Japan Trip 2008 Part 2 - Surgery


I just went to Japan about two weeks ago, my dad told me that mom will have a surgery soon. He also told me that someone has to be with her after surgery for 24 hours and he was asking me if I could be there. I guess I have not much choice because I know the risk of the having surgery, this could be the last time I see her. So now I need to get back to Japan for the second time in this month. I bought the tickets on July 16th, I did not have to pay much since I used my airline miles (65,000miles), but the returning flight was something different. The agent told me that I can get ticket to San Francisco, CA but to go back to Detroit, MI,I have to pay. So, I paid $220 for the one way ticket from SFO to DTW. Oh my, I will see what's going to happen on my journey...

2008/7/22-23 Going back to Japan

Going to the airport

Woke up at 6:00am, stretched my body, washed all the dishes left in the sink and took out trash. Unlike the last trip, I had enough time to rest, as well as time to prepare, so this is easy for me. Left home around 8:30am, and drove to the airport. I had to stop by at a bank to withdraw money so I don't have to go home with an empty wallet. The morning was a bit foggy but I was more concerned about the rush hour traffic, but found out it was not that bad. However, finding a place to park my car at the airport parking was a lot harder because of the construction work for the new terminal. Arrived at the airport counter at 9:10am, checking in was so smooth and I had no trouble, just used the automated check in machine, and few minutes of wait after the completion of process, my bags were taken care of. Passed security and soon I was at the gate. The sky was mostly sunny with partly cloudy. Since my mom is in hospital, I bought some magazines so she could read. So I bought Newsweek and National Geographic.

Flight to Chicago: AA1145 DTW(10:25am EDT)- ORD(10:35am CDT)

The boarding went well, and the plane was pushed back from the gate B7 around 10:20am. The plane was taxing down for the departure, but it had to wait until 10:35am, a bit shy of 10 minutes before we can take off. The plane took off to the north, then to the west flying through the clouds popping up all over the place. I heard on radio in the morning that we might get some storms in the afternoon here in Detroit, so I guess this was a clear indication of the presence of moisture. The flight was smooth; seeing Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, and then soon Michigan Lake. When we reached to the shore at Chicago side, I could not tell much how we are approaching to the airport due to cloud coverage.

AA1145 at Detroit Metro Airport Clouds over Detroit suburb area

The guy sitting next to me was going to S. Korea for teaching English. His home was near where I stay during business trips to Mexico, so he gave me a name of good restaurant which I should visit. Hmmm, I will try next time when I go there. It was very beneficial talking to him because I get different point of view about people working at the factory there. We exchanged contact info. I will write him an email later. The plane landed on time, arrived at K3 and then I move to Gate K12 for the connecting flight.

To Narita, Japan: AA153 ORD(12:50pm CDT) - NRT(3:40pm JST on 23rd)

One benefit about flying American Airlines is that I can depart from Terminal 3, not the Terminal 5 designated only for international flights. I got to the gate around 10:00am, but the plane has not arrived yet. Checked emails for both work and personal, then picked up few things at store. I thought about buying some duty free items, but may not be a good idea because the prices for those items looked very expensive for me. Anyways, walking around the terminal since I have some free time before the scheduled boarding time.

The boarding was suppose to start around 12:05pm but did not begin until 12:15pm. I took a seat then there is another guy coming to the next seat. He is from Hungary and works for merchant ships. He described how he spend most of the days (4mos work, 4mos off), and internet must be done via satellite communication, and not free, once he downloaded a picture, it cost him $900 (!). He was carrying a guitar so I guess he has something to do on the ship. Nice to have a hobby or two.

At 12:55pm departure, the plane taxied around for a while, and the plane took off safely at 1:05pm. The flight path for the trip was very weird, first it went up north, and passed by Great Bear Lake in Canada, northern shore of Alaska, Siberia and then Asahikawa. Lunch was served around 3:30pm, and I picked beef over chicken. I did not feel like watching movies so I fell back to sleep after the meal. Snack was served around 7:00pm, the regular small sandwich meal. (Come to think about it, what about the meals at business or first class?!). The guy next me was wondering if it was the last meal. I told him that we will get another one soon. Around 2:00pm at Japan time, marinated chicken on top of seasoned rice was served. The plane approached Narita once from the North, then after coming to the Pacific Ocean, it turned and come back for landing.

