Japan Trip 2003 (Part3)

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Went to Seiyu Department Store again to buy stuffs I forgot last time. I also wanted to buy some books but I think they must have stopped to have one while I was gone. I went to drug store also.

I found some American cars on the way and back...

Chrysler PT Cruiser (The steering wheel is located in the right hand side) I don't know if Japanese like this kind of cars... (At lease I have seen a bunch of them at a dealer)

A bit older Camaro

Camaro, a pretty new one. (Note that all Japanese cars have retractable side mirrors.)

Chevy Blazer. I think most of GM cars don't have option to move the steering wheel to the other side. I am sure it looks cool but I heard it is hard to drive sometimes...

I took a day off again, updating my web page...

Typhoon #4 is approaching and may go across Japan tonight.

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2003/05/31 (Rain)

I still don't feel good enough, so I slept whole day today. I need to hang out with my friend from high school tomorrow so I need to be ready.

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2003/06/01 (Rain/Sunny)

        I went to Shopping center near Nagoya Train Station to buy some books this morning. It was a bit rainy but not too much. I was going to catch a bus but I missed it so I wasted another 20 minutes. Since after the typhoon, I have seen some debris on streets, but I think they will be taken care by tomorrow. I bought three books, and got phone call from my high school friend. I was hoping to meet with two of them but only one of them were available.

I found a Kimono store, a simple set costs you about 300,000Yen (about $2,700)

I went to Hard Rock Cafe in my city. I bought some pins for my friends.

The tallest building shown here is Nagoya Hilton Hotel, the Hard Rock Cafe is located right next of it. (Sorry I forgot to take the picture)

        I met with my friend at Osu, where we used to hang out all the time. Osu is the place where you can buy computers and other electronics stuff for cheap price. There are place where you can buy parts like resister, capacitor, switch, circuit board, and even slow microprocessor such as Z80A. Since we have not eaten anything yet, we went to Sugakiya, a common cheap restaurant where you can eat noodles. (I forgot the picture again!) I have seen more and more non-Japanese speakers in Osu these days, my friend said that the place is not safe as used to be.

Good Will, now this one is the biggest computer store in this area. There weren't any when I started to go to Osu. They have a membership card which you can collect points for each purchase, after it reach to certain points, you can get discount on many appliances. By the way, there are more than one Good Will store in Osu, but this one is one of the biggest. This place sells computers hardware, software, digital cameras, TVs, projectors, cell phones, recording medias... I purchased a small used SONY picture book. I just thought if I am going home to get a job. I think I need a pure Japanese typing capability. (My computer I use have a IME which allow me to enter Japanese on English Windows running machines).

I found a IS300, just like the one my friend drives...

Ford Probe

Look at the emblem at the front grill. This one has the traditional Japanese marking. If you think the Lexus mark is the right one, sorry. This car is called Soarer (not SC430), and has symbol of a lion with wings. Toyota Motor Co. is planning to create Lexus brand in Japan in 2006.

This is Osu Kannon, a famous temple in Nagoya. (Actually I have never been here until this day...)

I found a Levi's store (Used to be a Gateway store)

(Same place back in 2000, can you tell from the texture of wall stone?)

For the dinner, we went to a fairly good restaurant. This meal is called Hitsumabushi(R). It's seasoned eel with steamed rice. My friend told me that I have to take this one regularly twice (first without and second with seasonings), and the third one I have to mix with tea (you see the tea pot, right?) and the last one is my choice.  The square box you see in the front contains seasonings (Green Onion, Wasabi and Seaweed)

So, how the 2,300 Yen food looks like?

This crab model moves, at a crab meat restaurant. My friend also told me that there is a shrimp version somewhere.

Abusing the Power of Plastic!?

I checked my balance on my credit card since I bought many stuffs in Osu today. I was surprised to find out that they suspended my account! The Bank of America has never done it but I think the MBNA bank is not happy at all. I wanted buy more stuff but I guess I have to give up some of them. Oh, man...

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The last day in Nagoya this time. I have reconfirmed my flights and they are all good to go. I went to a bank to send money to my account. Went to a book store to buy a book about SR-71, and Yamada (a famous electronic appliances franchise store in Tokyo) to get some CD-R and carrying cases for my laptop computer(s).

On the way I was going to Hoshigaoka, I have seen Mitsubishi T-2 jet plane heading to the Nagoya airport.

