Japan Trip 2010 - December (Last updated on 2011/05/22)

2010/12/22-23 Coming Back to Japan

Going to the airport

Woke up at 6:00am, left my apartment at 7:00am to headed to the airport. It was a cloudy sky and some misty rain falling on the way. Since I still don't have an EZ TAG on my car, I had to drive on the local road to avoid stops at toll gates. The local road was congested from the morning commute but consider myself lucky because the schools are out and reduced the overall traffic. Arrived at a parking lot at 7:50am, earlier than I expected. Parked my car, and took a shuttle van to the terminal E where I arrived at 8:15am. After entering the terminal building I located a counter for Narita, Japan then walked up to get myself checked in. Passed security and walked a little while to gate E7 at 8:40am,. I bought a drink and had breakfast at the waiting lounge. (Done)

Flight to Narita Continental Airlines CO7 IAH(10:55am) - NRT(3:45pm)

CO7 getting ready for 13 hours flight...

What's wrong with my monitor??? Okay then.

The passport check for the flight began at 9:30am, and then the boarding started at 10:30am, the plane was very much full. It get pushed back at 11:00am, and departed at 11:20am, the plane initially flew to south, then turned toward northwest. The passengers at the same row, one person was from Wichita, KS, where I used to study, and another was from Mexico, coincidentally, they are both going to Taipei, Taiwan. Wow, the place must be famous then.

Plane finally broke through the cloud. Going to Japan now.

 Lunch Breakfast

About two hours passed in flight, the lunch is served around 1:00pm. The plane was flying by Colorado and the air was getting turbulent. I found that the serving drink in this flight is not so smooth as American Airlines'. Flew near Alaska at 5:30pm, I kept my eyes shut, pretending like I am sleeping. The cabin get lights up at 11:00pm, had breakfast at 11:30pm. Began initial descend at 12:10am, flew by Choshi city then headed to south, then turned back to north for landing, feet dry at 12:40am, then landed at 12:46am, which is 3:36pm in Japan time. Arrived at the gate 36 at 4:00pm and people started to get off. I passed the immigration, picked up bags, passed customs, then walked out from the building.

Now I am changing flights from Star Alliance to One World group, so I get on a shuttle bus at stop #6, then took 10 minutes to go to terminal 2. Checked my bag again at 4:55pm, I had a choice of selecting window seat so I get one. Passed security at 5:10pm and waited, since I have nothing else to do, I bought my dinner, and typed up a bit of blog.

Flight to Nagoya: Japan Airlines JL3087 NRT(6:30pm) - NGO(7:40pm)

The boarding is scheduled to start at 6:10pm so I got up and started to walk toward the gate around 6:05pm, the boarding started on time, and it get pushed back at 6:35pm, taxing toward a runway, I get to see the moon rising over the airport building. The plane departed at 7:00pm, flying over Yokosuka, kept going to west then landed at Nagoya at 7:42pm. The plane had to taxi for a while. Arrived at the gate at 7:49pm. I must have been asleep for some portion of the flight, I do not recall all the details. After getting off the plane, I walked to the baggage claim. The bags did not start come out for a while so I am going to miss the train leaving at 8:15pm... 

Coming Home

Welcome to Nagoya. Tokoname city produces most volume of lucky cats in Japan

At 8:15pm, I picked up the bag and started walking toward the attached train station. As I walk forward, I called home to let my dad know that I am coming. MuSky #55 is scheduled to depart at 8:37pm so I had to wait, but gave me an opportunity to buy a bottle of tea before getting on board. The train left the station on time, I could not see the outside since the outside is dark. but I did not care. Arrived at Nagoya station at 9:05pm. I approached to the exit to catch a bus to home. Arrived at the bus center at 9:12pm, took a bus leaving at 9:30pm to home, Getting off at a stop nearby the house, and walked home. I greeted my dad who has been waiting for me. Took a shower, went to bed around 10:30pm.

2010/12/24 Christmas Eve


Woke up at 2:30am in the morning, then I could not fall back to sleep. Had breakfast with my dad and then get ready for the day. The first thing I did was to step outside to trim trees, followed by going to a grocery store to buy stuffs around 10:00am. People there recognized me since I have met them before. I bought some onions, potatoes, saba fish and tofu. Stopped by at a post office on the way back to mail a package containing some goodies to coworkers at head company. Called friends, grandma, and brother's home, to let them know I am back.


Had lunch with my dad then cut out a set of spacers to match the height of two tables. It was a bit of challenge to meet my dad's requirement, within 5mm  but I made it okay. The weather turned to be gusty in the afternoon even a short shower, I think it could have been flurries. Went to a DIY store, bought a pack of masks which I wear in the planes.


