Japan Trip 2008 Part 4 - Homecoming


I have been told that my mom is coming home from hospital for about a month during December. I was talking on the phone with my dad to discuss whether if I should come home for a couple of times, and found out that she is coming home while I am on Thanksgiving break. Although I already plan to come home over the Christmas, I decided to come home one additional time. I bought the ticket on 11/14, I used a $510 credit for a trip I did not make this year. The difference was $1030.40, and fee was $150 so I paid about $1,180, which is a bit cheaper than paying the full amount. I reserved a rental cell phone and a parking. About two days before the departure, I got a notification on the phone number so I told my friends about it. I also requested to hold mail until I come back.

2008/11/21-22 Going to Japan

Going to the airport

Woke up at 4:00am, but I fell sleep back again (Oops). I finally got out of the bed around 4:30am. I checked the internet and found out that it is 18F outside, much colder than expected. Took a shower, then stretched my body. I carried all the bags out of my apartment and put them into the car. Before I leave, I set the thermostat at lowest temperature to avoid using too much energy but not to freeze up the room. The car windows was free of frost so I could leave immediately.

I left home around 5:00am, the road to the freeway was slightly frozen so it was a bit slickly, I could feel the tires want to slide in the dark sometimes but I got on the freeway without a problem. With moderate amount of traffic going on, I was driving fairly well. Since the blue deck at the airport increased the price to $16/day, I switched to a local privately owned parking service ($9/day) called U.S. Park. I arrived there at 5:50am, the pickup shuttle came right after I parked my car and took me to the terminal around 6:00am. Took a stair up to the third level of the building for check in After that, I proceeded to the security. Stopped by at a store to buy a couple of bottled waters, and a copy of newspaper. I was relaxing by the gate D32 since 6:40am.  The sky was getting brighter but I could feel the cold air coming from the window side. Oh, man... I power up my laptop, and started to work on company assignments. While I was waiting I saw a sparrow hopping on the floor. How did it got in?!

To Chicago: AA1483 DTW(8:20am EST) - ORD(8:50am CST)

The boarding started without a problem around 8:20am. I could see a plane already finished deicing. The plane was getting pushed back from the gate at 8:35am, but ground stop was ordered at ORD so we had to wait but the captain changed the route which divert to Ft Wayne, IN instead of flying straight to Chicago. This will take another 20 minutes but allow us to depart with a shorter wait. The plane took off in the air around 9:00am, about 40 minutes late but the flight itself was smooth. The plane climbed to a clear sky, but getting some cloud cover as approaches to Ft Wayne area, around 9:35am. The plane approached to the airport from east, passing north of Chicago downtown, and made landing at 8:45am, almost on time. Taxied to the gate and we got off the plane. I guess it's 18F outside, like announced in the plane.

AA1483 at the gate

Detroit Airport under glare of Sun Light and Dark contrast on the ground Chicago Downtown

Since I have some time before the next flight, I was able to walk around but my backpack was pretty heavy already... The surrounding has not changed a lot, regular illuminations on the ceiling for the holidays, and some offering a flu shot inside of the terminal. One thing I noticed is that Duty free store stopped selling pens and clocks, they now only take care of perfumes and liquors. I think duty free stores in the U.S. is not exciting anymore. (Japan has many cool electronics on sale...)

To Narita: AA153 ORD(11:05am CST) - NRT(3:15pm JST on 22nd)