AA153 at the gate at Chicago O'Hare
Departing Chicago... Great Bear Lake Siberia Heading back to Narita

At 3:30pm the plane arrived at the gate. I shook hand with the guy heading to Guam for his 4mos job. When I stepped outside, there was no passport check this time. After passing the immigration, I walked toward the baggage claims. This time I had all the paperwork prepared inside of the airplane, I just needed to wait. By 3:50pm, I was able to pick up my bag, passed the custom and getting ready to roll. The custom officer found that I have been to Japan only a couple of weeks ago, so I had to explain the details before I can walk out from the terminal. I exchanged currency for $700 for the rate of $1=104.35Yen, then walking down the stairs to buy train ticket back to Nagoya.

Arrived at Narita

To Tokyo: Narita Express 34 Narita Airport (4:18pm) - Tokyo (5:18pm)

The ticketing office at the first floor does not accept credit card, so I had to go to Midori no Madoguchi, which is a ticketing counter for JR (Japan Railways) at lower level. I was lining for the ticket but several people cut in the line in front of me. Agh! I purchased the tickets to Nagoya for 13,890 Yen and then headed downstairs to board. I got there by 4:00pm.

NEX 34 arrived to Narita Airport Terminal 2

I bought a bottle of tea from a vending machine before getting on board the train. The train operated as scheduled, I kept looking out the window and the same scenery I looked at a few weeks ago. I see many commuters at platforms along the way. If they see me, what they will think of me?

The train usually make a short stop here so I get to watch plane landing

Soon the train made its way to underground, passing a couple of station before arrival at Tokyo station. After getting off from the train, I walked up to the ground level.

To Nagoya: Nozomi 135 Tokyo(5:40pm) - Nagoya (7:24pm)

Unlike last time, I can get food and other stuffs since they have a lot more to offer than Shinagawa. I stopped by at a store to grab myself a dinner, which is Tonkatsu (as you will see later) and a bottle of Japanese tea. Total of 1,000Yen. When I went up to the platform around 5:25pm, I see the train is there but almost all of the doors were shut. It looks like they are cleaning the cabins. Tokyo is a terminal station, so they have to accept trains from all over the places, then turn then back to operation after clearing up. The outside was too hot to wait...

  Nozomi 135 at Tokyo station

After a short wait, the doors to the train opened. I got a seat by window, and at the very front so I had a few more room for my bags. Since it's commuting time, the car was quickly filled. I am glad that I am at reserved seat. It will be a fight if I get a seat at non-reserved...

Tonkatsu (Fried pork fillet) Bento for 850 Yen The contents

I have a big bag so I had to finish up my meal before the person in the next seat comes. I opened up the box and finish it very quick. Too bad that I could enjoy the taste mode if I don't have to do this... Soon the passenger at next seat comes when the train stopped at Shinagawa, so it was okay. I was watching the outside, to the south. Passing Yokohama, get to see the Pacific ocean around Atami, Shizuoka, some Yamaha and Suzuki factories, Hamanako lake, and then finally Nagoya suburbs. Only less than 2 hours ride to get there.

Coming back home

After getting off to the platform, I was rather tired so I gave up on getting a good shot of the train and decided to head home. I was that tired, honestly... Dragging the bag downstairs to the subway station, then hopped on the subway leaving Nagoya at 7:35pm. Arrived at the station nearest to my house, then switched to a public bus to home. By now I know that doctors are explaining what they are planning on surgery to the rest of family members, so I was not quite sure if my dad came home from the hospital yet. At 8:10pm, I arrived at home but my dad was still not back yet. Since I cannot just stand in front of house with all the mosquitoes around, I called my dad to let him know that I come home, and walked to a nearby convenience store to buy a bottled water. When I came home again, my dad was back so I was able to go in. I had to chat with my dad since we need to plan on the next 7 days. My dad told me that my brother wants to have a dinner together tomorrow. I called to check with him. So we will meet tomorrow night. I went to bed around 10:00pm because I was quite tired. I need to get ready for the rest of the week...

