Japan Trip 2003 (Part1)

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2003/05/22 (and 23) Going Home

From To Carrier, Number Departure Arrival Duration Notes
Wichita, KS Wichita Mid-Continent Airport My friend... 6:30am 6:40am 10mins  
Wichita Mid-Continent Airport Dallas Ft. Worth Int'l Airport American Airlines 1582 0836(CDT) 0955(CDT)   Fokker100
Dallas Ft. Worth Int'l Airport Narita Airport American Airlines 61 1200(CDT) 1500(JST, 5/23)   B777
Narita Airport Nagoya Airport Japan Airlines 53 1815(JST) 1925(JST)   B747
Nagoya Airport Home Nagoya Taxi 2000(JST) 2030(JST)   Taxi

To the airport

        I woke up at 5:00am in my friend's house which is in west side of Wichita. It takes only ten minutes to the airport so it is very convenient (I don't have to drive up from campus, which takes about 30 minutes), and this is the second time my friend's doing this for me. I ate my breakfast and stretched my body. I know it is going to be a very long day. I have arrived at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport around 6:40am, checked in my baggage, grabbed some newspapers. The new procedure is to not to lock the check-in baggage. Besides the name tag you can use, there is a pile of red nylon tie-ups at the ticketing counter. You might want to use those if you want to travel some place next time. The last time I traveled to Japan, they put my bag on a table, took out and checked everything in front of the public. But since they are doing the same thing to everybody now, they don't have to embarrass me anymore. The new procedure also requires us to have the ticket and the boarding pass together. If you don't have both, you cannot get on the plane. So don't lose them. I guess that's something I can say about. I also noticed that they stopped asking the stupid questions. (Did you keep your baggage under your supervision all the time? Did you receive items from someone you don't know? Do you have any hazardous materials in the bag?)

I have found some sculptures of airplanes at the airport. I know there should be about 20 of them in Wichita. I have seen one of them at the Bank of America building in downtown too. Well, here are the pictures and titles.

Flying Extravaganza


        Then I moved to the security check. They briefly checked if everybody has ID and the ticket. I had to took my laptop computer out of the bag for the X-ray, but I did not have to take off my shoes. I think people in running shoes are mostly fine but people in leather shoes, I guess that's the case. I proceed to the gate 6. Then I met a girl who graduated from WSU last December with communication degree, going to Okinawa, Japan for a year. She will be working for AEON which is one of very common private English conversation school in Japan. There are also other similar places such as ECC and NOVA. Since we don't get much opportunities to talk English in our country, that is one way of learning the skill by paying some money and get a chance talking to native English speaker.

American Airlines Flight1582 Fokker100 at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport

        Well, it's time to board, so I'd better get in. Not like the last time, they did not check me at the gate. It was very hard for me to be watched while other passengers going inside without a thing. I guess it's a time in the past already. The wind was coming from the South so the plane used the runway 19R, the plane got off the ground about 4,000ft away from the end of runway so it must have been almost no wind or the plane was heavy. Then it head straight to the south, I could see power plant and Belle Plain. The person who sat next to me sells toys and going back to Portland. The flight was smooth, and I get to see things on the ground for a while. After 30 minutes into the flight, it reached to FL310, and shifted to cruise. They served drink and snack, as usual. The sky was clear but after arriving to the north end of Oklahoma City, low clouds started to cover up the whole thing all the way to Texas, so I was able to see the highway a bit then nothing. We got to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport few minutes early and was a good landing. It always take a long time to get to the gate, they use two runways parallel to each other and one for simultaneous landings and other for takeoffs. Dallas was under cloudy sky, 66F. The plane stopped at Gate C6, our next flight was at Gate A23 so I took TRAAIN system.       

To Japan

AA0061 at DFW

        The American Airlines flight 0061 departs at 12:00pm so I spent time with the girl I met in Wichita, tried to refresh her Japanese skills, but well, the thing is that I could not. Her digital camera got a problem so I had to try fixing it but could not. After the check-in at the gate, I waited for a while near the gate about 2 hours. When the boarding begin, we shake our hands and wish a nice trip to each other. My seat was 23E, which was right at middle of row and met two other folks from Texas. One of a girl is from Gunma, Japan. She is going back home over the summer. (I wish I could do the same but I need to graduate) The other girl was from Austin, TX. She was going to Japan for the first time, visiting her friend who teaches Eanglish in Hokkaido, which is a northern island. The plane did not take too long to takeoff and the 12 hours flight has begun. Same as the last time, the plane goes up North to Alaska, then following the string of islands, it will reach to Narita International airport.

After the takeoff, we are served with snacks and drink. Soon, the airplane reached to FL380. We flew over Colorado Springs, Vancouver  Then around 1:00pm, they served the lunch. Here is the menu

The fun thing is that I can ask them for chopsticks.