The first thing I did was to send Japanese seasonings I bought to Wichita. The postage is based on the weight, so I picked all dried ones. The package weights about 2lb, so I paid 2800Yen.

I had so many problems sending money to the U.S. Japanese uses "Inkan" (a seal or stamp you can say...) for many business deals including transactions on banking account. So I can take my father's check register and the stamp to withdraw his money. (I can use it anyway as long as he doesn't know... right?) I just need to show my identification such as a passport so they will believe who I am. They weren't sure why my passport has its picture bind, not printed onto the paper (I renew my passport at Kansas City so they did not have the equipment), and why a guy like my age needs money from parents (all of my friends have job now...) so I looked very suspicious. Anyway, without too much trouble, I send money to my account in Wichita. Phew.

The next stop was the book store within Mitsukoshi Department store. I also wanted to check out some CDs but I did not know which one to pick so I gave up.


I checked schedule on the buses and trains which I am using to go to the airport. There are two ways I can go to the airport.

  1. By Taxi: Pros - fast, most reliable, sometimes they will comply your request when you are in hurry. Cons - EXPENSIVE, about 6000Yen
  2. By Public transportation: Pros - cheap, fairly fast Cons - You have to plan carefully, no way getting it moving fast.



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2003/06/03 Coming Back to the United State

From To: By Departure Arrival Duration Note
Home Bus Station Walking 6:10 6:20 10min
Bus Station Hoshigaoka Subway Station Public Bus 6:20 6:35 15min 200yen
Hoshigaoka Subway Station Fujigaoka   Subway Station Public Subway 6:43 6:55 12min 230yen
Fujigaoka   Subway Station Nagoya Airport Meitetsu Bus 7:00 7:35 35min 900yen
Nagoya Narita Airport Japan Airlines 54 0900(JST) 1005(JST) 1:05  
Narita Airport Dallas Ft. Worth American Airlines 60 1815(JST) 1540(CDT)    
Dallas Ft. Worth Wichita Mid Continent Airport American Airlines 3909 1651(CDT) 1802(CDT)    
Wichita Mid Continent Airport My Apartment          

Going to the Airport

I woke up at 5:30am in the morning. Today is the day I am going back to the U.S. to continue studying at Wichita State. I had my breakfast at home. (Therefore I saved some money), met my family member for the last time, except my grandpa. My grandma came to the outside gate, to see me leaving. When I leave my house, it is always the moment I have to hold my tears. It's been this way, for many many years.

The plan has set yesterday and only thing I just need to do is not to get behind of the schedule.

The all the thing went well.

I got on the bus which came on time (at 6:20am)

I was surprised to see the Fujigaoka station has been under going some renovation works. I heard they are preparing for the World Expo in 2005. They should have a station for HSST (some kind of linear motor driven trains). I did not buy stuff since there are much thing I was interested in.

I have arrived at Airport in a right timing. I have only spent 1330Yen, which could been another 6000Yen if I use a taxi.

Going to Narita

I checked in the counter at 7:45, by 8:00pm, I arrived to the gate. I had a little time before boarding.

JAL plane at Nagoya Airport

Komaki (or Nagoya) airport is shared with Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) and I get to see two T-1 jet trainers took off from the runway at the same time. They maneuvered in pretty cool manner, man. I want to be a jet pilot! When we took off, I also saw a F-2 (modified F-16) at a hanger of Mitsubishi Aerospace Center. My plane tookoff at 9:05am Seat A60

The plane kept climbing, first to north, the made a right turn to head south. Reached to FL210. Around 9:15, we got to flyover Hamamatsu, then for another 5 minutes passed by, I get to see Mt. Fuji. I was lucky to have a seat in this side.

Mount Fuji

By the time when we get closer to the airport, the air gets a bit shaky. Another typhoon was approaching so I guess it was because of it. The airplane was a bit shaky for ten minutes, then landed.

Wasting time at Narita Airport

Spending time at Narita Airport was so tough. I called two of my friend who I missed to meet this time. I did not use my prepaid phone much while I was staying so I had to use it up. I wish I had more time. That's what I think sometimes but I also cannot afford the time.

