Japan Trip 2004 (Take 2)


I am going home to see if I can get a job there....

I just spent time in Tokyo and Nagoya few months ago and I have never thought I have to go back again! If you want to check out the note, click here.

Day1 Going back to Japan

I went to bed around 11:00pm last night. Just in case I miss the alarm clock I usually use, I set another one. Luckily, I woke up at 3:30am with the first alarm clock. My friend took me to the airport around 4:00am. However, I did not have to get to the airport until 4:30am since the ticketing counter does not open until then. I shopped a little to grab newspaper and some magazine which my friend asked for before lining up.

Check in counter not open yet...

After the check in, I proceeded to the gate.

Entrance of the airport

At the security check, they checked my shoes and had to stand up for them while they are doing the body check. My shirt was made by Levi's and had rivet buttons. They triggered the metal detector all the time so it took a while. It is not a good thing to wear. I will avoid it next time.

At the airport, I tried to use one of workstations but did not work for me so I just used their power. I hope it will work better next time. (Since the last time I saw this, I brought my CAT5 cable over...)

Work Station

American Airlines AA3702 Wichita -> Dallas Fort Worth (ERJ-145)

The airplane leaves Wichita at 6:00am arriving at DFW around 7:13am. The plane was expected to be late by 25 minutes even before I was going to the gate. Now the departure time is around 6:25am. The actual departure of the plane was around 6:40am.

Late (and this is the only one being delayed...)

ER-145 at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport

Morning flight to Dallas

The sky was not that clear, the cloud covered pretty much all the way. I could see Ponka City and Tinker AFB in Oklahoma but these were it. The plane arrived to the airport safe, until the landing. Due to the rainfall nearby the DFW, the plane had hard time landing it. Passengers did not notice much but the right main gear touched down first, then it bounced as the left gear touched. I will fire that pilot.

ERJ-145 arrived at Dallas

Using smaller planes provide more convenience, but since the total number of flight increases, the number of the gates may not be enough...

ERJs waiting in a line for their gates at DFW. "This is your captain speaking, we are currently waiting for the next available gate...."

American Airlines AA0175 Dallas Fort Worth -> Narita (B777)

The airplane leaves at 10:10am (actual departure was about 10:30am). I usually use the one departing around 12:00pm so this is the first time I am going home early.

AA0175 at Dallas

Somewhere in the U.S., the plane had to maneuver through the thunderstorm clouds. They actually reached to this altitude.

Thunderstorm Clouds (altitude 34,000feet)

Before heading to Alaska, the plane flew over directly above Vancouver, Canada.

Vancouver Click here for the larger picture

The flight was fine but cloudy all the way after leaving the coast line I could not see Alaska or any other Japanese soil. After painful 12+ hours flight, the B777 started to slow down...

Slowing down for the final approach

The plane arrived in Narita Airport at 12:45am on Monday. The plane landed on the expanded runway, which has a couple of tight corners on the taxiway. A girl who sat next to me was bound for Taiwan. She is a Taiwanese but her parents live in the U.S. She is going to take a summer class in a university there so I think that is pretty cool. She will be staying with her aunt for a month.

The place near by the gate is still doing some work (not much change from two months ago), so the plane had to be towed to the gate, again.

American Airlines B777 at the Gate

One step outside of the airplane, my immediate thought was the air is very humid. I went through immigration, picked up my baggage, went through the custom. I did not have any problem this time since I told the guy that I came here for interview, and will be back to the U.S. in a week.

Arrival at Narita Airport

Money Exchange

Last time I forgot to take picture of this place. The bank let you exchange your USD to Japanese Yen.

Called my friend at her work place. I wanted to go to Yuurakucho because that where she works (until 5:45pm) but there is no Internet Cafe up there therefore we decided to meet up at Ueno, where I can use internet at a cafe.