2008/7/24 Visiting my mom, my brother

Waking up and spend morning taking care of errands

Woke up at 1:10am, I could not fall sleep after that, so gave up sleeping and headed for a short running in the morning after stretching my body. Coming home, pulled weeds from the front yard for a while but I got bitten by mosquitoes many times so I decided to go back in to the house. took a cold shower and have a breakfast with my dad. The very much first thing I did in the morning was going to get haircut around 8:45am. The lady used to cut my hair (since junior-high?) was still doing fine. We just talked for a while, saying that kids in these days don't play outside even in summer break. That's something I used to do all the time. Just before noon, I walked to local post office to buy some Japanese traditional summer greeting cards for my friends in and out of country. I devoted writing the cards until I have to make lunch.

Visiting my mom

The visiting hours for the hospital is from 3:00pm so I have not much I can do. Just talked with my dad for a while, finding out that not only one day I need to stay with my mom after the surgery, but three days. I set the returning date to the U.S. on 29th, just because I cannot find any tickets, but what a coincident. Everything working out alright... Even I have to back to the U.S. before that, I like to stay with my mom. I needed to make up a schedule so asked about my dad's plan for next few days. Even while just talking to him, I can feel the heat outside  The summer in Nagoya is very hot. I already started to sweating.

Left home around 4:20pm, and bought a one day pass for 850Yen since I will be going to places around today. Arrived at hospital around 5:00pm, my mom was still in the same shared room and my grandma was there so I talked to her for a while. I stayed with my mom until 7:00pm, which is the end time of the visiting hour. I headed downstairs and called my brother. I visited my brother's home for the second time. I missed turns a few times, but made it.

Dinner with my brother

My sister-in-law made Chirashi-sushi, Una-don (Today is Doyo no ushi), and a couple of other sides. Maybe I should have saved a picture. It was a big and delicious! After that, we tried to scan my childhood pictures. The scanner was okay but the pictures were so hard to come out, so I gave up on scanning, we just looked over and talked for a while. Numerous old time stories popped up as we make progress. Left there around 9:45pm, walked to the subway station nearby, went back to the station nearby my place took a bus, come home around 10:15pm. Going to bed around midnight. Tonight is cooler than yesterday, so I had easier time falling asleep.

2008/7/25 Day of surgery

Getting ready to go to hospital

Woke up around 2:00am, waited until 4:30am again before I get off from the bed. I got two requests from my dad. #1, destroy bee hives right by the entrance door, and #2, mow lawns. I took care of the first one easy with use of pesticide spray before the dawn when they cannot move well. The #2 was taken care of after I went for running in the morning. I am sick of keep bitten by mosquitoes all the time so I used bug repealing spray on me. It works, unless I sweat. Had breakfast with my dad, and then I did a load of laundry because all of my changes are used up due to hot and humid Japanese summer. I think next time when I come to Japan again, I will bring more towels and T-shirts!

Time for the surgery

Around 9:25am, I left home to deliver a letter to a local farmers market for my mom, then walked to a subway station from there. I had to take two trains to reach to the hospital where my mom's at. Her room was changed to a private room since she's going to have a surgery today. Met with her in the morning, and soon my dad and brother joined. Around 11:40am, she changed to surgery cloth and we all followed as she goes to the operation room on a wheel chair around noon. We could only go to the entrance, and watched her going as the doors close.

Well, while she's under operation, we had nothing to do, and it's already noon so I suggested that we stopped at a cafeteria to pick up our lunch, I took a nap after eating it because I will be on a watch on my mom once she comes back. Before the surgery, we have been informed that they are intending to remove an organ, but may take up to 5 hours, if they cannot remove it due to complications, they will only pinch the veins to only minimize the impact but not a fix, which may take 3 hours. So we waited obnoxiously, to see if it will pass three hours mark, after passing it, we took it as a good sign. I declared that we should have a snack (for 3:00pm tea time) but since it is so hot outside, we just decided to settle with ice creams. The convenience store at hospital did not have what we wanted so my brother and I stepped outside and bought whatever we like. Another long wait then finally the doctor operated came to our room around 5:45pm, and told us that they successfully removed the organ. What a relief. He told us that they are stitching up the cuts, and soon she will be back. Well, it took another 2 hours before we can see my mom again on a bed.