I had my lunch at Narita Airport. I wanted to eat something decent but the food at the airport but there aren't any GOOD foods,

Lunch (800Yen). This come with salad and a fried rice (shrimp and crab meat on top)

AA60 (B777) Waiting at Narita Airport

I have met with folks from Australia. They arrived at Narita Airport at 7:40am, it takes about 12 hours from Melbourne, and they are using the same plane as mine to go to Dallas. No wonder airplanes have entertainment system...

The connecting counter for the American Airlines opened at 1:15pm. I think they thought I am not a Japanese (that happens all the time) was first talked in English. I got seats at window sides all the way to Wichita.

I kept walking around the places. I am sure I was on every single security cameras... I found a place where you can take shower ($5 for 30 min), internet (have DELL computer and charge is 100Yen per 10 minutes, it allows to open only one window so if you have a email system such as Earthlink which opens another window to type e-mail, it does not work. Use Yahoo or Hotmail instead)

I was tired of walking finally, I sat down to kill last one hour. I hear someone coughing and realized there are some people who does. Cough coming from one side, and another from somewhere else. It is not a good place to be, especially right now.

Shopping Tips at Narita Airport (MONEY SAVING!)

        If you need to buy stuffs at gift shops in the airport, you need to watch for the prices. For example, I was buying a bottle of water at a store nearby the Gate A11 for 140Yen, but when I was walking toward the other part of the terminal, I have seen some places put the prices as high as 180Yen (so there is 40Yen difference!). I guess it's nice to walk around to waste time...

In order to buy stuffs without paying the sales tax, you need to show your ticket to prove that you are departing from the airport to other country. Arriving airport will charge you sales tax even it says duty free. (and they are good at checking it, too)

Arriving to Dallas

The boarding was started on time at 5:30pm. They did not get me on the plane right away because I forgot to remove my mask. (Another SARS related problem?) A person sitting next to me did not speak Japanese, and seems not understanding English much. She did not eat dinner, but had breakfast. I did not hear she said a word so I must assume this is going to the U.S. for the first time. (Or just doesn't like me.) The only thing I know is that she was going to Memphis, TN. The airplane tookoff at 6:30pm, It was a bit cloudy so I did not get to see places much and reached to FL340 in about 30 minutes.

Before Sunset, it was a sunny color

We get our dinner served about one hour into the flight.

I watched "Tasogare Seibei" (Twilight Samurai is the English title) on the entertainment system while I was eating. That one is more like traditional Samurai movie, not like modern day action movies. I liked it but I am not sure if people from other country would understand it. Usually over the ocean in the night, the air gets turbulent. I wore seatbelt all the time so it didn't matter.

After the movie, I tried to sleep and I guess I did so well. I did not wake up again until I was above somewhere in Montana. I must have missed the Midnight snack. I am not sure what was served.

above Montana, the first picture in the U.S.

Rocky Mountains, last time when I came back, it was under moon light.

The plane is about two hours before landing, so the breakfast was served.

I had a Danish. I think I had the same one last time. I personally do not prefer corn flakes in the aircraft since I almost got motion sickness once before and I decide not to get that one anymore. I was pretty tired by the time I get to Dallas. I did not make a big mistake on my paperwork but there's been some small problems. The inspection at immigration, custom and agriculture have been much strict than before. They checked my passport and document very carefully, checked my both baggage and the backpack with X-ray machine. (That's good thing about having a digital camera).  I guess that's the way it supposed to be. I got in okay since I did not cough?

Back to Wichita

I was at the Terminal A but the airplane to Wichita leaves from terminal B so I took moving walkway there.

I checked in my baggage around 4:00pm.

Regional Jet Arriving at DFW with 30 minutes late. Our boarding was so quick! (We left the gate only 15 minutes delay)

It is always not a good sign if you start seeing cloud like this...

As you can guess from the picture above, the air got turbulent again. It was overcast in Wichita so I did not see anything until maybe to 4,000ft. The aircraft landed on 1R.

I found out that one of wheels on my bag almost came off. It must be decommissioned. I bought it back in 1996 so it served well.

The first thing I did after arriving in Wichita was to call my friend. It was right passed 6:00pm so I thought I should offer him to have dinner with me (so I don't have to pay Taxi). Luckily I got hold of him and I get picked up around 6:40pm. I saved some money.

I had dinner with Kang and Danny at Sumo restaurant. I know my credit card was suspended so I paid in cash.

After coming home, I called my home to let them know that I got back in Wichita safe.

Good Night.

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