2012 Japan Trip - Part 1 (last updated on 2013/11/16)

2012/06/16-17 Going to Japan (Done)

6/17 28.4-21.2

To Airport (Done)

I woke up at 6:00am as usual, started to do a load of laundry, stretched my body then took a shower. Since it's a rainy season in Japan, I had to pack seven sets of clothing for the duration of the stay because I cannot expect anything to get dry. When I finish packing all into a bag, it was about the time I need to leave. I took out trash and put my travel bag in the car then began heading to the airport at 8:00am, made a stop at the office on the way to turn in my expense reports into my boss's mail box then continue on the toll road to the airport. By 9:00am, I arrived to the parking near the airport and get on a shuttle van. There were several more people getting on but I guess everybody is going to the same terminal for international destinations. Getting off the van and walked in to drop my bag and have my ticket issued. Passed the security with using premier access and walked to the gate. This time, I was not required to show my passport at the gate so I guess the lady at the check in took care of my I-94, good. Used iPhone to sent out a couple of emails to my friends and my dad before I get on the plane.

To Narita UA7 IAH(10:50am CDT) - NRT(17th, 2:30pm JST) (Done)

Because I have a premier access, I was allowed to enter the cabin early to relax. The seats were very much full but the one between me and next passenger was vacant. I found out that she is a United pilot. I enjoyed many chats during the flight. It's nice to have someone I can talk for 14 hours long haul trip. The plane departed on time at 10:50am, and headed to a nearby runway then departed to the east, as the plane climbs through the clouds, the plane changed heading to north, starting a 13.5 hours journey to Narita, Japan. The air was pretty humid so vortex causing stream of vapor on top of the wing as the plane ascend.

UA7 at Houston Patiently waiting in the plane...
Vortex can be seen above the right wing  Lunch, chicken teriyaki?

The ride was not so bad. Not much turbulence on the course. Soon we were served with the lunch, which I picked chicken and watched a movie, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. The plane crossed into Kansas around noon and kept going. I was feeling tired so I closed my eyes and rested after the movie. I could not fall sleep well but got up around the time when the plane passing Anchorage, AK around 5:00pm (CDT). The plane was flying at FL340 with ground speed of 540mph. I opened up the window cover a little to check the outside but it was overcast. Served with a night snack which was a hamburger and a cup of ice cream. I think it was better than what I had last time. We have come half way so far. I went back to rest and next time I got up was around 8:45pm (CDT). The plane was flying east of Kamchatka at FL380 with ground speed of 535mph. The plane continued the flight to Japan without an issue, and we got served the second meal around 10:30pm(CDT), we have two more hours to go. Flew by Hokkaido at 430mph ground speed. I was eating eggs and watched 21 Jump Street on the monitor. At 11:45pm(CDT). the monitor indicating that it is about 100 miles to go. The plane has been descending to FL220 and kept going as the plane changed the course to west.


Changed heading to southwest before reaching the Japanese soil. Getting feet dry at 11:55pm (CDT). The plane headed to north then turned left to the base, and the final for the landing to the south. The plane landed at 16L at 2:00pm at local time. The plane quietly taxied to the gate under cloudy sky. I got off the plane at 2:10pm and walked toward the exit. The pilot I met proceeded to the international connection, while I am heading downstairs for my bags. At the baggage claim, I was waiting for my bag since 2:20pm but did not come out right. I know by experience, this is going to take a while so I was waiting with patience. The bag finally came out at 2:50pm and I walked toward the customs. Passed without an issue.

Looking at Japanese soil B777 at Narita

To Nagoya NH337 NRT(4:55pm) - NGO(6:05pm) (Done)

I exited through a door then gave my bags to ANA person for the connecting flight to Nagoya. It was late and already around 3:00pm so I could just walk up the security screening and take a seat at waiting lounge to get some rest. At the lounge, I bought a bottled water, and a rice ball for the dinner. I could eat something after I arrive to Nagoya but I know it is going to be late and tired by then. I opened up my PC and caught up with my blog a bit, then realized they are reporting of a big typhoon approaching to Japan islands on TV at the lounge. I thought about canceling my trip to Shirakawa-go, but decided make my decision later.