The boarding began at 10:20am on time at Gate L8. I was talking with my host family members over the phone when it started. After the boarding, I was chatting with a passenger sitting next to me, who is heading to Singapore for his two weeks vacation. While we waited, the captain announced there seems to be an issue with the plane, and the tail is tilted very low so they had to fix the issue. I was hoping that things get fixed soon but took a while so when the plane finally got pushed back, it was almost noon.  While thinking about mom and wanting to come home soon, it was very tough time. The plane taxied to a runway and took off at 12:05pm toward west. Changed heading to Wisconsin. Passing St. Paul at 12:55pm, saw Mississippi river at 1:05pm, I could also see some lakes frozen. Flew by Fargo Fall at 1:13pm, passing Fargo at 1:20pm, Lunch served at 1:40pm. At 2:30pm, turbulence for about 10 minutes, then again 3:30pm another turbulence for about the same duration. By the time, we are flying at FL340 with outside Temp of -61deg, Arrived near White Horse at 5:00pm, reaching to Anchorage, AK at 5:45pm with FL360 with outside Temp of -47deg. Flew by the Kamchatka peninsula around 9:00am, then I get to see the first sight of Hokkaido at , 11:00pm, where we still flying high at FL380 with -51C. Breakfast served (Chicken Curry). Around 12:00am, the descending started, fly by the airport at 12:30am, and finally landed at 12:35am. The plane taxied to the gate.

AA153 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport The flight path is the regular route.
Departing to west Chicago O'Hare Airport Going up north along Michigan Lake
Snow on the ground   Mississippi River frozen
Near White Horse Alaska Mountains Mt. McKinley Alaska Mountains
Arriving to Hokkaido Shiogama Mt Fuji
Kashima City Kujukuri Hama (99 miles long beach) Arriving at Narita Plane departing

AA154 safely arrived to Narita


Night snack


To Nagoya: AA5826 NRT(6:30pm) - NGO(7:50pm)

Although AA5826 is a flight within Japanese soil, between Narita and Nagoya. It is still considered as an international flight so I don't have to pass through the immigration yet. The only thing I needed to do was to pass through a security check again for the connecting flight. I don't need to carry my suitcase or anything, so this is a good part. I had almost 2 hours of wait time so I walked around, but I should have buy myself a meal before getting onboard. I found a bank so I exchanged currency; the rate was $1 = 91.20Yen.

I was walking around but get to the gate at 4:20pm. I still had plenty of time until the boarding, so I powered up my PC and checked for wireless access, I paid 500Yen to gain access to the internet at the airport, worked on assignments until the boarding process begins at 6:00pm. Seated at 6:10pm. Which is a window side, nice but almost near the tail.

A bank that you can exchange currency The plane arriving to become AA5826

7:00pm departure, and takeoff at 7:20pm, went through a 45 minutes flight On the way, I get to see Hamamatsu city, and then turned north toward the airport. The B747 of JAL flight has a front looking camera which can be shown inside of the plane so we can see the airport. It landed at 8:00pm, taxied toward the south half of the terminal building and arrived to the gate. It's time to get off. Walking on a hallway which has very much no view to outside. So I could not take a picture of the plane... The airport looks a lot smaller but makes me think that this is similar to the design when I arrived to Belgium Airport.

Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka, Japan Arrived to Centrair (Central Japan International Airport)

To home

Passed immigration, and custom. Although I have been making so many trips between Japan and U.S. this year, no question asked. I picked up my rental cell phone at a store around 8:40pm near the arrival exit. As I walking up a slope toward the ground transportation, I power it up and called my dad to let him know that I arrived to Central Japan International Airport (or Centrair for short) safely. I walked toward the ticketing counter for Meitetsu (nickname for Nagoya Railway) to buy a train ticket to Nagoya station. They had an express train leaving the airport at 9:00pm, so I paid 1,200 Yen and bought the ticket. The train was very much empty when I get in so I was able to take a good look inside, putting my bags to the baggage bin and then settled in my seat.

Ticketing counter for Nagoya Railway (Meitetsu) Mu ticket (Not really kindly for non-Japanese...)
Express to Nagoya station (Type 2000 shown) Inside of the reserved car

The train departed on time. It was already dark so could not see the surroundings Too bad because this was my first time using this train. I was pretty hungry since I have not had anything for dinner yet... The train made a few stops and finally got to Nagoya at 9:35pm. I exited from the station and then walked toward the city transit. Although it is Saturday night, it was not that busy, so I was able to get on the one leaving Nagoya at 9:41pm fairly easy. When I was exiting from the subway station, I bought a Donichi Eco Kippu (600Yen) since tomorrow is a weekend day. After changing to a city bus, I came home around 10:30pm. I used to come home around 8:00pm with using a bullet train. Chatted with my dad for a while, had a piece of bread for dinner since I have nothing else to eat, made a bed, went to sleep by 11:30pm.