Narita Airport to Tokyo (Using Keisei Skyliner)

Since I was going to Ueno, I decided to use Keisei Railways for the first time. I usually use Narita Express to Tokyo but my friend told me it is a bit cheaper if I use this train to go to Ueno. The first train available was the Keisei Skyliner 18. cost me 1,920Yen (Cheaper than Narita Express, 1,000Yen for boarding and another 920 Yen for the express fee) It is cheaper but there is a catch. The Keisei Railways has Ueno Station a bit far off the JR ones. Leaving Narita at 14:35, arriving Ueno at 15:36. Meaning that this train takes just about 1 hour. I think Narita Express takes about 53 minutes. If you are not in hurry, this is a money saving way. I guess the price is about right. Since the price is low, the quality of the ride is a little low too.

Ticket for Keisei Skyliner

Keisei Skyliner

Rice field, a typical view nearby the airport...

Baseball fields made on a river side, will provide room for flood.

Railway built so closed to the houses, but it is usual in Japan anyway...

Keisei Railways Ueno Station



Keisei Skyliner

JR Narita Express (NEX)




Price (Yen)




Time (Minutes)

63minute to Ueno

53 minutes to Tokyo




Very well


Connection to Shinkansen

5 minutes by walk



Onboard Telephone




Vending Machines








Table at seat




Foot rest at seat








No trashcan available (due to elevated security)

The first thing I needed to do is to put my baggage away somehow. Since I am no magician, I have no choice but find a locker. I found a huge one at Ueno station and I put my bags in. This type of the locker is famous for putting dead body and stuff... so there were many surveillance cameras around. As I explained in the last trip note, transportation systems in Tokyo stops after midnight, so the locker room will be shut down after 11:30pm until next morning. You will need to be careful on this. Smaller one cost 500Yen, while this big one is 800Yen for a day. Japanese locker has a system that they will charge the fee by the day, meaning you have to pay for two days if you put the bag in the evening, pick it up in the next morning.

Coin Locker at Ueno Station. 800 Yen and you will get this...

Ueno, Internet Cafe

There was a place in Ueno station where I can use the internet but so many people were waiting. I could use wireless modem on my laptop but they told me that I had to get a contract with Nippon Telecom Co., which I don't... So, I was just walking around while I was waiting for my friend

Someone fell from the stairway... One victim and so many police and medics?

I also find a movie theater which shows some American movies...

The Day After Tomorrow

Harry Potter

Ameya Yokocho (Ameyoko)

Between Ueno and (next station) the streets nearby the railroad has a district called "Ameyoko", or "Ameya Yokocho (Ameya Street)". This place has many different kinds of stores. You can buy some of those wrong named brand named clothing's or simply fake ones.

I am not sure how this place became such a district, I am guessing the black market after WWII.


I have met with a couple from Austria. They told me both NYC and Tokyo are expensive. They also told me to visit Wien, it is cheaper, and have a lot of place to visit. Oh well, someday I will.

Ameyoko. There are many people around all the time

Ameyoko. It is not like times square, but I am sure they intended to be

a typical drug store in Japan

You can buy fans

Fish market

Fake T-shirts for sale!

I was at Starbucks Coffee to waste time. I got a small cup of tea, and Raspberry-Orange cake. The price for this was...

Meeting up with my friend at 6:00pm in front of Ueno Hard Rock Cafe.

We went to Who's Food at Ueno. It was on the seventh floor of a building and could see a park nearby. My friend works for real state related company and she knows a lot of places to eat. Obviously, she was not satisfied. We ordered little, and decided to go other place. At least the sight from the window was cool.

View from Who's Food Restaurant, the funny looking green is a lake called Shinobazu no Ike. The funny looking building is Yebisu building, I have no idea with the right one though.

Later we went to Toriyoshi. The food was a lot better but the order wasn't placed, or simply I was not used to do it in Japanese way

Came home around 10:00pm. My friend showed me where I can get passport photos for my Japanese resume, Rirekisho.

I went to bed around 11:00pm. It is going to be a big day tomorrow.

Day2 Tokyo Big Site

Career Fair at Odaiba, Tokyo. 11:00-18:00, a building called Tokyo Big Site.

I woke up around 6:00am. I actually did not get any sleep much. I went bed around 11:00pm but I woke up once around 1:30am. Then, I do not think I have ever manage to fall asleep. I woke up very sleepy and I was not ready to take on any interview. I hope my day will go well.