Around 5:00pm, we get to serve afternoon snack, there was a small sub (the menu says it was ham and Swiss cheese, but I think I did not see the cheese), a Milky Way, and a small box of raison, we are at Pacific Ocean, just south of Bering Glacier, Alaska.

Crossing the International Date Line

At 10:30am in Japanese time (8:30pm in the CDT), we have crossed the International Date Line. We are not in 5/22 anymore

Light Supper (1:00am-)

At 1:00pm in Japanese Time, about 1.5 hours before reaching to Tokyo, another meal was served. The noodle did not taste anything like Udon noodle. I will need to eat “Real” one after get back to home. I think I will take the other one next time!

After painful 12 hours of flight, the plane is finally approaching to the Narita Airport. I think I was too tired so I did not watch any movie during the flight this time. They have some good music, I like to hear those Jazz programs.

At Narita airport, to Nagoya

        The airplane was approaching smoothly but they suddenly moved up NW of the airport then landed. I guess the wind was coming from the other way. We arrived Narita airport on time (about 3:00pm in Japan). The American Airlines use Terminal 1, but the connection flight to Nagoya use the other one so I took a shuttle bus at the airport to go to the Terminal 2. There are some people going to Manila and Taiwan, so I have seen some people wearing masks.

I have arrived to the Gate 61 but it was only 4:30pm so I decided to walk around the places to find what kind of stuff around here.

I found a place where I can use internet for free. You cannot use your own computer but there are some of them provided. You just need to show your passport. They will ask you for a permission to scan your passport for security purpose, you know, they don't want to see anyone hack into computer and cause troubles. After the process, they will give you a key which goes into an USB port of a computer. They have IBM Think Pad laptop computers. The only problem is that the keyboard is in Japanese so you will have hard time finding certain keys. For example, you will find "@" on "2" button in English keyboard, but in Japanese keyboard, it right next to "P" key. I have seen some people activated Japanese input mode by mistake and started to type in Japanese so they had to get help of employees there. (There are also another internet stations with English keyboard, but they are not free)

An automated oversea insurance machine. You can get insure at airport.

Duty free stores

One of restaurant.

Their menu, I think things are quite expensive there.

        I called my home to let them know that I am in Narita. They asked me if I was going to eat here. I simply say no since I don't have much money left. I came back to the gate where I supposed to be. I have seen a bunch of people smoking, and some people are wearing masks. I realized what kind of situation I am in. The boarding started, but I guess they were in hurry or something, they did not separate passengers in groups. I got a seat in a B747's upper deck, the first row. My backpack did not fit in the compartment, so it was wearing a seat belt right next to me. (It was lucky that no one was sitting right next to me.)

Well, the airplane to Nagoya tookoff, it is just 45 minutes flight, compare to 1:30 in Bullet train, it is fast.

Japan Alps (Kiso Mountains and Hida Mountains) They still have some snows on the summit. I am glad I decided not to climb one.

Right after passing the mountain range, the air gets a bit turbulent. So, I had to stay in my seat until the landing. The cool thing about B747 is that they have look-down camera and forward-looking camera. I can see them taxing, taking off and landing.

Arriving Nagoya

JAL 0053 arrived in Nagoya.

The funny thing is that people at the immigration does not believe, or rather surprised to find out that I have been away from Japan for more than a year (The guys in Tokyo don't react like that...). That is a regular thing for the poor student like me, but I was the one who got really surprise to hear that kind of comments. Some of the security guards and immigration officers were wearing the mask. I bet there are still people going to Taiwan or China (for the business, I guess).

I was taking the picture above, so I came out almost at last. So when I get to the baggage claim, there already bags moving around. I picked up my baggage the moved the custom. Customs in Japan are very strict about "White Powder (drugs)" and "Black Weapon (firearms)", I did not have anything suspicious. I am ready to go. They asked how long I will be so I just told them I will be heading back to the U.S. within two weeks. They are surprised again. Hey, I am just being a good student, okay?

Arriving at home

        I took a cab to go home. There's been lots of changes since the last time so I enjoyed looking those changes. The driver was not good about the road so we took the 100% sure route, ended up taking a bit longer. Around 8:30pm, the taxi got to my place and I paid 6,590Yen then got out from the Taxi. It is a nice feeling when I looking up my house. I met with my family, luckily all of them are alive. My grandpa was so excited and ended up crying (but how come don't remember the name???). I always talk to my family on the phone, but it is always better to see them in person.

Had dinner. Sea food! My mom cooked a Tai (a sea bream) for me. It is a lucky fish traditionally... My dad was in Tokyo for a business so we both came back about the same time. I showed my present to my family.