2008/11/23 Visiting my mom at hospital

Woke up for a moment at 4:00am then get up at 6:00am. The sky is a lot darker than the last time because it's not summer anymore. My dad prepared breakfast and had it together from 7:00am, I washed dishes. I guess this has become a routine between my dad and myself. I called my grandma at 8:30am to let her know that I am in Japan, then called my brother at 9:00am to let him know also. Since my dad already told me that they wanted us to come over sometimes, we discussed a plan on having dinner together tonight.

Going to see my mom

Took care of garden for my dad until noon. had lunch with my dad, we had some bread. After finish washing dishes, I left home around 1:40pm to head to the hospital via a city bus which takes different path from the one normally I take. I got there around 2:30pm, greeted with my mom. She looks a lot better than the last time I saw her back in last September. Soon, my brother and his wife, and their baby came into the room so we had five people in a room. The room was hot already, maybe because of the sunny weather outside. I left the room around 4:00pm, come home but stopped by at a bookstore to buy a book for the next week. I came home by 5:00pm. Talked with my dad for a while then got on a bus together to go to a subway station.

Going to my brother's apartment for dinner

Arrived at my brother's place around 6:15pm, had dinner and talked until 8:00pm. We had an Japanese style soy milk soup with a bunch of meat and vegetable in it, and an Oregon red wine called Cloud Line, which I picked up at Meijer. Left there and come home with my dad around 8:45pm. I worked on writing addresses on Christmas cards until 9:30pm, Since I was so tired, I went to bed around 10:00pm.

2008/11/24 (Japanese Holiday - Kinro Kansha no Hi)

I woke up around 1:40am once, then fell back to sleep until 5:40am, when I start hearing some commotion outside. I thought someone was breaking in but only to find out that a nearby construction office had already some folks there and was picking up equipment for the day. I finally got up at 6:00am, had breakfast with my dad in the morning. Went for running with long sleeve shirt and running shorts for about half hour. It's been a while since I ran last time. Since today is a holiday, I did not see much people walking or driving. Took shower then helped bringing out both electric and gas heater in to the house.

Going to visit my grandma

My dad wanted me to take some mandarin oranges and persimmons grow at our home so I picked a few of those for my grandma. Left home to catch a bus around 10:00am to a subway station. I called my brother to thank him for the dinner last night while I was walking toward the bus stop. I bought a one day pass, which was the same kind as yesterday's since today is a holiday, so 600Yen, not 850Yen. When I get to Nagoya around 10:30am, a Meitetsu train was just about to arrive to the station so I was at my grandma's house by 11:00am, we had some sushi, and talked for more than 3 hours. I get to hear about my grandpa (mom's side) and also grand parents. I also did not know that my grandma was learning piano when she was young. Her story is also funny that her instructor was a college professor and charged her 20Yen per month, while average instructors asks for 5Yen. (well, it's a long time ago). She also told me about her experience during the WWII. I did not know that she never traveled to the U.S. or Canada. I left there around 3:30pm. I already knew it was going to be rainy today so I brought my umbrella. I walked back to the station. This time also had very short wait and I get on the train. It was nice since it was chilly while waiting for the train at the platform.

Meitetsu station

Going to Osu

I got off the train at Kanayama, then switch to another one to Kamimaezu. The outside was still raining when I walked out to the ground level. I stopped by at a few places to find a portable CD player with radio tuner but could not be found. I guess it's pretty hard to find one since it must have low demand. People prefer iPod and other solid memory players these days. Left the place around 4:45pm, heading home. Coming home around 5:30pm, my dad already starting to cook. I studied for an exam a bit. Had dinner from 6:30pm, and finished washing dishes by 7:30pm. I worked on my travel log, then had a hot bath, went to bed after that. I am tired somehow... I learned that today's high was only up to 10C.