A success?!

Since the operation room was chilly, she was shivering, and she is hooked up with many stuffs, auxiliary oxygen, EKG, two IVs, anesthesia on her back, pressure bands on her leg to prevent blood cots, a tube stuck in nose to stomach for liquid removal. and maybe four more tubes sticking out from her body. She was awake so we could talk a bit, then my dad can go home to come back for tomorrow morning, but my brother and I need to eat dinner first before we do the watch. I don't quite remember what we talked but come back. Now it's my brother's turn to watch her over. I was resting at the same room until 11:00pm, then went out to buy myself water, tea and breakfast for tomorrow. I took over the watch around midnight. My brother need to catch the last train to go home.

2008/7/26 Taking care of my mom (Day 1)

Dinner on 7/26. Salad, Grape 570Yen

Night watch 1

I stayed up all night and took care of my mom until 8:00am. My mom's arms were moving sometimes, and she was asleep for a while, and awake for a while. The snoozing noise she makes was just like when I saw her taking nap down stairs in summer day long time ago so I felt relieved. Vital monitor keeps her pulse, pressure on the display, showing that she is alive. Nurses came periodically, and checked her vitals and switched IVs to new ones. She had fever over the night, and low blood pressure, but everything was fine by the morning. Nurses came in around 6:00am for morning check up. My mom wanted to know when she can drink again, well, not today or tomorrow, so I felt a bit sorry for her.

Heading home for rest

Changed the turn with my dad who came in around 8:00am, and left there around 9:00am. Bought a weekend version of one day pass which was 600 Yen (Weekday pass is 850Yen). I could use this when I return to the hospital tonight, took two subway trains, and a bus to get to an apartment which my mom asked to deliver a letter. Walk back home under already hot temperature around 10:00am, I was sweating very hard. Bought my lunch on the way back home with water for 817 Yen and then fell sleep once I reached home.

Woke up around 2:00pm, had lunch. I am not sure if the microwave at home works so I used a pan to reheat the meal. Went back to sleep around 3:00pm. Soon after I fell back sleep, I felt a strong gust, which was very humid. I guessed that a storm is coming, so I went upstairs to shut the windows, took in all the laundry being dried. When I was small, I used to stay at home while other members of family were out, and it was one of my chore I had to do, to keeping the house from getting wet, keeping the laundry being dried.

It looks like there will be a rain soon...

We had some rain after that. I was in bed taking nap until my dad called me. He came home around 6:30pm, and I walked to a convenience store as he coming to get a box of salad, and a grape. My dad brought some dinner so we had no problem filling up our stomachs. After the dinner, I spent time working on my assignments from work.

Going back to the hospital for another night watch

I left home around 10:30pm to catch a bus to a subway station. I thought the bus might come a bit earlier since there is almost no traffic, but I guess I gave too much thoughts. It arrived on time and I got on the subway, change to another one. I came back to the hospital around 11:00pm, I stopped by at convenience store to buy a couple breads, bottled waters, tea for 1,024 Yen, before heading up. Switched with my brother while giving him the one day pass, which he could use for the train back to his home.

2008/7/27 Taking care of my mom (Day 2)

Night watch 2

Again, my day started from watching my mom until 9:00am. I fell asleep once a bit around 2:00am because I was so sleepy and I woke up with noise my mom touching the railing. I felt so ashamed about it because I am the one supposed to be watching her... Oh well, I went to wash my face, went down stairs to grab myself a can of iced coffee which was very helpful helping me getting through the night. I used stairways so it could be a good exercise. When the nurse came in the morning, my mom concerned of me a lot but asked if I will be needed for another night. I told her I will be okay, and the nurse also said we should have another night watch. I started to make some tiny ice cubes so she can take some water now.

Going to Osu

Stayed at the hospital until 11:00am, then headed to Osu area. I was hunting for my brother's Laptop battery replacement. So I was checking places but no luck after visiting many places. Osu is a place I have to go there at least once every time I come to Nagoya. Many places already changed from what it was, and even the name of the store is the same, the merchandise they carry changed. It's cloudy and the rain was about to start, but I decided to walk to Sakae anyways. I stopped at Coco Ichibanya, a curry specific restaurant, for lunch around 1:00pm. I could go to Yabaton but still many people were in line. They had so called Summer Vegetable curry, so I just took it. With larger rice and drink, the price was 1,050Yen.

