Japan Day 1. Getting there is half the battle.

May 30 2008

Woke up 7 a.m. Tuesday. Went to work. Went to dinner with some friends. Came home. Finished packing. Stayed up until 2:30 am Wednesday, at which time a taxi picked us up and drove us to Logan Airport in Boston. Way too early. Who knew you could get from Newton to East Boston in 20 minutes at 2:30 a.m.? Well I do now. The airport looked like something out of 28 Days Later. Bodies strewn about on any available surface. Fortunately they were just sleeping, not victims of a deadly rage virus. There wasn’t even anything open to get a cup of coffee, so we just hung out until the ticked gates opened at 4:00 a.m. Security opened a half hour later and we were in!  Of course, being “in” just meant we got to sit in another room and wait another hour. but at least by then, the stores were open. So we ate, drank, and were tired.

At long last, we got on the plane. Modern air transport could learn a lot from the slave trade. They are doing well, but I’m sure they could pack many more bodies in those planes if they started stacking them in tiers. One thing that really pisses me off is the recent practice of charging extra for the emergency exit seats. It used to be a random thing. Maybe you got that seat. If you did, they made sure that you were up to the responsibility. Then they started cramping you into smaller and smaller seats and suddenly the emergency row became a hot commodity and some genius realized you could charge extra for it. So the flight we were on was amazingly underbooked. Lots of extra seats, including the exit row. After everyone was on and they locked the doors, an older couple asked if they could change seats to sit there. The attendant said no, they’d have to pay extra for that. But it’s empty! Sorry, them’s the rules. Now, I could sort of understand if it was a matter of everyone must stay in their assigned seats. But she was more than happy to offer them an empty row in another location. They just couldn’t sit in the emergency row without paying more. Later, when we were in the air, someone else asked and again was refused. Finally, someone had the balls to just go sit there. The attendant gave them a dirty look but didn’t go so far as to make them move. I love it.

Six and a half hours later, we were in San Francisco – about 20 minutes behind schedule. This was not good because our connecting flight was pretty tight as it was, and there was a long line for the bus to the international terminal. By the time we got half way through that line, our flight was boarding. Yikes! But at that point, they went up and down the line asking who was going to Nagoya and rushed us all into the next bus, so we all made it. Got on the slightly less cramped Jumbo Jet and settled in for the next eleven-hour leg of our journey. Miranda and Kris were in the window aisle and I was in the next seat over in the center aisle. Short of the woman beside me having the most ungodly bad breath I’ve ever experienced, it was a relatively uneventful flight. We even had individual tv screens. I watched Jumper, which was ok. Mostly I watched the live map. There’s something surreal about seeing “948 miles to destination” and thinking, “Cool, we are almost there!” But given that you’re on a 5,800+ mile flight, it’s true. I slept an hour here and an hour there on both flights, but nothing solid. At least one of those hours was aided by perhaps the worst glass of white wine I’ve ever tasted. Note to self: don’t drink airline wine from a polystyrene cup. Ever again. Even it it does help you sleep a bit.

Landed in Nagoya, breezed through customs, got our rental car. It was about 2 p.m. local time, but that’s 1 a.m. according to my very confused body. Went to the supermarket and got some food for dinner and showed up at Miranda’s mother’s house. Kristine was so excited. She loves her Obaachan (grandma). Ate some food and hung out for a while. My back was killing me so I took a bath. Japanese baths are awesome. Twice as deep as an American tub, so you are fully submerged, and maybe twice as hot. I got in and pretty much passed out. Not sure how long I slept in the tub. I think I started to overheat a bit and felt like I couldn’t breath. Dragged myself to a futon on the floor and crashed instantly. I think I had been up for 48 hours straight, minus a hour or three of airplane sleep, which doesn’t really count.

This is your eye with no sleep for 48 hours:

Any questions?

No responses yet

Leave a Reply