Woke up at midnight once, then again at 4:00am, I was up until 5:45am then could not stay in bed anymore... It's a sunny day but a bit windy.

Had breakfast with my dad at 7:00am, I got on a bus to go to a subway station. I took a train to Kamiyashito, where Meito Ward Office is located (and they are open from 8:45am). I requested a copy of proof of residency, which took only 5 minutes to come up, with 300Yen charge. It was quick. so I was back at the subway station by 9:00am, Switched to Sakuradori line at Imaike, and got off at Gokiso this time to go to JAF (Japan Automobile Federation, like AAA in the U.S.) I needed to get my DL translated in Japanese. I came out to the ground level at 9:35am, had about 1.5 miles walk to the office, where I got there around 10:15am and filled the request. It took them almost half hour to get my license translated. amazing... They charged me 3,000Yen this time. Since I could walk to different subway station than the last one, I walked to Arakawa, where I got there around 11:30am, also called my dad to let him know that I won't make it on time for the lunch. Arrive to Ueda station, took a bus and came home around 12:10pm.

The sky got a bit cloudy in the afternoon, while the morning was nice and sunny with breezy northwest wind, typically cold. Arrived at hospital around 3:15pm, my mom seems not feeling well. I bit of concerned about her getting out of hospital in few days. My dad walked to the hospital, so I left the place after receiving the key (I don't have a key to home...) On the way back, I stopped by at Yamada Denki, I saw a humidifier/air cleaner on sale and I was going to tell my dad that we should buy one when mom come back.

Checked what's in the refrigerator since I was planning on cooking. Made rice and had dinner with my dad. I cooked a dish made of rice noodles and some vegetables. I told my dad about the air cleaner, he suggested that we should buy it from a local appliance store, not Yamada Denki, which is a franchise and he does not like that. Took out laundry to get them dried in the evening, came back around 9:00pm. Went to bed at 10:00pm

JAF office (Japan Automobile Federation)


I woke up at 4:00am, first time I slept through the night. My body seems adjusting to Japan time but the trip is already half past. Had breakfast with my dad, washed dishes. Since I needed to go buy a home appliance, I jogged to a place where my dad usually buy them, which was about 2km away from home. It was shorter than I imagined in the map but they had once a week close day today... Not being able to buy any, I ran back home. It was a good exercise for the morning anyways.

The second thing in the morning I did was to install slopes by the doors so people won't trip over. So I went to Hi Ace, a local DIY store and I bought a wood board, and door sill, as well as a mask that we can wear. Had lunch with my dad around the noon.

I spent most of the afternoon making adjustment on house paving so that my mom can come in on wheel chair. It should be cured in 24 hours, just around the time when rain is expected tomorrow afternoon. When the outside gets darker around 5:00pm, I decided to update my trip log so I was working on the blog.  Had dinner together, which my dad cooked. Had a hot bath around 9:00pm, went to bed around 10:00pm.

2008/11/27 Getting ready for my mom coming home

I woke up at 4:40am, but stayed in bed until 6:00am, had breakfast with dad from 7:00am. On the news, an armed group attacked hotels in Mumbai, India, causing one Japanese business person to be killed and hurting hundreds more... I guess things keep happening all the time. Japan is pretty peaceful. Cloudy outside, with some rain expected from afternoon with hard rain over the night. Left home around 8:45am to an appliance store again with jogging. I purchased an air cleaner/humidifier. I was going to pay about 47,000Yen but they had a unit from previous year, with 7,000 Yen cheaper so I just took it, but their delivery schedule was quite busy today, so I asked it to be delivered tomorrow. Ran back to the home and arrived around 9:30am.