My friend let me have the key so I could help myself out. The first thing I did was to go to a convenience store to get my breakfast and lunch. I thought about buying a newspaper but maybe too late to memorize things for the interview. I had to get my passport picture taken, and I also needed to get my stamp (or seal), for identification purpose. In many cases, Japanese use this "Hanko" as people sign in the U.S. This item is powerful, you need to be careful with it.  For many years people get their money withdrawn from their bank accounts since someone pretended to like them. Similar to credit card identity theft.

My food for the day. Clockwise from Top. Riceballs (Salmon, Spicy Fishegg), Another rice ball but with soysauce and chicken flavor. Corn & Mayo bread, Sausage bread, curry bread.

I went to Odaiba by using the Keisei-Tohoku line. And Yurikamome the New Transit System. I have used Yurikamome once and I am not familiar with the system.

Keisei-Tohoku line, let's go get a job!

Yurikamome Station at Shinbashi


Tokyo Big Site, funny looking building

The only company for today I was interested was Honda Motors. It took me for a while to get to talk with human resource people. She was interested on my major, which is aerospace engineering. She asked me whether I was interested with the Honda Jet, my answer is "absolutely" I would be cool to get to work on those thing, but I have to survive two rounds of interview and before that, I need to wait for their reply.

The interview went well. I might have to come back to Tokyo again for two more times.

This saw looking kinda funny

People live in highrise building in man made island. I am pretty sure these building will be ruined if earthquake hits

News Deli, a pasta buffet.

I plan on leaving my stuffs at my friend's apartment.

I have left my friend's apartment a little passed 8:00pm. I have arrived in Tokyo Station. I thought about going to "Midori no Madoguchi" to get my boarding pass but I realized it would be a little cheaper to buy a ticket within a station. There are some desks inside of the gates and I think I saved some money. The cost of buy a ticket was 10,580Yen

Train to Tokyo is arriving to Higashi Jujo

Shinkansen Ticket

Nozomi 159 arriving to Tokyo Station

Going home in the evening using bullet train (They prefer to be called "Super Express") Nozomi 159 which is the last one and Departing Tokyo at 21:18 and arriving Nagoya 22:56. I should assume my arrival at Hoshigaoka, nearest bus station to be about 23:30pm. I called my mom on the phone while waiting for the train, my dad already told me that there will be no bus for the evening, meaning I have to take a taxi. Oh well...

The train on the way back was so busy. I just cannot find any other free space so I put two of my bags in front of me but still there are not much room left to put my both legs. Buy the way, I have heard of news the train operator fell sleep. I am very sleepy and I guess I will understand them a little.

I got back to my home by using a subway, then used a taxi to come home. The driver told me that the high of the day was about 32degrees. A bit of rain in the evening too.

I went to bed around midnight.

Day3 Rest, preparing for the interview

I will have an interview tomorrow. I will probably spend time at home, preparing for it.

I went to swim in the morning

Rained a bit right after I got home. Humidity of 70+% is simply killing me.

Hoshigaoka (2004/06)


I spent time in a library for a while (Japanese library has a very different system than the one in the U.S. Many books are stored in backdoor and you have to use computer to browse the book for it.)

I went to Hisaya Odori, the walked south to Sakae, went to Maruzen, and Nadia Park to get some books about hybrid cars and airplane

Came home around 6:00pm

Had bath and went bed. I am just so sleepy around 9:00pm

Sakuradori Line

Aichi Prefectural Library

Nagoya TV tower

Tiffany & Co.

Oasis 21, a outdoor concert hall with glass roof

I spent evening just relaxing

Went to bed around 11:00pm


Day4 The day for an interview

Going to a company to get interviewed. The name of the company is called Harada Vehicle Design LLC.

