2006 Kobe, Japan Business Trip #2(last updated on 2006/10/18)


Well, here I go again! I am traveling to Kobe, Japan for the second time this year to visit head office of the company I work for.

Just recent event, that some bad guys tried to get on airliners flying out of Britain to the U.S. with explosives contained inside of drink bottle to blow them up. This caused chaotic situation on aviation safety. Very much all the liquid, gels and other things are banned to bring on board. Some people throw away a case of wines, taking off gel shoe insoles, and giving up baby milk. God, it's crazy!

The bad thing is because I am such a big water drinker, it is my custom to bring 2 bottle of water in a intercontinental flight. Since I cannot do that anymore, I had to prepare for the flight by hydrating myself from a day before. I kept drinking water while packing my stuffs and went to bed around 11:00pm... I hope I will survive.

8/19-20 Going to Japan

I woke up at 5:00am, intended to go to the airport by 6:30am because elevated security measure could delay all the process. I took too much time doing much of stuffs so I ended up leaving the apartment around 6:00am. I was a bit worried if the airport is packed, it's Saturday morning... When I got to the airport, everything was fine. I know you cannot bring any liquid to the plane but I have seen a guy stuffing his eye drop into his pocket after taking it out of the backpack. I guess the whole system does not work.

Screening went just fine, It's always nice to use airlines which I have membership. I was at the lounge by 8:00am but I guess it's too early because there is an airplane for the flight before mine at the gate. It's quire boring to waste my time there. I have nothing to do besides reading emails or preparing for the training. It's after 9:00am, the airplane is getting ready for the flight and the people began called in but since my group # was 6, I had to wait for a while.

To Dallas: AA1599 IND(9:38am CDT) DFW(10:49am CDT)

AA1599 waiting at Indianapolis International Airport

Before boarding, they were doing random search on the passenger's carry on baggage. Mine got checked but came out negative (of course). The flight to Dallas was not too well due to bad weather, so the plane had to maneuvers around. We flew over Little Rock, AR. I have never seen the city so it was pretty cool. The plane landed safe to the south at DFW few minutes earlier than scheduled.

Airplane maneuvers to avoid clouds Flying over Little Rock, Arkansas

To Osaka, Japan: AA125 DFW(11:45am CDT) KIX(3:25pm on 8/20 JST)

When I arrived at the airport, I know I don't have much time so I had to move quick. The arrival terminal was A and departure was at D so I used Skyline to get there. Then I used USVISIT system to get myself cleared on the air travel going out of the country. I had a little free time so I purchased a bag of nuts and water. I did not want any chocolate because it contains some caffeine. (Nuts contained salt so I thought it would sustain water...or it this just an excuse?!)

AA125 getting stuffed for the flight.

The search here was also mandatory. The security person asked me where I have any liquid or gels, my answer was, I already finished them.

I think I was assigned to a "lucky" seat. The announcement for the plane (originally schedule to go to Honolulu) was undergoing cleaning. I have never thought of those nasty things and the word "cleaning" did not mean anything to me until... When I seated, I smelled something unusual. I guess I got lucky sitting at the seat which was cleaned. Oh my, and I have to be here until I get to Japan!

The cabin was fully packed, so very much no other place is available. The thing I needed to do is not moving anything. Moving tray, taking out magazine triggered bad smell from somewhere so I had to be ready. Luckily, the intensity of smell was coming down during the flight so I don't need to worry too much.

The plane took off after rolling on the runway for a while just as captain said, "we will be rolling down the runway for a while so don't be alarmed..." I am glad it took off in the air. Most of the time, the plane fly near Seattle, Anchorage, and reach to Japan from northeast but this time the flight path was more toward the west.

Had lunch about three hours into flight. The plane was in a bit of turbulence so I had to be careful not to spill anything. The plane flew over Lubbock, TX, Grand Canyon, and Sierra Nevada then San Francisco. I used restroom only once, since I needed to concern the dehydration.

Lubbock, TX. This is a kind of sight I saw as the very first image of America when I came for the first time. I am glad that I get to take a picture of it. Flying over Grand Canyon. Someday I will be there. Flying over Sierra Nevada. Why it is located in California??? Flying over San Francisco Airport...