My dad had to be on duty at local community center so he left home early. Stepped out after dinner to catch a bus, but the traffic was very heavy, and windy condition made me very hard waiting for a bus. Visited my brother's house between 7pm to 9pm, then took a train leaving at 9:17pm and took a bus around 9:30pm. Came home, went to bed. I guess this is another way of spending the Christmas eve.

2010/12/25 Christmas


Woke up around 2:00am, stayed up until the morning. Another chilly start around 1C. Had breakfast with my dad, while I was washing the dishes, my dad started working on his project. Since we are getting an inspector come in for structural condition of the house, we peeled off one of tatami to check the access to the basement, which was the first time to look at the foundation of the house. After the preparation is done, I had to do the cleaning. The newspaper on the floor showed Feb 1977... I guess I can guess how long the last time we did.

Since I wanted a storage in the house, since I will be visiting Japan many times over the year. So, we agreed to clear up a section. We took out old clothing from one of the closet space, and I put my spare clothing and other items. We then moved to upstairs to this time open up the access to the roof. There were couple of brand new futon beds fitted in the section so we had to pull out with care. They must been there for many years, almost 30 years? So all the dusts and other staffs are thick. Took the futons out to the patio.


For the afternoon, I cleaned the living room. Changed light bulbs in the room, and also another lighting in a different room. I think they should be good for another a couple of years for now. Wrapped up the cleaning for the day, and since I got really dusty, I took a shower. Tomorrow will be another day which I need to get dirty. Updated my blog in the evening, and took out data from my dad's old voice recorder and save it to a storage unit. 


Left home around 6:00pm. Took a bus and subway to visit my brother's family. Had Christmas party at my brother's home. The dinner was good, and the wine we had almost no bitter taste. My dad got a kettle we bought, and I got a calendar and some clothing. I gave my niece a set of electronic reading books and tried to see which book he likes best. Finished the party with singing a song, left around 9:00pm, getting on a bus around 9:30pm and came home. I had to do some errands but went to bed by 10:00pm, set washing machine to do laundry while I am sleeping. Daily high was at 6C.

2010/12/26 (Low 1, High 8)


Woke up again around 2:30am, stayed up until the morning, had breakfast, which was a suki-ni. My dad stared to throw more stuffs away so I had to wait for him before my turn to do the cleaning. So while I wait, I took my laundry outside to get them dried, and also Cleaned Kamidana, Butsudan, two rooms and windows around the house.

Took out mattress portion of the sofa and also zabuton outside to get them dried.

Chilly in the morning around 1C and the temperature in the day time did not go up well.


For the afternoon, I cleaned the area by the stairs, I found the cartridges for portable gas burner, then checked and cleaned the refrigerator. I found some photo albums, and fuel for propane gas burner.

Stepped out around 3:00pm to a grocery store, my friend wanted a bag of Japanese flower powder, so I bought one.


Had dinner with my dad, did the dishes. My dad started to do Sudoku, and I joined. We only thought over the heads, so it took a long time to solve but managed it. Cleaned the bathroom

2010/12/27 visiting grandma (Low 0, High 9)


Woke up at 5:00am, I guess my body is finally adjusting to JST, just a day before I am going back to the U.S. Had breakfast with my dad, he tried to cook shrimps but over did them. It was a nice try. Cleaned the kitchen sink in the morning. The news says it was 0C, yesterday was 1 to 8, while a day before that was 1 to 6. Must have been cold one then.

Today started out to be a sunny day, unlike yesterday which was cloudy. Left the home to catch a bus going to Nagoya at 9:59am, getting off at Sakae, instead of going to Nagoya to stopped by a bank to register transactions, then stopped by at Hard Rock Cafe in Nagoya which is said to be closed by the end of the year. caught a train leaving at 10:59, arrived at the home at 11:30am

Had lunch with my grandma,


Stayed until 3:00pm, caught a train leaving at 3:05pm. Stopped by at a bookstore to buy a magazine, and also looked for a textbook I wanted to buy but there is no any. I had to give up and head to a bus stop to take a bus bound for home.

Stopped by at a store, then get on a bus leaving at 3:50pm

Went to a grocery store, bookstore


Had dinner with my dad, chat with him until 8:00pm, packed for the returning trip, went to bed around 10:00pm.

2010/12/28 Coming Back to the U.S.

