2012 Japan Trip - Part 3 (last updated on 2013/11/16)

2012/06/20 Visiting Relatives

6/20 27.4-20.4

Woke up again around 2:00am, this time I could not fall back sleep so I decided to get up at 4:00am. Had breakfast with my brother in the morning. I took a shower and get myself organized. I then left home at 9:40am to catch a bus, which came late at 9:52am. The bus arrived Nagoya at 10:27am. I walked down the stairs to the Meitetsu station. While I was walking, I saw a Shinkansen stopped right before the Nagoya station. I guess all the rain over night was causing some delays. I get on a Meitetsu rapid train leaving at 10:43am, it was advertising another Pokemon movie for the summer. I arrived at the station nearby my grandma's house. Walked out from the station and headed to the house. Not much changes near the station but there is a big house built nearby and some properties are undergoing overhaul. I greeted my grandma about 11:30am.

Wrapped with New Pokemon movie theme...

I was chatting with my grandma for a while waiting for my uncle came to pick us up. We went to his house and had lunch together. When I talked about buying Yukata, my aunt told me that she is good at alterations and my grandma was terrible on sewing. She later took me to a store to buy Japanese Yukata. The first store I went inside APETA did not have ones for male but there was another store which sell them nearby. I picked up two designs and paid nearly 30,000yen. My uncle took me to a subway station for drop off. I then took a train to Sakae, bought two textbooks at Maruzen, which will be temporary closed on the 24th. I also stopped by at Aoyama to buy four shirts. I also needed to buy a textbook for a radio program, but in Sakae, I only found two of three. I really wanted to find the last one but had no clue on where else to go in this region. So I gave up and headed back to Hoshigaoka station. Before getting on the bus, I tried a bookstore nearby and found the last one. Took a bus back to home. Had dinner together with my brother's family, and later I went to bed around 10:30pm.

My yukata Maruzen bookstore to close

2012/06/21 lunch with a friend

6/21 21.7-17.8

Laundry... (Done)

Woke up around 4:00am, my dad let me use the washer so I started to wash my cloths in the morning. When I stepped out to dry shirts outside, I felt rain drops so I decided to hang shirts inside the house. I stretched my body and prepared for the day. I guess I twisted my torso in a wrong way while I was asleep so I was not feeling well from the night. After the breakfast, I walked to kindergarten with my nephew and sister-in-law with my niece in a stroller. After dropping off nephew, I continue walking to a post office to sign a life insurance agreement. I got many freebees, like food wrap x3, aluminum foil x1, boxed tissues x5, laundry detergent x1, they were too much to carry but managed to come home around 10:00am under rain. I was looking for a place to get my laundry dried since the morning and I found a store on my way back, so I decided to go back there later. Once I come home and dropped off all the goodies to my sister-in-law, I took my laundry to get them dried. I used a drier for 20 minutes, just watched outside raining while I wait. Called my friend to arrange a meeting over lunch.

Lunch meeting and getting sick...

Come home around noon, and waited for a while then my friend pick me up at 1:00pm. We went to a restaurant nearby and had lunch together, chat about each other's situation. He works for an electronics appliance store and I met with him in Tokyo about two years ago. I was not feeling well but finish it. We both have issues at work, how to deal with those difficulties are the eternal challenges, I guess. At the restaurant, I saw some folks wearing business attite so they must be in the sales. It's nice that I am on break this week. The rain was still falling as we exited the restaurant and my friend took me back to the house. After coming home, I was not feeling right so I slept until 6:00pm, went upstairs and had dinner together with the family. They cook me Aji fries but I was losing my apatite so I could not finish eating them all. Did not take shower and went to bed by 9:30pm. Tomorrow I have to go to Kobe to meet with my friends.