Summer vegetable curry, containing tomato, Okura, eggplants

I walked out from the store and headed north to Sakae, under slight rain. I got there okay, gave directions to foreign visitors for the subway, and I came home around 2:00pm. I need to rest before tonight. (Done)

Resting at home

After coming home, soon I start hearing thunder. I am sure it will be somewhere but once gusty wind blow, I knew the risk just got higher, so I ran up the stairs and did the same thing I did yesterday. We had some rain for the afternoon but not much, and I was taking nap until evening. My dad came home around 6:30pm, wanting to go out to eat with me. We had choice of BBQ or Unagi restaurant. Today was another hot day so BBQing maybe too much sweating and makes me tired, so we just decided to go with Unagi.

Una don.

Going back to the hospital for the last night watch

I left home again around 10:30pm to catch a bus I arrived at the hospital for the last night I have to stay. I stopped by at a convenience store to buy myself tomorrow's breakfast and this time, I did not forget to buy myself a can of iced coffee with total of 921 Yen. Went up to the upstairs to meet my brother and mom.

2008/7/28 Taking care of my mom (Day 3)

The last night watch

My mom was complaining discomfort on her body near midnight last night, so doctor X-rayed and installed EKG again. Because of that, I was totally awake until 4:00am with help of a can of iced coffee. She was okay by the time morning comes, so I was relieved. She should be able to drink water from today so that's a good sign of recovery. I had breakfast around 7:00am. My dad showed up around 8:00am. I was there until 9:00am, saying goodbye to her, told her that I will try to come by in the afternoon.

Went home for rest

I stayed in the bed for a while, picked up several riceballs for 500Yen at a convenience store on the way back. The rain started again in the afternoon, so I shut all the windows. took in cloth being dried into the shelter. The rain lasted until maybe 3:00pm, I was watching news on TV about it, looks like the front was very active since yesterday. My dad come home around 4:00pm, and I did not know since I was sleeping.

Going back to hospital

I decided to stop by the hospital again, so I went outside, there are not much buses available around 4:00pm, so I walked to another bus stop nearby hoping to get on one from other route, but I could just wait at the one nearby my house. At least waiting here will allow me not to stand alone in open area while I could hear thunder still around. Arrived at hospital, and my grandma was still there, and soon my bother and sister-in-law came. I stayed until 6:00pm without much of talk, and left for the evening. Saying goodbye to my mom, brother and sister-in-law.

Coming home

Took a subway back to the bus station close to my home, but before heading home, I wanted to buy some books, so went to Mitsukoshi department store, which was part of the building open until 7:00pm (including the book store) and grocery section open until 7:30pm. I found the books I needed, and paid about 3,000 Yen. Come back to the station to get on a bus going to home, the sky to the west was looking so pretty after the rain, because of clouds. had dinner with my dad. Not much things to do, and the air is cool so I just relaxed and worked packing, planning for tomorrow's travel. Went to bed around 10:30pm.

2008/7/29 Coming back to the U.S.

Going to the airport

Woke up 3:00am again but stayed in bed until 4:00am, when the rain started. It did not last too long, so I was up and ready to do a morning run around 5:00am. The temperature is still cool, and was very easy to run. Come home, took care of yard work a bit, then it was time to eat breakfast. My dad cooked another breakfast for us. After finishing it, I washed the dishes and then headed out to get cloth dries at local laundry. Come home around 9:00am. Packed my bags, double checked the list of the items.

Going to Farmers Market after 10:30am to deliver the last mail left with me from my mom. I had to get hold of a couple of people to find a solution for that card. My dad wanted some eggplants, and tomato juice so I bought those before heading back home. The day is hot as usual, so I took shower and finished packing. My dad wanted to eat lunch with me so we had wheat noodle together around 11:30pm. I wanted to return the house key to my mom so I made a quick note and asked my dad to give them to her.