Going to Centrair


Woke up at 6:00am, but I had to get up earlier once because my dad forgot that he was boiling water and I had to get out from bed to turn the burner off. It was pretty cold, actually went below 0C. Had breakfast with my dad, then started cleaning the kitchen as the last push for the trip. Packed my bags and took a shower around 9:00am. Checking the Kotatsu condition, realized that the dial setting was wrong. Left home at 9:30am to get on a bus leaving in 10 minutes. Shock hand with my dad, headed outside. Today is sunny and a bit chilly, waiting was okay until the bus did not show up at scheduled timing. I waited for extra 10 minutes until it comes. Arrived at Nagoya around 9:20am, and took an elevator down and reached to the Meitetsu train station. I bought a reserved ticket and went down to the platform. I had a few minutes of waiting then the train coming in. The MuSky departed Nagoya at 10:31am, and arrived at the Centrair station at 11:03am.

Arriving at the check in counter, there seems to be no people around, I guess today is not the day when people traveling. I just walked up the the counter, received my ticket. Since I am going to change the plane at Narita, I worried that I might have to take my bag there to the new carrier, but the lady told me that JAL can transfer the bag to Continental, as long as I check in at their counter to notify. Good so I have no need to carry. Passed through the security, then walked up to the gate. Thinking about how I am going to have my lunch, I went to

Started using internet by the gate, which is a nice feature... I was able to send email to my friends

Flight to Narita Japan Airlines JL3084 NGO(12:50pm) - NRT(2:00pm)

I waited for the staffs to have the counter open but it was a bit behind the schedule. The boarding of the plane started at 12:35pm. The plane was a B737-400 so the equipment was actually older consider to the other planes on the fleet. I took a seat in the plane at 12:45pm, and waited for the push back. The plane departed the gate then taxied to the south end of the runway. It took off at 1:00pm, to the north and make a turn left to head to south, passing the south side of the airport then kept going east. The plane stayed in the pacific ocean side so I could see Mt. Fuji at far in hazy air, flying over Oshima, then started to turning to the airport off Tokyo. The plane passed east side of the airport then turned around to make the approach from the north. Landed at 1:54pm, and did a quick taxi to parking at 2:00pm. I had to get on a bus to the terminal building.

Turning left as it gains altitude Flying by Centrair



Landing at Narita

Flight to Houston: Continental Airlines CO6 NRT(5:10pm) -IAH(1:50pm)

 Catching a shuttle to terminal 1  At check in counter

Move to Terminal 1 by a bus, then walked up to the departure level for check in. Since Japan Airlines is taking care of my bag, I did not need to carry mine, I just showed the barcode to them. Walked around the airport mall, and observation deck for a while then passed security and passport check. Even after that, I had no intension of buying anything but walking around, going in to every single store they have and check them out. Finally bought a bottle of water, and ice cream (Well, I just felt like it...) then took a seat by the gate 27 at 3:35pm, watching outside which is colored in orange, planes taking off and taxing, which looked pretty. Around 4:00pm, I picked up my cell phone and started to call home, brother and grandma. Lined up at the gate around 4:20pm, I can clearly see that they are disorganized and had to wait for a long time. I boarded the plane at 4:40pm, then watched many staffs running around to confirm the names and passports are okay. It was almost chaotic situation. Finally the plane was pushed back at 5:30pm, but since I was sitting at isle side this time, I could not see anything outside. The plane took off at 5:43pm, and I can only see where it is going by on the monitor. I had nothing to do, so I watched a few movies, including Get Smart and Despicable Me. Other times I spent

The meals were served 3:30pm, 12:30AM





Landing at Houston safe at 1:40pm, and had to taxi for a while so getting out of the plane was at 1:47pm. Walked for a while then reached the immigration. The officer was curious about why I am making many trip for this month, but not much questions asked.

After passing the immigration, I walked down stairs to the baggage claim. I get there at 2:06pm, but seems like taking very long time for the bags to come out. I waited, waited and waited, looking at people from other flights getting their bags and proceeding to the customs. In one situation, an officer with a dog caught a couple of bags from other belt and started to opening them up. I guess someone got busted, hahaha... I was able to grab mine at 3:10pm, almost one hour wait there.

 Dinner  Breakfast

Coming home

Getting out at customs at 3:15pm, I walked to outside to catch a shuttle to the parking. It came at 3:20pm and I get on, but had to wait for few more customers so stayed there for about 5 more minutes. Arrived at the parking at 3:35pm, one guy had to take long time to locate his car but it was alright, getting off the shuttle, loaded my bags then start heading home. Before returning to my apartment, I shopped at Kroger for groceries around 4:40pm, and finally home by 5:00pm. I cooked rice, check emails, had dinner, went to bed around 9:00pm. I felt my body very tired and heavy. I have three more days of work...


Airfare: 2034.90

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