Washed body and put my cloth in washer, left home again, this time to a local DIY store (again). I come home around 10:30am, I wanted to work on some wood work but needed to head to grocery store to prepare for the lunch. I also bought a loaf of bread at nearby bakery which was just made and cost me 630Yen for the whole. I was asked, how do I want it to be sliced, so I gave a thought for a moment, then, maybe 20mm thickness (In Japan, you will pick either 5 or 6 slice style). I come home but still had a time so I cut a wood board to make a floorboard.

Had lunch together with my dad. I made some boiled asparagus with some eggs, with ham, lettuce, and tomato. Since my mom coming home tomorrow. I don't get much break. At 2:00pm, I headed to Seiyu for shopping, coming home around 3:40pm, had a short rest then headed to a nearby drug store and finally back around 4:10pm.

Preparation for my mom coming home

The bed arrived at 4:40pm. The guy who was assembling it told me that the total weight of the bed will be around 90kg. I immediately thought that we need to reinforce the flooring. My dad needed to go out around 5:30pm, but the care manager took very long time explaining paperwork... He was quite upset about it. They left around 6:00pm. Finally I started to cook dinner, which is a Korean Kemchee soup, and Worcestershire sauce mixed into beef and vegetable. After dinner I carried all the laundry stuffs to a local Laundromat to get my cloth dried. I came home around 8:30pm then start hearing some noise outside, soon I realize it was a rain. Went to bed around 10:00pm. I hope my mom can get out of the hospital tomorrow...

Great Value Cheese

Azuki (Red Beans) Flavor Oshiruko (Sweetened Red Beans Soup) Flavor, using rice instead of flour

2008/11/28 My mom coming home

Going to hospital to pick up my mom

I woke up at 4:45am, but stayed in the bed until 6:00am. Stretched my body, had a breakfast around 7:00am. I left home at 8:50am to stop by at a bank because most of the time I live in the U.S. and never get a chance to maintain my money so I feel I am losing money by putting them in a C/D account with interest rate of 0.2%, almost 1/10 of the U.S. I stayed there until 9:30am before get a ride on a subway. I arrived at the station nearby hospital around 10:20am. I saw my dad walking up the hill so I caught up with him. Once arrived at the room, We packed stuffs with the suitcase which I used to carry my stuffs to Japan. We had a quite a lot of the stuffs so my suitcase became full quickly, so I have several bags I also need to carry.

Hoshigaoka station

2000 2004 2008

I went down to a drug store to get few more items. My grandma arrived to the hospital around 11:00am, we chatted a bit then later nurses came in and delivered the medicine for the stay at home, and soon a driver from a taxi came in so we headed outside. They had a lift on the back and can secure the wheel chair against the floor. We are good to go. The nurses and primary care doctor came down to wish us good luck, and have a good time.

Coming home

Left the hospital few minutes after the noon. The ride back to home was alright. It was sunny, warm but a bit breezy. I could see leaves of gingko trees along the street. We carried her to the bed in the house, and everything was settled. I showed her the remote which can adjust the bed. Start cooking since we are all hungry, had lunch together, we had some bread, eggs. Later we discussed what needs to be done before I go back to the U.S.

Determined things are settled, I decided to go to a department store and appliance store. I left around 3:00pm to go to Mitsukoshi department store to buy a book (a Japanese food cookbook for my dad, as his birthday present) then walked to Yamada Denki to exchange stuffs I bought yesterday. Caught a bus at 4:10pm, arrived at home by 4:30pm. Started to cook dinner around 5:30pm (Chawan Mushi), had dinner until 7:30pm. My mom had some, but not too much. Dad came home around 9:00pm, I had to warm meals again. I was feeling tired so went to bed around 10:00pm.

2008/11/29 Visiting my brother's house

Woke up around 4:00am once but finally got up around 5:30am. Looks like it is going to be a sunny day today. Got out of the bed at 6:00am, stretched my body, had breakfast from 7:30am. It's nice to have my mom at home. We needed to add some light bulbs at our living room. I removed the cover to replace, and only to find out that I have got a wrong kind. I should have bought 20W bulb, not 30W. I am going to have to get them exchanged. I went for a jog from 10:40am, stopped by at a convenient store, grocery store, and finally a pharmacy. They did not have one which my mom needs so I was told to come back here on Monday. Come home, had lunch with my mom and dad.