The cloud covered the view right after this, so I never get to see the Golden Gate Bridge... There aren't much things to do, and I did not want to watch the movie neither. Anyway, flying over the Pacific Ocean... And I very much slept all the way. I woke up when the night snack was served. I just took the box and went back to sleep. I just did not want to eat too much in a plane.

Next time when I woke up, the plane was approaching to Japan. So I just opened up the cover and watched outside. The plane flew near Wakayama prefecture before approaching to the airport. This view is something I missed because it was already dark when I came here last time.

Goodies I got for the midnight lunch. Small hoagie, raison and Milky Way. (I ate them after arriving to the hotel...) Flying over Susami, Wakayama Flying over Gobou, Wakayama Tip of Shikoku Island

The airplane flew west of the airport straight to the north, gave me a chance to see what Shikoku island look like, while seeing the Akashi Kaikyo Ohashi and city of Kobe, the plane turned to the right at the middle of the ocean and start heading down south for the final leg. Since I was sitting on left side of the plane, I get to see city of Osaka for a while. The plane extended flaps to maximum (because of it was very heavy) It was very impressive view because the flaps could almost pointing straight down, I also know that B777 has a pair of Kruger flaps so the front end must be extended pretty good, too. The plane landed okay.

After arriving at the airport, I pass through the immigration, and customs. I did not carry any beef jerky which is a prohibited item to be brought to Japan from the U.S.

Moving to the hotel

As I walked out from the door, the first thing I did was to call my home to let them know that I arrived to Japan safe. After exchanging USD to Japanese Yen, I felt thirsty so I bought a sports drink at nearby vending machine. This time, I decided ride a taxi and made a reservation though the company. There is a company called MK Taxi, which operates very cheap one. I don't mind using it because it is my first time anyway (I have to check it out!).

When I checked in to the counter, I was told to wait for 15 minutes. In about 20 minutes, I was able to get on the shuttle van, but waited another 20 minutes before it actually leave the airport. Because of the system I had to wait for other passengers. There was a person from Oxford University. It was good to talk to her. I could tell from the accent. She was here to give lectures at Kobe Institute.

I could just pay 1,600Yen to Limousine Bus and another 160Yen on Japan Railways to get to the hotel in about 2 hours but paying 2,300Yen to the hotel entrance but taking more than 3 hours is not something I would like to see. Arrived at hotel, checked in to the hotel. This time I will be staying at 10th floor, not 6th floor I stayed last time. I guess I have to use elevator this time...

The first view from hotel, looking at the sunset

I went out to get some dinner. I was quite tired and did not want to eat anything oily so I just stopped by a convenience store. When I was reading article about the jetlag. I found that eating carbohydrate rich food helps while protein rich food does the opposite, and milk might help also. I had some rice balls and snacks.

I went to bed around 11:00pm after taking 3mg of melatonin. I hope this thing will work okay...

8/21 Back in the office

I woke up around 4:30am. I tried melatonin but seems not working with me, same thing happened last time too. I gave up and stayed in bed awake. I got out of office around

Morning of Japanese Summer. It's already looking hot!

I did not feel the heat but surely the summer in Japan is humid. I started to walk toward the company, but soon my shirt is soaked with sweat, I used to survive the summer like this but the long time use of air conditioning was weakening my body or something. I stopped by HR department to receive uniform and employee badge and headed up to the office. They had regular members I have met last time. After re-introduction of myself at morning meeting, worked whole morning and had lunch with coworker. I also stopped by former boss' desk to say hi, he was doing okay. Since I did not have much of the plan, I had dinner purchased from the convenience store (again).