My Lunch

2012/06/22 To Kobe, visiting friends

6/22 27.8-18.7

In the morning (Done)

I woke up at 3:00am, at the outside rain was pouring down hard. I stayed in the bed until 5:00am then got up with a help of an alarm clock. The rain stopped during the morning hours and the outside was very sunny when I went up stairs. For today, I got a piece of salmon for the breakfast but somehow I was losing appetite from the last night so it was a nice treat. I was talking about salted salmon when I used to eat when we were small. After the breakfast I grabbed my laptop to make reservation for a hotel for tonight. The hotel I usually stay had the price tripled to 12,000Yen a night, so I could not afford it. I find an affordable one which is located near my friend lives so I picked it. After that, I checked the schedules for bus and bullet train for the night.

I then left home to go to DIY store to get something I can only buy in Japan, towel, chopsticks, and small pad for the house which is needed. My sister in law's mother arrived for the day. I also received a package which contains textbooks for Japanese exam. I opened the 1st class book, then I gave up. It seems too difficult for me now. Had lunch with them Hiyashi Chuka, then rested for a while again since I needed to rest up. I left around 2:30pm to the post office to send books to the U.S. because it was getting so heavy. It was 2,780Yen to ship but still pays off compare to what I have to carry.

Going to Kobe

I left home around 3:25pm, I was playing with my nephew and niece so I had to hurry to the bus stop but it came a few minutes late at 3:31pm. The bus traveled without an issue so it arrived early to Nagoya terminal at 3:55pm. I walked downstairs to the JR station to get on a bullet train. I guess I was thinking too easy, when I arrived at the ticketing counter, the place was packed with people. I hope I won't miss a train while I am in the line. I was laughing silently at the person in front of me since she was taking so long to get her ticket. After a short wait, my turn came then realized it is much more difficult to input a station which is not a Shinkansen stop as the destination. I managed to get the ticket and began walking toward the platform. The train, Hikari 475 came as I get to the platform and I bought a bottle of water before getting on board. the Hikari left Nagoya on time at 4:10pm, and moved toward west. I was working on my blog since it was a few quiet time I can get. As the train move toward west, I remember that I used to take this train back to Nishi-Akashi when I was getting training in Japan. The train made a stop at Kyoto before arriving at Shin-Osaka at 5:03pm.

 Hikari 475 coming in to Nagoya station

After arriving at Shin-Osaka, I changed to a local line, there was a special rapid going to Banshu Ako, so I get on. The train moved through outskirt of Osaka toward Kobe, it was familiar view and see the Rokko mountain. Getting off at Kobe station, and bought snacks for tomorrow's family party. I then went back in to the station to catch a local train to Hyogo station. My friend called me as I was getting on a train. At Hyogo station, I met with my friend at north side of the station. My friend now has a different car. He used to drive a Reaunor but now a souped up Suzuki Jimmy. Took Suma kaido to our friend's house. He was not back yet and still at the meeting at his work. We finally got together around 7:30pm and went to a nearby restaurant for dinner with five people. My friend injures his archiles tendon? and walking with ?. Had good chat and also tried Tantakatan and another blue one which my friend's wife got knocked out last time...

Finished around 9:30pm and drove to a nearby creek to check out firefries but we only found two. My friend took me to the hotel and I checked in around 11:00pm, right before they close the window. After make payment and receiving the key, I went to the room, it was much better than I thought. Wanted to brush my teeth and go bed but fell sleep first then managed to get up once more before going to the bed around midnight.

The key for the hotel. Japanese style

The room is much bigger than any business hotel Night view, I can see Akashi Bridge in a distance

2012/06/23 Last day in Nagoya (Done)

6/23 28.8-18.1

Moving back to Nagoya

Woke up a little before 5:00am, the outside is already getting bright. Opened up the curtains and checked out the view from the hotel, which is much better than when I took a look at last night. Stretched my body a bit then headed to a hot bath on the 11th floor around 6:00am. I have not been to hot bath for many years and it was really good feeling immersing myself to a big body of warm (hot?) water. Refreshed myself and returned to the room. I packed my items and left the hotel at 7:00am.