Going to my brother's house to use internet...

Since my home still use dial up connection, I have not checked any email since I left the U.S. It's been a while so I worried that my mailbox maybe full already. I decided to use internet connection at my bother's apartment. Leaving home around 1:55pm to catch a bus, but I had to get off to go to Yamada Denki to replace 20W florescent light to 30W because I got a wrong kind. Walked to a subway station, got on a subway to the station near my brother's place. They were just about to coming back to the apartment as I was getting there. Today is a kind of warm and not breezy as yesterday so it must have a good to day for a walk. We had tea and chatted. I stayed there for a while, I checked email which had 128 emails with 40MBs. Oh, man...

Left there around 5:20pm, but stopped by at a department store to get some side dishes for dinner. Come home around 5:40pm, then rain started just as I got back. If I took the next bus, then I could be in trouble. I was lucky... We had dinner from 6:30pm, I let my mom tried many variety of foods. Washed dishes, pretty tired so I took things easy. Reading book in bed from 9:00pm, Going to bed around 10:00pm.

2008/11/30 A tiny celebration...

I woke up around 3:00am, I guess I messed with my mom's alarm clock when we return from the hospital. Sorry...

Got up at 6:00am, and it is sunny weather with not so cold condition. We had a breakfast from 7:00am. One of the news in the morning was retirement of Type 0 Shinkansen, which was serving Japan's railway since 1964 and had 220km/h top speed, which was the fastest in the world at the time. I tried to replace two florescent light but only one. I guess one of the socket was broken. I left home around 8:45am for a short jogging. I stopped by at Seiyu to buy some groceries for the dinner, I also picked up an S-shaped hook for my mom. On the way back, I stopped at a drug store to purchase prescription drugs but the pharmacy only had one of them so I had to tell my dad that he needs to go there on Monday. I came back home around 11:00am but went out once more before the lunch to get a digital thermometer. During the mean time, my dad went to a department store to get some sweets.

Had a lunch together with my mom and dad. We had some bread which dad bought from a nearby bakery. Since I had some laundry need to be dried, I had to prepare radish a bit. I went to a Laundromat nearby around 1:40pm to get my laundry dried before guests coming. I come home around 2:20pm, but my grandma was already there. Soon my brother and sister-in-law and their baby arrived. We had opened a sparkling grape juice then regular tea party started to celebrate my mom getting out of hospital (for a while). She's been there for almost 5 months, so this is something considered to be good. The guests left around 4:30pm, and both my mom and dad seem to be very tired. My mom was taking nap, and my dad was reading a newspaper while I was washing the dishes.

I have been preparing for the dinner for quite sometimes, so I prepared some rice, and finished cooking Oden around 5:30pm. Since my mom does not feel too well (She must be tired). so we waited the dinner until 6:30pm. My dad looked upset and weird today so I even had to argue over whether we are making a hot bath or not, what in the heck...?! Anyways, I prepared one and we had bath from 8:30pm. I went to bed around 9:00pm, reading a book until 10:00pm when I decided to sleep.

Pizza Hut in Japan

2009/12/1 Coming back to the U.S.

Getting Ready

I woke up at 5:30am, and got out from the bed around 6:00am. It was kind of cold (3deg C, according to the weather news). Had breakfast which my dad made at 7:00am, I put cloths into a washer while I was eating. Since my grandma had hard time getting up when she come last time, we decided to switch the chairs with other pair. I left home around 8:30am to go to a Laundromat and come home around 9:15am. Because the last time I forget to take my running shorts with me, made sure that  picking up my cloth being dried from last night. Finish packing, left home around 10:20am, my mom got up from the bed and walked to the door. I suddenly become uncomfortable because I cannot be certain about my mom will stay at home until I come home again.