Leaving Home

It's a bit hard to bid farewell to my dad, it's summer and very hot, without mom, I am not sure if he's going to be okay. Well, but I cannot stay here neither. I walked to a nearby bus stop to get a ride on a bus leaving at 12:03pm, it came on time. After arriving to the subway station, I stopped by at UFJ bank to exchange Japanese Yen to USD. There was an ATM lime machine that I can get USD, but they come in a packet and I now have $300 and $100 of those. The exchange rate was $1.00 for 110.22Yen. I keep losing money by going back and forth. Hmmm...

Packets containing $100 and $300

I walk back to the subway station, get on a train leaving the station around 12:40pm. Arrived at Nagoya, walked to a ticketing counter of JR around 1:00pm. I paid 13,890Yen for the ticket and headed up to the platform at 1:05pm.

Nozomi Super Express 18 Nagoya (1:30pm) - Tokyo (3:10pm)

I was hoping to get on the one leaving Nagoya at 1:00pm but I did not have enough time to make it up to the platform so I had to settle with the one departing at 1:30pm. After arriving to the platform, I waited for about 20 minutes before the train arrives. I bought a bottle of drink but I was hoping for a bottle of tea.

Nozomi 18 arriving at Nagoya station

The train was on schedule, smooth ride until I saw the LED screen which usually show me some news started delivering the news of hard rain ahead of us. Usually the characters are in orange color, but they are in red, it announced that As of 13:48, localized storm detected between Shinagawa and Shin-Yokohama, possible delay expected. Then soon changed to as of 14:00, Shinagawa - Odawara also was having stormy weather and train is not operating. I looked out of the window, seeing stormy clouds ahead. I hope things will be okay...

Stormy clouds ahead?! Passing Shizuoka station slowly..........

At 2:08pm, there is another announcement that it will resume operation around 2:40pm. At 2:15pm, announcement informed that the train maybe stopped at Shizuoka. Guessing it is going to take time, I decided to buy a box of snack and a bottle of tea. The snack was something I did not recognize, but tasted like something I had in the past, long time ago... The train started to slow down and passed Shizuoka station slowly. I could take a closer look. The train passing Mishima at 2:32pm, and finally at 2:40pm, train stopped. Due to congested traffic near Atami. Announce says delay maybe 10 minutes, but it is possible to stop before arriving to Tokyo station due to the volume of trains coming to Tokyo... The train resumed operation but not moving at the full speed. Even after passing the Shinagawa, the last stop, the train made brief stops at Shinbashi, and Yurakucho. At each stop, I see a train going to other direction, so I think they have signals at those locations and allowing the platforms at Tokyo to be cleared. The train arrived at 15:35, too bad that my Narita Express left already...

Narita Express 35 Tokyo(3:33pm) - Narita Terminal 2(4:25pm)

Narita Express 37 arriving.

The original plan was to be there but I arrived to Tokyo station late due to the weather and the connecting train departed to the airport already, so I went to Midorino Madoguchi to get a new ticket. I switched to Narita Express 37, which is departing Tokyo at 16:03 and arriving at Narita at 16:55, 30 minutes behind of schedule. Now I am concerned on the flight to the U.S. Will I make it?

Narita Express 37 made jointing at Tokyo station. Now it is a 9 car train. During the ride to Narita under sunny sky, I was hoping that the whole thing will go without a trouble, other than that, I cannot make it back to the U.S. If so, what I am going to do?! The train arrived on time to the station. I need to make a mad dash now!

To San Francisco: JL2 NRT(6:05pm JST)- SFO(11:20am PDT)

It was a rush to go to ticketing counter. I processed everything with my best of speed, and finally got me the tickets. There was an announcement that people boarding JL2 has to complete check in process in 10 minutes, so I had to wave at a JAL staff to get my bag checked manually. Walked fast to the security, passing it and run down stairs for passport control, and shuttle to the satellite terminal. I made it to the gate alright. Phew... I still had a time before boarding to I bought a magazine, and also some water and snacks before lining up for the boarding. The boarding started at 5:45pm, and I was in the plane past 6:00pm. The plane took off at 6:45pm, and headed to San Francisco.

JAL 2 at Narita Airport. They have many B747s.