Waking up in the morning in Suma

A lighthouse in front of the hotel

 Path by the beach  Summer house being build

I decided to walk along a beach to the station. The path was quiet, many joggers and walkers were going by, and I also saw people fishing, too. Because the summer is rapidly approaching, many beach stores were under construction, getting ready for the season. Arrived at Suma station at 7:20am, then passed the gate to catch a train heading to Maiko because I wanted to check out a couple of places before I head back to Nagoya. The train for Aboshi departed Suma at 7:26am, and arrived to Maiko at 7:33am. walked out from the station after grabbing sandwich and juice for my breakfast. I took pictures of the Akashi Bridge, and Son Bun memorial house.

Akashi Kaikyo Ohashi

 Son bun memorial house Looking at Akashi
Breakfast Akashi Kaikyo Ohashi

Ate breakfast while watching people fish, walk, jog and bike. Walked back to the station and bought tickets to Nagoya at 8:00am for 6,000 Yen. I walked down to the platform, and waited for a rapid train bound for Maibara, which took me from Maiko to Shin-Osaka. I hoped to get to Shin-Osaka early but there was no Special Rapid train available in that hour. The train was carrying many people, including some folks looks like going to climb mountains. Man, I miss that...The train arrived to Shin-Osaka at 8:58am, then I walked to another platform for Shinkansen. I was able to take a seat in a non reserved section of Nozomi 218 leaving Shin-Osaka at 9:10am and arriving to Nagoya at 10:15am.

I know there is a bus to my place leaving soon, so I got off the train, passed the gate and hurried to the bus center. I was just in time to catch one and it departed as soon as I got on board. Some home in half hour, greeting with my dad and brother's family. I had black wheat noodlea for the lunch, then prepared for the visit of relatives. I already got the sweets from the Morozoff, which can go with what my dad prepared. We had to move the table from the downstairs since we had many people visiting today.

They came on time and stayed for a while. After they left, I helped to put things back around 4:00pm and enjoyed the moment of relaxation. I guess I just need to finish packing tonight and I am good to go. Typed some blog over the evening then went to bed around 9:00pm.

2012/06/24 Coming back to Houston

To the Airport

Woke up at 4:00am, another cloudy yet free of rain day. The morning was cool and I am going to miss this cool mornings once I returned to Houston. Had breakfast with my brother's family, everybody was up early so we just did breakfast together at once. I finished packing and vacuumed the room. My dad wanted to have a tea with me so I joined with him. My nephew came and he wanted to play with me for a while. Went upstairs for a while to play with them. My sister in law talked about how much lost items they have recovered while they were moving in...

Left home at 11:20am with my brother, and my nephew came with us. So I had to walk slowly to match the pace with him. Arrived at the bus stop at 11:30am. The bus came around 11:42am then I put my bags in and get inside. I waved at my nephew as the bus leaves the stop. The driver was under field training so there was an instructor sitting at the first row by the driver seat. On the way, the driver was asking a few questions to the instructor which, we can hear what he is asking. The bus arrived at the terminal at 12:07pm on time. I wanted to get on MuSKY as soon as possible so I took an elevator down and pulled my bags to the nearest entrance. Since I have a Manaca, I could pay my fare but still needed to buy a reservation ticket which was 350Yen

MuSKY #28

I got on MuSky #28 leaving Nagoya at 12:20pm, arriving at Centrair at 12:48pm. The train moved through the route smoothly, then I saw a conductor and his instructor getting on the train. I guess today is my lucky day. On the way, I realized the lights in the train was still on so I asked the conductor why. His answer was, they do while they have to conserve electricity during the hot summer day only. Hmmm? After arriving to the airport. I took my bags to the check in counter. The bags could go to Houston but the lady could only issue me a ticket to Narita. This just does not sounds good. Anyway, I have to go to the ticketing counter at Narita. I only have less than 1 hour to transit, though. After the check in, I went to the deck and saw many people there. Since today is a holiday, I saw many families and folks with camera watching the planes coming and going. I remember there was a time when my brother went to somewhere and I was looking up an plane at Komaki airport... Anyway, I went back inside and passed the security. It's time for me to eat lunch and chat with my friends in Japan before I leave. Bought my lunch, a pack of sandwich and a bottle of water Called a few friends while wait. Relaxed at the chair by the gate, turned on my PC and worked on my blog for a while.

