Saturday, January 23, 2010

8837 Miles Traveled

Jan 21, 2010
Narita, Japan
47°F, overcast.

I was so sad we couldn’t have a longer layover in Japan. While I’m eagerly anticipating our arrival in Bangkok, I was perfectly happy to continue relaxing and sipping my Japanese beer. We woke up this morning at 5am, in the cars by 5:45, and were at the airport by 6:15. After a short flight to Honolulu, we waited for about three hours to board our plane to Tokyo/Narita. I slept for most of the nine hours.
As our plane completed its descent into Tokyo, I noticed that the sky was remarkably red for being only three in the afternoon. The sun didn’t set until about five, but even as it hovered in the clouds, there was enough particulate matter for the light to appear a brilliantly scary scarlet towards the horizon. Something tells me that the countless smoke stacks scattered throughout the area aren’t doing good things for the air.
When we landed, we were informed that our flight to Thailand was moved twenty minutes earlier, but Becky and I had still had some time to walk around and pick up some snacks. Everything was delicious, and reminded me of being home in California – strawberry pocky, soba noodles with agedashi tofu, and milk tea. I noticed that the Japanese have less of a “personal bubble” than we do. While we wandered around the airport, and despite the lack of crowds there was usually the threat of collision as people came remarkably close.
I had hoped that there would be at least one robot that would assist me in Japan, but alas, we were in the older terminal and I had to settle for the most complicated toilet I’ve ever seen. While it was the best bathroom experience ever, no competition, the buttons and sound effects can be a little confusing to a first-time user. I’ll admit I went back twice just for the amusement. Where else can you adjust the volume of the artificial flushing sound while making your seat warmer or cooler?
I’m sitting on the plane to Bangkok right now. I feel like this is the real start of our trip; Alaska and Hawaii were just practice. If the water doesn’t need to be filtered, it’s not really a vacation.

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