8/22 Another hot day

I was thinking the life as company employee in Japan. I guess I have to say sorry for that. I don't want to

I woke up again around 4:00am. I wish I could simply adapt to Japan's local time. I guess that's because I cannot

I went to Gyoza no Osho to have dinner after I stopped by hotel to drop off my backpack. Due to the humid air and summer weather, it was quite

8/23 Finally getting cooler, dinner at Yuyu

Went out for running in the morning for the first time. I woke up around 6:00am so I had too much time even before the breakfast buffet. The city of Kobe is a bit of odd place. They have a subway system which I have never used before, and JR (Japan Railways) and other local railway company, as well as other kind of mass transit system such as

In the evening, I went to company owned restaurant for dinner with coworkers. I had a lot of beers and meals. It was very fun time

I came back to the hotel room, fell sleep before I can think of going to bed so I woke up in the middle of the night and slept again.

8/24 The week is almost over

Went out and ran in the morning for the second time. I put all the dirty cloth to laundry service

My coworker took me to dinner after work. I took care of him when he visited

Again, I did the same thing as yesterday. I fell sleep before I prepared to go bed so I woke up in the middle of the night, realizing the room is still bright and TV is on... Tomorrow is the last day so I'd better get ready

8/25 Last day at the office, heading to my hometown

I woke up at 6:00am, had breakfast for the last time at the hotel.

Checked out but

I reported to work on time,

When I am done, it was around 7:30pm so

Going home in Nagoya

Since I have not decided which trains I will be using, I just stopped by "Midori no Madoguchi", a service provided by Japan Railways. When I purchased the ticket, the clock was hitting 8:27pm, I ran up the stairs to the platform then jumped in a local train from Hyogo to Kobe station (8:27pm). At 8:33pm, there is a special rapid train to Shin-Osaka, so I got on it and arrived at Shin Osaka station around 9:07pm. There was Nozomi Super Express 324 on the station scheduled to leave Osaka at 9:10pm but since it is not the one I will be on, I had to wait for the Nozomi 52 departing Shin Osaka at 9:17. However, an amazing thing happened! The train was late by 5 minutes. So very much I wasted 5 minutes all the way. While I wait, I bought a bottle of drink so I can quench my thirst. The way back to Nagoya was smooth. The train stopped at Kyoto then head straight. The train arrived at 10:15, about 7 minutes later than scheduled. Anyway, I am back in Nagoya now.

I dragged my baggage toward the subway. I do not want to spend 5,000Yen on a taxi ride so it it a wise idea to take public transportation. As I was walking out of the station, I saw a couple who seem having trouble. They were form Italy and looking for a place to stay. The taxi drivers could take them to so called "Love Hotel" where the price is pretty cheap but common place to make out. They did not like the "Capsule Hotel" neither, where you only get to stay within a tiny quarter. Because the information center inside of the station is closed. I took them to the railway police for assistance. The cheapest place available was Tsuchiya Hotel, which is only a walking distance but costs 12000 yen for the couple. They had no choice but to stay there.

I used a subway to Hoshigaoka, then used a taxi to my home. I arrived there around 11:30pm. I was glad to be at home. I took shower and headed to upstairs for bed. I paid 1050 Yen to the driver. By the way...

8/26 A day in Nagoya

Woke up at 5:30am, which my dad already awake. He's been this way from his working days so it's no surprise. I went to Heiwa Koen, which is located north of Hoshigaoka to visit family grave. My grandfather died while I was in Japan last time, and I missed Obon. Since it is  Saturday, I could use a pass called "Donichi Eco Kippu (Sat-Sun Eco Pass)" which I can get a one day pass for only 600Yen, compare to 850Yen. Rode a but to Hoshibaoka, then switch to the one which pass the park on the route. There are only 2 buses per hour.

As I was getting off the bus, I saw the one for the opposite direction, so I could time myself.

Since it has been such a long time, I only remember the location is by the road, but that's it. My parents told me about a flower shop which I barely remembers but not much. It seems such a long time so I had to ask my dad to draw a map for me. I was able to find the grave and first I needed to get a bucket and water fountain so I can clean it. After removing the old flowers, I rinsed the stones then placed flowers. I then put incense to the tomb and prayed for a while. Then I started to walk toward the bus stop. I waited for a while then it came. I rode back to Hoshigaoka Station, then getting on a

Had lunch at Yoshinoya

I went to Nagoya Station to get some pictures of trains (of Nagoya Railways) and also to purchase tickets to Kansai International Airport for tomorrow

Local Train Type 7000 Panorama Car (Still running after more than 30 years) Type 1000 Panorama Super (Express Train)

Type 2200 Special Train to Nagoya Airport Type 2000 Special Express train to Nagoya Airport

You can even check in for your FLIGHT at a TRAIN station...