I have done two tests. One is for my personality and another one for basic skills, such as Japanese, Algebra, Logic,

The president of the company was very nice. He does not have engineering background but somehow managed the company

The company is based on


I am not sure if they liked me and I am not sure if I think that is the right company which I want to work for

If I want to get a job in Japan

I guess many companies in Japan want people who can speak both English and Japanese, while they totally conserving the Japanese identity. However, what kind of person plan to get a job in Japan when they go to 


Day 5 Rest

Relaxing for a day...

I am going to vote in the morning, swim after that, had lunch at home, going to shopping at Seiyu department store in the evening.

My host family told me that I have got 945 on TOEIC. Not so bad for the exam I took in a bad weather day.


Absentee Vote

July 11th is the voting day for Sangi-In. The Sangi-in is the lower house in our government. The ruling party, Liberal, has been a target of criticism for the issues like rewriting the constitutions about our war capability, sending troops to Iraq and Social Security System. Minshu is expected to gain more sheets according to the poll. I can cast a vote several weeks before the erection, if I cannot be there on the day of vote. Japanese can have their voting right when they become 20, but since I came to the U.S. when I was 18, I have never done it before. I went to a post office the morning to drop off some mails to my friends then I got on a bus to get to Meito ward hall to cast my vote.  The erection for this time is for Sangi-In, which replaces half of 600(?) members every three years.

Admission ticket for vote July 11th is the voting day.

Nishiyama Post Office (some of my friends are getting Japanese summer greeting cards)

July 7th is Tanabata, a summer festival in Japan. People decorates a type of bamboo with paper craft, and hang tags with some wish written onto it. People simply put wishes like "I want to improve GPA" or "I want more money" The first one lacks the person's effort to study more and second one should have been working harder. I like something like "I wish all the family members can stay healthy this year"

Meito Ward Hall

I have arrived at the ward hall. One of the conference rooms is used as absentee voting location. After they took my card, I had to fill out a form, then placed two different kinds of votes. 

I had to write a paper that I swear I have to be out of town on the day of vote, and I case two votes. One for an individual, and the other for the party. I needed to fold the ballot, but I did not know so I had to ask the monitor how. I headed back to Hoshigaoka

I found a Domino's Pizza

Disney's Lion King is coming to my place (now playing in Tokyo, Osaka...)

Looking for a big coin locker

I used Higashiyama Line to go back to Hoshigaoka, they did not have a coin locker which was big enough


Swimming at Sports Center - They were closed on Friday. Oh, no...

Lunch at home

I had to take care of my grandparents eat their lunch. My grandma does not really my name, my grandpa cannot hear.

Shopping at Seiyu

I went to Seiyu department store. I forgot to bring my camera again. (Looks like I have never get to take a picture of this place...) I bought some Japanese food seasoning. I was a bit hungry to I bought Takoyaki and Doritos.

Takoyaki, you will put Mayo, Sauce, seaweed and dried tuna...

Doritos Sourcream and Onion flavor. Japanese eat this in different shape.

I spent my evening to just write more about the trip. I am going to see my friends tomorrow.


Day6 Hanging out with my friends?

At least two of my friends responded my email. I plan to meet them.

Noon at Sakae with friend from high school

First I went to JR Nagoya Station, I hoped to find a locker big enough to store my bags overnight. There were some, but all of them were


There used to be a movie theater complex where the construction machines are seen. They are making a new one now.

Try C-mode. Use your cell phone to buy a pop from vending machine

Nana-Chan (Spider (Wo?)man edition) Nana-Chan is a famous doll in Nagoya. It is brought from France, changes dress often. 

We met at Osu, had lunch at Sugakiya then walked to Sakae to get some funny stuffs.

Some streets in Osu is not accessible by a car. So people get to enjoy shopping.

At Nadia Park...

I bought a 5 sets of chopsticks


Simple Green

80% of households in the U.S. use this product! (In Japanese)

The fact about Simple Green --- NOT SOLD IN WAL MART!