My dinner at Nartita Airport, about 400 Yen

The boarding started around 4:30pm then got on the bus around 4:35pm. The bus traveled a bit far away by east side of the airport then we all boarded the plane at 4:45pm. I got a second row, nice. The plane got pushed back at 5:05pm and taxied. Paused a bit to let Singapore Airline's A380 land then departed to the south at 5:25pm. The plane took a regular route today, flying over Yokohama then a little inland this time. I get to see Mt. Fuji close by. It was still some snow left. Further west, I get to see the beautiful view of Japan alps because of the position of the sun and they were surrounded by clouds.

A380 come for landing

Japan Alps with clouds under sun light Mount Fuji under the wing

Mt Fuji

The plane approached to Nagoya then turned south before change back heading to the runway. The plane landed safely at 6:05pm. It's time to go home.

 Port of Nagoya reflecting the sun light Turning toward NGO from the south

To Home (Done)

The plane arrived to the spot and I got off the plane and walked toward the baggage claim. This time I did not have to wait too long before the bag showed up. I walked to the ticketing counter for the Meitetsu railway and bought a ticket to Nagoya. It's nice that I can now use a speed pass called Manaca. I get on MuSKY #247, leaving Centrair at 6:37pm and arriving at Nagoya at 7:05pm. Since today is Sunday, there were not many people around, usually I come home on weekday, so I see people going home from work lining up on platform on each station the train makes stop. After arriving Nagoya station, I walked up to the bus stop at 7:13pm, then realized I have to wait for more than 30 minutes. Since the bus ride takes another half hour, I decided to take city transit instead of Meitetsu bus. Took an elevator down to the ground floor, and entered into the subway station at 7:25pm. The train came only two minutes after that.

Getting off at the station nearby and caught a bus going to the area where my home is, the bus left at 7:50pm. I walked into the house, greeted by all the family members. It's nice to be at home. My niece has grown up a bit and now can walk if grabbing on to something. The last time was only laying on the bed. Going to bed after taking a quick shower around 10:00pm.

2012/06/18 At home (Done)

6/18 31.2-20.3

I woke up once around 2:00am once because of the jet lag but fell back to sleep. Unlike last time, I did not drink any tea so I guess it allowed me to sleep more, nice thing to remember. Got up at 5:00am and I was relaxing for a while then I started to hearing noise, which was rain around 6:00am. Stretched my body and took a quick shower before having a breakfast with my brother at upstairs. My nephew started going to a kindergarten this year so now my sister-in-law has to make two sets of boxed lunch, one for my brother, another for the nephew. The rain was over by the time my brother was going to work.

In the morning I was playing with my nephew and niece for a while. I then went to downstairs and began unpacking and set up my PC for the internet connection. I had to buy so many items on Amazon.co.jp which I am planning to bring back to the U.S. I also made a reservation for a round trip on highway bus between Nagoya and Shirakawa-go for tomorrow. I had to make a decision since typhoon #4 is approaching so the timing is critical, and also cost is something I need to consider, too. By using JR trains, I need to change to a bus at Takayama but I could stay 2 more hours that way but returning is around 9:00pm. Taking bus is much cheaper, only 7,000 Yen (compare to 17,800 Yen) but only get to stay there for only 3 hours and returning is about 7:30pm. Gave a thought on it for a while and checked the prediction on typhoon's path, I decided to go with the bus. I placed an order online.

Had a Hiyashi Udon for lunch. My niece was still sleeping even we finished the lunch, she sleeps a lot... In the afternoon, decided to head to a post office to check on my insurance plan. The plan was matured but did not know what happened after that. I decided to renew it for another 10 years. I also bought a couple of express packs to send gifts to my friends and also a sheet of cherry blossom stamps. Stopped by at Seiyu store to buy some small toys to my coworkers, then a convenience store nearby to pay the fee for tomorrow's bus tickets.

Bus tickets for tomorrow

My brother came home on time. We had Chirashi sushi, it was very nice treat to me. Went to bed around 10:00pm after taking a shower. Let's see where the typhoon will be when I wake up.

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