchanged. Interesting thing to not here was the conversion rate for cash was $1 = 109 yen or so. But for traveler’s checks it was $1 = 110 yen or so. So you get more money back by using traveler’s checks. My guess is it’s easier to get money from traveler’s checks than having to go through processing currency. There’s a convenience store in the airport so when’s a better time to learn the currency than by going to store. First two things I bought are Pocari Sweat–an enery drink that some say the taste fits the name, didn’t bother me too much but probably won’t get it again–and Pocky which is these sticks dipped in chocolate. Anime fans in America go nuts over it, personally don’t see the huge appeal, but just wanted to get it because I’m in Japan.

Now we get introduced to the amazement that is Japan’s public transit system. So we get the ticket for the train that takes us to Tokyo and head on down. The ride itself was pretty nice. Got to see rice patty fields which I was amazed since we were only about a 45 min train ride from Tokyo. After we get off that train we get to have our first round of figuring out how to work the public transit system. That first ticket we just bought at a counter, now we have to use the automated ticket machine. I had a vague idea of how they worked and my cousin just said they looked different. After just randomly pushing buttons we just watched someone else and realized you put the money before choosing your fare instead of the other way around. So we get that figured out and get to the exit we need for our hotel. Check in at the hotel, quickly got on the computer, enjoyed some of the commercials on the tv and pretty much passed out as soon as we hit the bed.

Keep in mind that, at this point, we have not had to ask a single question.  Pretty much any contact we’ve had with people is to buy our tickets at the airport, which knew english, and the people at the hotel, which kinda knew enough english that we could check in.  So far, as of Sunday night when we arrived here things were going pretty well.

2 Responses to “Details on the flights to Japan.”

  1. Goose Says:

    Good story so far… take pictures of the signs! especially if you can find some of those “japanese only” signs… do you have the Bub’s internet connection over there, like 90 baud?

  2. panasianbiz Says:

    hi, I came across your blog on Technorati, and I just had to say that it sounds like you had one nightmare of a trip to Japan! But at least you made it. Also, you’re right about not having to use Japanese much. I think it’s actually pretty easy for a foreigner to get around Tokyo without having to know any Japanese at all.

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