Taxing at Narita Airport Just off Narita City West coast sighted

Flying over San Francisco International Airport Crystal Springs and the mountains Delta airliner approaching at the same timing

The flight to San Francisco was almost straight forward. At 8:00pm there was a meal, and then I fell sleep after that, and next time when I wake up was at 1:30am in Japan time. I had about 5 hours of sleep. Soon breakfast was served. Changed the clock to Pacific time, looking out the coast line. I thought I saw an airport but never realized it was the San Francisco airport until we landed. As we approach the airport, I saw a Delta airliner making the simultaneous parallel landing. It was a nice view. Made the landing at the airport at 11:13am local time, and arrived at the gate at 11:20am on time.

To Chicago: AA1472 SFO(1:25pm PDT)- ORD(7:40pm CDT)

After getting off the plane, I had to go through the immigration, the officer noticed that my H-1B visa to be expired in about a month, so he started to question me in many ways. I thought I had to leave the country by the end of the month, he gave me 10 extra days on I-94. So I have to depart from the U.S. once after September 10th. I have to plan on it now. After getting my bag, I had to catch a connecting flight. I had to drag my bag for a while to get to American Airline check in counter. Took a while to check my bag because the counter was busy. Passed the security pretty quick. I walked to the gate around 12:30pm, start checking emails and browsing the net. I start to worry about the flight since I will be arriving at late evening. Even I just had my meal, I think I still need to east some. So I stopped by at Klein's Deli at the terminal, bought a Roast Beef Sandwich and grabbed a bottle of water. It's good to know that I can use credit card because my wallet is still filled with Japanese currency. While I was waiting, I a news about LA got struck by an earthquake on TV. I am not sure whether it will affect the flight to Chicago.

There was announcement of a gate change at 12:40pm. They were saying that they have flight crews but no flight attendants, around 1:10pm about four people came from the direction where many passengers just got out from, I am pretty sure the FAs are tired now. So the flight was delayed. At 1:52pm the plane was pushed back from the gate but there are approximately 10 planes in front of us, rolling down the taxiway slowly and  finally took off at 2:20pm. The plane took off to the south, making clockwise turn so we flew by the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown SF as gaining altitude. I utilized cabin service for a can of pop to go with my lunch. I did not see many people eating meals so I guess they already had their meal before boarding. The passenger right next to me ate a whole bag of pretzels while reading a book... On route, it passed the Salt Lake, which I have never seen before. As the plane approaches, I could see many clouds popped up around the city. I thought we might get some rain or storm. The plane landed, and arrived at the gate in Chicago around 8:05pm, then I walked to the next gate.

AA1472 bound for Chicago O'Hare

San Francisco near Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco downtown and bay bridge area Lake Tahoe

Yosemite Park area Salt Lake at Utah Stormy clouds nearby Chicago O'Hare

To Detroit: AA1459 ORD(9:50pm CDT)- DTW(11:55pm EDT)

After getting off the plane, I did not feel like buying anything so I only walked to a connecting gate. The plane was not there, and I still have about one hour before the boarding time of  9:20pm. So, I changed my mind and grab myself a bag of Bugles and started to snacking. Since I saw a stormy cloud as I was approaching to Chicago, I check the net and there seems to be a chance of T-storm overnight. Hmmm, I was hoping the flight won't be delayed. The boarding began a little shy of 9:30pm, and the person at the gate almost stopped me since I had JAL issued ticket which she was not familiar with. I was waiting for the plane to be pushed back, then noticed that the sky was flashing. During the taxi, we were given number 4 for takeoff but ended up holding the position until 10:30pm because the storm cell is located directly at the route for departure so everything was on hold. As we waited, there are more planes coming for departure. Oh, no... Once we are cleared, we took off in the air. The flight was smooth, no turbulence expected, and approached from the north of the airport. The plane safely landed at 12:15am.

AA1459 at Chicago O'Hare Approaching to Detroit in moist air

Coming Home

I was back in my car around 1:00am, the road back to the apartment was quiet so I came home by 1:40am. I needed to unpack, and organize mails which was on hold for a while, but managed to go bed around 3:00am. It was a long trip. I have to go back to wok tomorrow. Hmmm...



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