I made my bed and slept.

Hey Kosuke, what about SARS?

         I knew there are widespread of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in surrounding regions of Japan, such as China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. I have seen just few people wearing masks in the flight from Dallas to Narita, but I have seen some of airport employees are wearing the masks, especially people at ticketing counter, security guards at Narita Airport. There are also other group of people who wear them, they are business people in particular, and also folks looked like from those countries. I think older people usually wear them, but people in my age don't. In the flight from Narita to Nagoya, I have seen some people wearing them, and at the Nagoya Airport, about half of immigration officers wear them.

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2003/05/24 (Cloudy)

I woke up around 4:50am. It's pretty shiny here by that time.

I had my breakfast with my family. Steamed rice, Miso soup, you know, all the traditional stuffs.

The first thing in the morning, I got some allowance from my mom, then I went to Hoshigaoka to reactivate my cell phone. I walked to there and saw many changes in my part of city. My mom told me there are more so I have to find out by myself

Hoshigaoka Bus Station, they have a convenience store in the center. They used to have two separate stations. Nowadays, they also have an elevator.

The one big change I have seen was the surrounding area of Hoshigaoka, where I usually go when I am heading to downtown area.


West side half

East Side Half

I had my lunch at home. Somen noodles

I have not got hair cut for a while so I decided to get refreshed. It was only 1,800Yen including shampoo and face shaving.

From 7:30pm, I will be seeing my friends from junior high at Tengu restaurant. I have met with about 8 people form the junior high. It's a kind of a school reunion of the choir club. I am glad I was doing something over my school year.

My friends from choir club in junior high

Me and the friends (oh, I think I took a similar picture before)

Back in 2001... I still remember.

Other friends, the guy in the right brought his girlfriend

Went to Karaoke from 11:00pm - 3:00am. Since I have spent only few weeks in Japan in past 7 years, I could only sing foreign songs. Fortunately that they have plenty of those so I sang Again, Learn to Fly, Stairway to Heaven, Crawling,

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I woke up around 6:30am in the morning. I went to bed around 3:00am so I slept only 3 hours. I was not in a bad shape since I drunk only two medium bottles. 

After 10:00am, went outside to run. I ran about 4 miles today. I can run faster than before so I got to a place where I used to use bicycle

We had spaghetti for the lunch. Since I ran, I ate a lot. After the lunch I walked to Hoshigaoka to meet my dad at Chikusa Sports Center. He wanted to learn how to do a flip turn. I stayed in the water for about 2 and half hours He did not quite get the skill yet but he tried hard.

Giving my dad advices on his new shoes. I think he made up his mind. We went to the basement of the department store where you can buy many kinds of cooked food. I tried to take pictures but I think I forgot to put a memory card so I need to try it later. I will put up some pictures in later days if I have an opportunity.

I had a Sushi dinner with my family.

Sushi Sampler from left - (Top Row) Ikura (salmon roe), Uni (sea urchin eggs), Toro (tuna, fatty one but delicious!), Anago (eel), Ebi (shrimp), (then bottom row) Kazunoko (herring roe), Kani (crab), Buri (yellow tail), Maguro (tuna), Hamachi (young yellowtail)

more sushi, Also some shrimp, shells

Anago and Chao-Tzu (Round ones got a whole garlic inside, and regular looking ones are just normal.)

I have decided to go to Nagasaki from Tuesday night. I found that a round trip tickets to be 22,020 Yen if I use an over night bus. I cannot afford paying 44,000Yen to use bullet train which takes about only 5, 6 hours.

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2003/05/26 (Rainy)

Today started from rain. I am planning to go see my grandma. Go buy tickets for the trip for the next week.

This is a typical garbage truck in Japan. It is not that large as in the U.S.

Koban, a product of unique Japanese Police system, and their police cruiser is Toyota Echo (They have replaced Toyota emblem with Police mark). (The four Chinese characters in black says "Aichi Police", and the sticker on the rear door says "Eliminate Drunken Drive".)

Yurica. It's prepaid card for Nagoya Transit Authority. You can use this for both Bus and Subway. There are three kinds, 1,000Yen, 3,000Yen and 5,000Yen. If you buy the 3,000Yen one you will get 200Yen more, and 600Yen for the 5,000Yen ones.

I had another Sushi for the lunch. This one is not the same as the sushi from last night.

Chirashi Sushi

Maki Sushi

Nagoya Railway (Meitetsu)

Nagoya Railway (or Meitetsu for short word) is a private railway system. They are one of the first company in Japan which allow passengers to ride air conditioned cars without a charge.

Typical local train type 5700, debut in 1986.