8/27 Coming back to the U.S. and extra

I woke up around 5:15am went for a running before

Going to Nagoya Station (City Bus to Hoshigaoka - City Subway to Nagoya)

Got a ride in a bus around 11:00am so I can get to the station on time. I used public bus system to Hoshigaoka, then used a subway to Nagoya station.

Going to Kansai International Airport (Nozomi 121 12:10@Nagoya - 13:02@Osaka, Haruka 29 13:15@Osaka 14:03@KIX)

I arrived at the platform by 11:40am, which is quite early so I went to a store to buy lunch, and a couple of drinks. It's going to be a long trip to the airport. The train, Nozomi 121, left Nagoya station at 12:10pm, then arrived at Shin Osaka at 13:02. After a transfer to another platform, I got on Haruka 29

The train ride to airport was called Haruka 29. It was departing  Shin Osaka station at  13:15, arriving at Kansai Airport at 14:03.

After stopping at Nishi Kujo and Tennoji, the train completed its 100km run. 

Nozomi 121 arriving to Nagoya Station.

Lunch

The lunch box is called Nogoya Ichiban (Nagoya No.1) and it has Hitsumabushi (Seasoned eel) on the left and Nagoya Kochin (a kind of local breed chicken). I wish I also had Miso Nikomi Udon and Shrimp fries...

Haruka 29

Downtown Osaka, never mind that the containers

Roller coaster in the middle of building properties?

Arrived at airport

ANA plane Star Alliance Plane JAL plane taking off

Ground crews reading "Parking Airliners for Dummies (Japanese Edition)"  Okay, you stop now and put on the parking!

 

To Dallas: AA124 KIX(5:30pm JST) DFW(3:40pm CDT)

AA124 getting ready for the flight

The first and last view of Japan?

Flying over Shirahama

Flying over the pacific ocean... I kept sleeping so I missed night snack this time. When I woke up, it was around Colorado. I opened the window cover and saw Aspen, CO, which I have never been but known as a ski resort.

Flying over Aspen, CO. You can see lots of slopes

  Approaching to a stormy cloud. They are everywhere and well developed.

The airplane was in turbulent air but I have never realized what's going on down there until I arrive the airport. Because the final descend did not start until very last minutes, the plane kept flying at 39000ft. The plane landed okay but as it move on the taxi ways, I could see lightning striking the north of the airport.

I pass through the immigration and waited at baggage claim to get my bag, but nothing happened. The announcement indicated that the system carrying bags from the plane had the power problem due to the storm, and I cannot get it for a while. I waited for about 1 hour and finally got my bag. I know I will be almost late if I don't hurry so I proceeded to the exit. A lady who cut the line was kindly guided to the office at custom. Hahaha.

Where's the baggage?

Where's my next flight?

The employee there told me that the flight 1760 was cancelled. Because the seat on the next one so I just decided to stay at Dallas Fort Worth for a day. Also, it is weather related, I cannot get any money for my expense. I guess the company has to cover it for me then. The hotel inside of the airport cost me about $240, while the one outside is only about $60. So I got a ride on a shuttle bus, talking with other passengers while heading to the hotel. I stayed at Fairfield Inn by DFW. It is cheap but a bit inconvenient since the

To Indianapolis in a day later: AA1660 DFW(7:09am CDT) - IND(10:17am CDT)

I woke up at 4:00am in the morning. Since I don't have a change of my cloth, I had to take shower and wear the same ones again. They are pretty stinky since I wore thorough the inter continental flight

I was very much in a sleep in the plane, but I woke up right on time which was about 10 seconds before the main gears touch the ground.

The plane taxied a while and arrived at Gate B1, I got out and went down to the baggage service, not the belt since my bag was already back here yesterday.


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