Going to Centrair

Got on a bus arriving to a bus stop at 10:32am, reached to Hoshigaoka by 10:50am. Soon a subway train came (10:52-11:15) so I took a ride to Nagoya station. I arrived there around 11:15am and walk toward Meitetsu Station with my bags. I did not know how to buy the Express ticket so I went to a ticketing window. I bought a ticket for 1,200 Yen, and train to the airport between 11:32am to 12:05pm. This time I get to ride on a blue one, which is a limited express making only a couple of stops with all seats reserved. (Train #312)

I could go buy and eat lunch while I was waiting for the train because I know the food is expensive once I arrived at the airport but I just did not feel like it. The train came to the station on time, and departed. The train stopped at Kanayama, and then kept going toward the airport. This time I get to see the surrounding. I get to see a part of Nagoya port, then arrived to Tokoname, then soon the train start crossing a bridge to the airport. I get to see the island, then control tower, finally the train come to stop at the terminal. I had to walk around to find the place to return the cell phone. I took a slope down to the down stairs for international arrival area, and returned it. Since I used only (? minutes) the total charge was (? Yen). I took a couple of escalators up to go to departing floor.

Ticket to Central Japan International Airport from Nagoya This time it is a limited express so the color is white and blue
Showing a map Showing front view
Airport Island in sight Control tower of the airport Flights to Bangkok still cancelled Inside of the airport

Since I was expecting that the flight to be an international flight, I tried to find it at International Departure. Then I found out that it is a domestic flight. This flight used to be difference because I remember the last time I used the flight (maybe 5 years ago?). Arrived at the check in counter at 12:30pm, they asked me to put the bag one by one, to measure the weight, I guess they are working under more strict rule than the U.S. After receiving the tickets, I walked toward the security and passed through.

Walked in the concourse, not much is going on, very quiet. I bought a lunch at a Kiosk

Misokatsu Sandwich Inside

By 1:00pm, I am done with everything so it's pretty relaxing. I walked around and found the vending machines broadcasting series of one line news like we see in bullet trains... I guess I could come here a bit later next time. With nothing to do, I opened up my laptop to start writing my journal. The environment is quite nice but I cannot find any tables that I can place my PC so I had to stay in the seat.

To Narita: AA5895 NGO(2:05pm) - NRT(3:10pm)

The boarding started for the first class seats. Since I am on general boarding, I had to wait for a while then the general boarding was called at 1:55pm. I walked down the slope to the gate. The plane used this time was a B737-400. Japan Airline had a quite nice seat (designed by Recaro, a famous car seat manufacturer). The plane get pushed back from the gate, starting the engines then departed at 2:05pm, taxied to the south end of the airport then took off to the north. While gaining altitude, the plane turned left to circle around the airport. I get to see the overview of the airport. The plane kept its course to east, and start heading to the Narita Airport. The plane flew over Toyohashi-city, then lake of Hamanako, the coast line was over when reaching to Omaezaki, and I get to see Oshima Island but mostly hidden due to the clouds. The plane kept going to east then changed the heading to north, after passing the airport to left, made a left turn for the base, and then to the final. It was pretty hazy so I barely see the outline of it. Landed at 3:00pm, then taxied to a ramp at 3:10pm. I was wondering why we are stopping right here?! Soon a couple of airport shuttle bus arrived by the plane and people started to get off. The bus took us around and arrived to the nearby building, we walked into a baggage claim. I did not have to do anything since my bags will go to Chicago straight. Passed security check, then immigration. It was very much empty. I guess due to the timing I was arriving and it was nice.

Centrair Airport Toyohashi Hamanako Lake
Omaezaki Oshima Flying on the base for Narita

Going back to the U.S.: AA154 NRT(7:05pm JST) - ORD(3:35pm CST)

After passing the immigration, I went upstairs and found a door which looks familiar to me (Oh yeah, this was the one I was looking curious when I was at Narita Airport last time...) I exchanged the currency back to the U.S. Dollar which was a lot less than when I exchange to Yen. Oh man, I keep loosing money... (They are selling $1 for 92Yen) Since I have to move to Gate 84, I took a tram to the satellite terminal, and walked to the gate. I don't think I am going to need anything except water so I did not buy anything at the duty free stores. Arrived at the gate around 3:50pm. So how I am going to wait until the boarding time?