View from the deck Ironman fair

Lunch, a bottle water and sandwich combo.

To Narita UA9738 NGO(3:05pm) - NRT(4:10pm)

UA9738 at Centrair

 South of Aichi  Approaching to Narita

 I guess because today is Sunday, I see many people heading to Narita. The preparation for boarding was complete and we are allowed to get on board the plane on time at 2:50pm. The plane Getting on board the plane on time. The plane departed on time and took off to south today. The plane then turned to east near the tip of Chita penensula. The plane landed at 4:05pm, taxied for 5 minutes and I got out from the plane at 4:15pm.

To San Francisco UA852 NRT(5:25pm JST) - SFO(10:51am PDT)

Since they could not issue me a ticket to San Francisco at NGO, I had to go to the ticketing counter at Narita. I called my dad on the way to let him know that I arrived at Narita. At the counter, they also had some problems but managed to get me one. Phew...

Now I have the ticket in my hand so I passed the security and immigration, which was under long lines. My flight will be departing soon so I was a liitle anxious. Hurried to the gate which the boarding has not been started. So I got time to buy gifts, called my friends. While I was doing it, my name was called and I received a upgrade ticket for business class.

Samsung advertising their Galaxy

UA852 at Narita

I get on board, and relaxed. The plane departed, taxied to 16R for departure. The plane began to proceed but aborted and went around once. The second time was good. The plane is now taken off and heading to the U.S. Soon the plane reached to the cloud level and continue gaining the altitude. The air got a little turbulent but soon stopped. Slept after a meal and I woke up in 2:00am in Japan time which is around 10:00am at PDT. The plane reached the shore at 11:27am, and landed 10 minutes later. The plane taxied to the gate and I get out from the plane at 11:55am. I do not think I can beat the traffic to make the connection.

To Houston UA1664 SFO(12:40pm PDT) - IAH(6:35pm CDT) (Done)

Since the plane to SFO arrived late, I missed my flight to Houston. I re-check my bags and passed the security. I got a new ticket issued at the customer service and now I am flying on UA1669, which departs at 3:58pm and arrives at Houston at 9:51pm. I will be arriving late in the evening. I talked with my friend who I had appointment for the dinner to call it off. It was around 1:00pm so I have almost 3 hours of wait. Opened up my PC and worked on my blog a bit then walked around to grab my dinner. I bought a pack of sandwich and as I was walking back, I saw a A380 at a different terminal nearby and it was getting ready to depart. It was my first time seeing that plane taxing nearby. It was big. Other than that, I was just sitting in a chair and waited. Maybe because of the business class seat, I was not that tired.

A380 at San Francisco

The plane came to the gate and began unloading passengers. Soon the boarding started at I get on the plane at 3:55pm . When the plane plane got pushed back at 4:12pm, I was falling asleep. I woke up at 5:00pm, looked out the window and there was a series of mountains. I fell back to sleep and don't remember a thing. Maybe I was tired from the stress of missing the plane and it's been a long day since I left home in Japan.

Flying over mountain area

The plane started to descend at 9:40pm and came in to the airport from the south side, and landed to the north at 10:00pm. It was 10 minutes past the scheduled time but it was not so bad. Getting off the plane and walking toward the baggage claim on a hallway where almost every single store shut the door for the day.

To Home (Done)

I was waiting at the baggage claim, one by one whom I met in the plane was leaving with their bags. Well, mine did not come out... There were about 20 people who are having similar situation. I signed myself on the list at 10:55pm and waited for a while. My name was called after a short wait, then being told that they have my bags here already. I missed the flight but the bags somehow made it huh? Since I located my bag, I picked them up and got out from the terminal. Caught a van around 11:20pm which was waiting for people to the parking. Dropped me off by the car. Although it was late night, the inside of the car was still hot so I kept the A/C running while loading bags. Headed to exit at 11:40pm and got out. Took Sam Houston toll way back to home. Got back home after midnight. Called home to let my dad know that I have arrived home. Going to bed after cooled my room.


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