Old El Paso Seasoning Mix 210 Yen, Taco Shells, 441, Dinner Kit 683Yen

Woolite 16loads 1470Yen, Ivory Snow 16loads 2048Yen, Tide 16loads 2468Yen

Ivory Snow 16 loads 1995Yen, 26oz, Tide 15loads, 33oz, 1785Yen Bounce 40 sheets 1029Yen

Brillo 368Yen, Cascade 998Yen (2.1 lb)

Since today's Japanese Yen and USD is 108Yen = $1US. Therefore

  LOFT (Japan) Wal Mart (U.S) Difference
Old El Paso Sause Mix 210 ($1.94)    
Old El Paso Shell 441 ($4.03)    
Old El Paso Dinner Kit 683 ($6.32)    
Woolite 1,470 ($13.61)    
Ivory Snow 2,048 ($18.96)    
Tide 2,468 ($22.85)    
Ivory Snow 1,995 ($18.47)    
Tide 1,875 ($17.36)    
Bounce 1,029 ($9.53)    
Brillo 368 ($3.41)    
Cascade 998 ($9.24)    


Snacked at Mr. Donuts.

Came home after five o'clock.

Evening at Furaibo with friends from junior high school

Total of seven people, I brought a Gameboy Advance with Super Mario Bros. so people played it around for a while. Since everybody but me works somewhere,

The cost for the dinner was 5000Yen for guys, 3000Yen for ladies. Since all the guys came early and started to eat.

Came home around after midnight


Day7 Preparing to go back to Wichita

I woke up around 6:00am. I did not get much sleep but I plan to go to Sakae again to get some books, from yesterday's discussion with my friends, it is better to get some kind of book to study for exams and interviews.

Compare to yesterday, today is breezy. We have typhoon 5 closing in to Japan and Korea, I think that's why.

We had spaghetti for the lunch.

I went to Sakae again to buy some books, on the way I came back to home, I stopped by at Hoshigaoka at Mister Donut (again) The place was selling all the donuts for 105 Yen. I could not resist...

I spent my morning for packing, then 

I am still thinking what I should do when I get back to the U.S. It seem to me more difficult to get a job in either country now.

I called a taxi company, they will send a car to me at 5:50am tomorrow. I am set to go then.

Tickets for the train

I got a strap for my cellphone!

Election activity

Maruzen bookstore

Gatorade in Japan

Day8 Coming Back to the U.S.

To Hoshigaoka

I plan using a taxi. The taxi came around 5:45am. My brother, dad, grandpa were sleeping so I said goodbye to my mom and grandma. The ride was okay. I get to catch earlier subway train than first I thought yesterday.

To JR Nagoya Station

I plan using a subway. I was able to catch one leaving Hoshigaoka at 5:57am so I got to JR Nagoya station around 6:20am. I tried to get food a lunch, but the convenience store in the station did not open until 6:30am so I had to wait for a while.

To JR Shinagawa Station

At the store, I bought a cup of yogurt, one bread containing Yakisoba noodles, two riceballs, a bottle of tea, and a bag of salted soy beans, I plan using a Shinkansen Nozomi 100, departing Nagoya 6:52am I have to change the train at Shinagawa the Narita Express 11, which leaves on

Nozomi 100 Arriving Nagoya, packed...

On the way to Shinagawa, the sky was pretty much cloudy, sometimes with rains hitting the car. I could not see Mt. Fuji neither...

Cloudy and Rainy

To Narita Airport

I plan using a Narita Express 11, Arriving Narita Airport at 9:59am. I had about 30 minute to change the train.

Switching at Shinagawa, pretty busy

To explain how busy the morning in Tokyo, here is a movie (AVI, 6.51MB)


NEX11 arriving at Shinagawa

The problem about the train is that I could get a seat only at smoking car. I covered my mouth and nose with my jacket. Needless to say that my jacket become very stink! There were couple of passengers I could tell where they from. One big fat guy wearing baseball cap, reading English book is obviously from the U.S., a guy with Laox shopping bag with funny accent seems like a Russian. Both people were heavily smoking and I was 

Narita To Dallas

American Airlines 0176 Narita -> DFW (B777)

The train arrived on time. I carried my baggage up 5 floors and got to the ticketing counter. They had to check my baggage (because I am carrying a pillow?). Since I am a Japanese, they did not check in detail.