Only chairs available nearby but found a couple of PC desks which I can power my laptop. So, I paid 500 Yen for the wireless internet access at the airport and worked on my company stuffs. The investment was worth it since I had about 100 emails to check, as well as 60 emails to reply. I took care of very much everything by 5:00pm, then I started to work on my journal. There seems to be an baseball player leaving to the U.S., so there was a pack of journalists and folks with camera and camcorder. That guy boarded before the boarding time begins, lucky for him...

The actual boarding started at 6:20pm, settled in the seat at 6:40pm, the plane was pushed back from the gate at 7:00pm, but had to wait for the #7 departure. During the wait, the captain of the plane announced that there is a chance of turbulence once we are in the air while taxing for the takeoff. Took off in the dark sky at 7:30pm.

The dinner served at 8:30pm, I had Katsudon, 12:30am turbulence over Alaska. Just as announced but did not last too long. I fell sleep since I needed some rest. I woke up at 3:30am b, the plane was flying near Edmonton, at 11,277m, -60 Deg, 1000km/h. Fell back sleep... At 3:10pm, reporting -4 Deg, 60 miles away, the plane flew south of the airport, going toward Lake Michigan, turning to left for 180degrees to join the landing pattern. Landed at 3:30pm, the outside look pretty cold since it is mostly snow covered. Arrived at the gate at 3:40pm, walking down the stairs to proceed to the immigration. The line for the U.S. Citizen was almost over so I get to go through their window. passed the immigration at 4:10pm  with a word, "good luck" since he knows that I work for an automotive company...

Snow covered mountains over Canada   Frozen lakes
Katsudon Breakfast
Halo Chicago town is in sight

AA4362 ORD(4:55pm CST) - DTW(7:15pm EST)

Got a ride on a train to move to terminal 3, passing the security at 4:30pm. I looked up the flight status monitor as I walked into the terminal, finding out that there are many delays. I was a bit concerned but when I arrived the gate, the monitor indicated that the plane was still on time with 4:55pm departure. That made me feel good, but soon it was changed to 5:15pm then to 5:30pm. Oh, no...

A lot of yellow indicating many delays AA4362 at Chicago O'Hare

The boarding finally started at 5:15pm, after a quick boarding, the plane was ready to depart but there seems to be an issue with the bag counts so they had to recount the number of passengers, and the bags. The plane was pushed back at 5:50pm, and took off at 6:05pm. I was feeling tired so I fell sleep during the flight and did not wake up until the plane arrived near Detroit. The plane approached from the north of the airport, and landed around 8:00pm. Detroit was no snowing like reported when we left Chicago but the surface was covered with some. Taxied to the gate, then walked out from the plane to proceed to the baggage claim. My bags were one of those coming out first so I can just take off. The escalator nearest to the walkway was still broken, so I had to use another one.

Detroit Downtown Detroit Metro Airport Insight

Going home

Arrived to the parking after a short hop on a shuttle bus around 8:50pm. They did not get me off at the right spot so I had to look for my car for a while. It was pretty dark so it was hard... When I was scraping the ice off from the car windows, a guy at nearby car asked to see if he could borrow my scraper. Since I had a spare, I could let him do that. The surface of the parking was not clear but not so bad either, so I was able to get out of there quick, besides a short wait to locate a ticket. Driving home was not too bad either, most of the car was going below 70mph, but I kept going to I got home at 9:30pm. The first thing I did was to change the heater temperature setting, opened up a window to exchange air. I powered up the PC to check emails, called home to let them know that I came home safe. Going to bed around midnight.



Go to Home / Top / My mom's final days (#1: Hospitalization / #2: Surgery / #3 Visa Renewal / #4 Homecoming / #5 New Year / #6 Funeral / Extra: Hatsubon)