This is called Panorama Car, type 7000. This type of train debut in 1961 and was the first train which has big frontal windows in Japan with maximum speed of 110km/h. There are also Panorama DX (Type 8800), debut 1982 and Panorama Super (Type 1000), debut in 1988.  I will try to get more pictures soon.

My grandma gave me a 30,000Yen. Cool.

After going back to Nagoya station, I went to buy my ticket to Nagasaki.

I also went to Takashimaya Department Store. I also wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe in Nagoya but raining is pretty bad so I decided to do it someday.

At the travel agency, I bought an overnight bus ticket. I got the one for Nagoya-Nagasaki, but they said the bus for Nagasaki-Nagoya is full. So I decided to take a sleeper train(?). It costs a bit more, but I had no other choice. If I stay at a hotel or ryokan in Nagasaki, I cannot afford the trip.

Overnight Bus ticket from Nagoya to Nagasaki, 12,230Yen

Train tickets (Boarding ticket from Nagasaki to Nagoya, upper left, Shinkansen (bullet Train) ticket from Kyoto to Nagoya, upper right, and Sleeper Train ticket on the bottom.)

Sports Drink Comparisons:

Here are some Japanese sports drinks which you can find in most convenient stores. There are some other kinds of sports drinks but I have picked those are common. I think the oldest of its kind was the Pocari Sweat, it was made by a company which makes medicines so it just taste like a medicine a bit, but it is chemically balanced. The next oldest is the Aquarius. It was made by Coca-Cola company and taste like juice. The Amino Supli came out a bit later, maybe few years back, and the Amino-Shiki is the newest, i believe. I listed some of ingredients too.


Name: Amino-Shiki Amino Supli Aquarius Pocari Sweat
Company Suntory Kirin Coca Cola Otsuka
Price purchased: (Yen) 118 140 118 140
Quantity: (ml) 500 500 500 500
Calories 95 120 105 135
Protein 1.0g 1.0g 0.0g 0.0g
Fat 0.0g 0.0g 0.0g 0.0g
Carbon Hydrate 23.0g 30.0g 25.0g 33.5g
Na 140mg 220mg 125mg 245mg
K 130mg 25mg 95mg 100mg
Ca 35mg 10mg 0.0mg 10mg
Mg 10mg 2.0mg 0.0mg 3.0mg
Vitamin B6 1.5mg 0.0mg 1.0mg 0.0mg
Amino Acid 1000mg 1000mg 0.0mg ?

I still don't know which one has the best taste. I used to drink Pocari Sweat and Aquarius a lot. I tired all of them and I think I like the Amino-Shiki best.


2003/05/27 Cloudy

Going to Seiyu Department Store to get some foods

The road nearby was newly developed, and expected to make lots of noise due to heavy traffic so Japanese came up with a way to deal with.

They have surrounded the entire sides of the roads with clear plastic boards to contain the noise. The elevated portion is also another highway. This kind of noise reduction wall was not placed last time when I came home.

On the way to the department store, I found a Eunos Roadstar (a.k.a Mazda MX-5 in the U.S.) which's been wrecked. However, I think there must be something extra too.

Can a car wreck let all wheels go at the same time?

I also find a Ford car which you will never see in the U.S. since it was sold in the European market only. (This one is called Ford Telstar)

I personally think this is a cousin of Mazda Familia or Ford Escort.

At the store, I found a small Coca Cola and a Pepsi Twist in Japanese, the Pepsi can is made out of aluminum, and resealable too. How is this possible? (Look at the following picture for the answer)

Pepsi Twist (500ml) vs. Coca-Cola (160ml). Right now, you can get Beckham related goods from drawings if you purchase Pepsi stuffs. (David Beckham, a very famous soccer player in England, many kids and girls like him SOOOOO much! He is the leader of the team during the game so kids respect him, and married with a girl from the Spicegirls, so he is considered to be very attractive, that's why girls love him) So, I can say that guys won't drink Pepsi since they are jealous. By the way, the Japanese writing on the Pepsi Twist reads...

New delicious taste from the combination of lemon and Coke
 <Pepsi Twist>
 A coke blended with squeezed (Twisted) lemon
a brand new taste
 That's the Pepsi Twist
Smooth, refreshing taste even after the sips
the born of new generation coke.

...um, so, do you want to try this one?

This is the bottom potion of the can. They made this bottle from three pieces; cap, body and bottom. Most of regular cans use a cup like shaped container to fill the drink, then they seal with a cap. This one puts the cap and body first then fill the drink up side down, and seal the bottom. Just they came up with a unique way to make one but it has an advantage. You can reseal it, no other regular container can do this kind of trick. Cool, huh?

There is a daycare center right by my house and sometimes it's noisy too. I think some kids must have been playing Pokemon stuffs. I hear someone imitating Pikachu... When I was their age, we got something different.

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