After going through departing inspection, I am free to buy duty free items. I thought about buying liquor but I gave up, too much items. I don't smoke so no need to buy cigarette. I thought about it for a while, then I came up with an idea.

Noise canceling headset. 9,980 Yen and worked pretty good. This one put the plugs into the ears while another kind covers ears. I think this one works better since this one is more air tight. The headset comes with an adapter which allow you to use the headset in the airplane.

  AA0176 at Gate 11A at Narita

Water condensation can be observed on the upper surface of the wing at lower altitude. You can study the Bernouli's law.

6 seconds exposure at F=2.0 in night shot. Left one is the moon and its reflection against the wing, the right one is anticollision light on right wing. (you will see my shirt, never mind...)

Observing Salt Lake (big white chunk on the horizon)


AA0176 Arrived at DFW

The girl who sat next to me was a bit strange, obviously she is a Japanese but she was wearing gloves and clearing nose all the time. I have seen her bag filled with full of prescription drugs. I feel sorry for her.

I went through the immigration. I think I have met with the inspector before at the gate in previous trip. I did not have to give my finger prints this time since they already have mine. I had one expensive item declared, but I did not have to pay any.

Dallas Fort Worth To Wichita

After rechecking the the baggage, I headed to the exit. I have to go though the security again and there is always a long line. The guy who lined up behind me was a pastor and was surprised to see so many international passengers around. He's never been to Japan before, according to him. I pulled out my laptop computer from backpack, place it in a tray, take my shoes off, place it on the another tray, took out my wallet, keychain... I have learned lesson from the last time, I took off my shirt this time. There was no information available about the flight I will be on, but I guessed it should be in the terminal B, from the past experience.

American Airlines 3757 Dallas Fort Worth -> Wichita (ERJ-140)

I arrived at the gate around 10:20am but my flight is not available until 1:15pm. I need to eat some... will have to spend about 3 hours here. Ironically, there was a plane leaving to Wichita few gates away around 10:30am, so I wished I could be on that plane. I wonder why there are so many uniformed soldiers around? It's hard on them when all of the people in uniform have to take their boots off. I ate my lunch at Hot Dog Construction Company I had a NYC combo for $5.75? Around 11:20am

Hot Dog Construction


While I was waiting at the gate, a couple of passengers at next gate were asked to give up their seat since the airplane was changes from 50ft one to 40ft. One of them had very little change and having trouble calling his wife so I kindly offered my cellphone. He passed up a public phone's number nearby so they got to talk to each other. I think I will do the same next time.

The plane was delayed, as some of my friends predicted. The plane was supposed to be departing around 1:44pm, but the plane was not at the gate until 1:30pm so the actual departure become around 2:20pm

ERJ-140 coming late...

Fort Worth, TX Click here for larger picture

Norman, OK. My friend used to study here

Tinker AFB, home of AWACS

Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, we are almost there. It was obviously under VFR so I pulled out my camera and took a picture. The airport is equipped with regular precision guidance system but also has microwave one, which is more accurate than UHF ones. We are not supposed to do this unless we use a disposable camera...

Before the airplane got to the gate, the pilot asked us to shut the blinds to prevent the airplane from getting too hot. Good call. One of the causes of the delay was that the cabin was too hot and could not let passengers in...

ERJ-140 at Wichita

I got to Wichita around 3:20pm.

The monitor on the right is messed up...

One of the daughters in my host family picked me up. Then I came home

After I got back...

Unfortunately the very first thing I had to do is to remove water from the floor in my room. There's been lots of rain while I was gone and I had about 1.2 gallons of water removed. After unpacking my items, I gave my host family a few bags of Japanese candies and 5 sets of chopsticks. Around 4:00pm, I called my Japanese friend to have dinner together. He wanted to go to Souper Salad so we ate there. We went to Wal Mart to buy some groceries, then I headed home. My host family had softball tournament so no one was at home so I took shower for the first time in 30+? hours. I spent evening doing my laundry and tried catch up with my stuffs. I called my home around 10:30pm to let them know that I got back safe (not in some detention center with no attorney). I went to bed around 11:00pm without setting the alarm, this time. Good night.





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