2013 Japan Trip


2013/6/8-9 Going to Japan

To the airport

I got up at 5:30am, stretched my body. I was feeling well since I did not have to work second shift so I was well rested. Finished packing and took shower, then left home at 6:45am. The outside was already bright and I enjoyed easy drive to the airport since today is Saturday so there is no commuting traffic. I arrived at the parking by airport at 7:15am but had to wait about 5 minutes at the entrance since a person in front of me did not understand the instruction on where to park. Many cars lined up behind me, too. I finally parked my car, and get picked up by a van, which was filled with others to the point where driver has to go. I get dropped off at Terminal E at 7:30am, carried my bags into the building. There was a lot of people, more than I imagined. I immediately thought this is not good. To check in, I had to waited in a long line until 8:10am, finally get my ticket and bag checked in. For international flight, I could use premier access so the time I had to be in line for security screening was minimum. After collecting my belongings, I walked toward the gate. Stoppe by at a store to buy magazines for my friends.

From Houston to Los Angeles: UA1169 IAH(9:14am CDT) - LAX(10:35am PDT)

Arrived at the gate E20 at 8:30am, The boarding soon started and because I got upgraded to the first class, I was one of the first person to get in. It was nice because I could relax in the comfortable seat for 4 hours before another flight to Japan for 10 hours in tiny economy seat. The plane departed on time, get pushed back at 9:15am and I am ready to go. The plane taxied to the runway and took off to the south at 9:35am, turn to right toward Los Angeles. The guy next to me wanted to take a nap so I shut the window. The air got turbulent for a moment, then the breakfast was served at 10:30am(CDT). The plane was flying over New Mexico at 11:00am(CDT). The air was a little turbulent for very much entire period of flight, the plane finally slow down at noon(CDT), just 190km away from San Francisco. The plane kept going to west and I began to see the populated area from the window, landed at 10:20am PDT, taxied for a while and arrived at the gate at 10:27am PDT. Due to the construction of the building, the plane needed to be towed to the gate....

Upgraded to business class... Breakfast

From Los Angeles to Narita: UA802 LAX(11:45am PDT) -NRT(3:00pm JST)

After getting out, I saw my friend from Houston. He must be on the same flight as mine. I was able to get something to drink at lounge before going to the gate since he had an access to it. These days, even a free water was good enough.
When I get to the gate, people already began boarding so when I get on board at 11:10am, the cabin was almost full. The plane closed the door at 11:30am on time then began pushed back at 11:40am.

B777 at gate

No turn before shoreline Turning after reaching the shore

The plane taxied to the runway which had a sign says "NO TURN BEFORE SHORELINE". I have to agree that because LAX is located in very populated area and only way out without making much noise is to straight to the ocean (of course they must have strict codes on noise in California). The plane departed at 12:05pm to west and soon reached above the clouds. The plane flew along the shoreline toward north, then departed from the coast line at 12:30pm. It's going to be a 10 hour flight to Narita.

The lunch was surved and I got chicken one, the lights went down after that, so I went to sleep, The flight got turbulent around 3:00pm
Watched the hobbit

At 8:30pm? CDT, snack served, at FL340, 4 hours to go, -62F, 555mph GS at alician peninsula

9:20pm turbulent, 10:05pm turbulent

At 0:50pm(JST), the lights in the cabin are lit as the plane nears Japan. Passing by east of Hokkaido 1:10pm. There will be lunch served soon so I began watching a movie Skyfall from 11:20pm.

11:30pm, breakfast, -49F, 616mph, FL350

As soon as the lunch was served, another turbulence came in around 1:40pm, while flying at FL330.

Crossing into Japanese soil Turning toward the final
Looking at Narita Express (NEX) about 1 mi north Landed safe

The plane flew south of Aleutian Islands, crossing the international date line, flew east of Hokkaido, getting closer to Japan's main island. The cabin lights came up, and Ate pasta for the breakfast. The plane apporached from the southeast and crossed the shore line, flying up to the north of the airport then turn to the final. I could see NEX along the way. The plane landed safely at 2:30pm JST. After the plane arrived to the gate, I got off from the plane and start walking toward the immigration and customs.

B777 at Narita

to the immigration, Signboard

From Narita to Nagoya: NH337 NRT(4:55pm JST) - NGO(6:05pm JST)

I walked out from the customs and gave my bag to an ANA agent. I was given a ticket already so I just confirmed my seat is at window side. I then walked upstairs to the security screening for the local flight. I had to line up and wait because there were about 20 people ahead of me. I pass the security then walked to the waiting lobby. While I was waiting there, I bought dinner; two riceballs (onigiri), and two drinks at 3:30pm.

My dinner, two rice balls and drinks

I realized my Japanese cell phone is not working when I pull it out, so I had to use a telephone card to call home to leave a message to my dad. Another thing I find out was that I can use internet at Narita airport for free so I was able to check emails and be on Facebook. The time passes quicker this way, thanks.

Connected to the Internet

The boarding process for flight to Nagoya began on time, so I cross the door and get on a bus at 4:37pm. The bus took passengers to the plane waiting on tarmac. On the way, I saw a small spider by my chair so I crushed it, just in case it came with me from the U.S. Getting on the plane at 4:50pm, and it departed at 5:00pm and began taxi toward the runway. Took off to south at 5:15pm to the southeast then turned to right while climbing. The plane took the regular path, flying over bay of Tokyo; south of Haneda airport, then the sky got cloudy and air got turbulent. I did not get to see much besides the Nippon Alps mountains. As it approach to Nagoya, the plane flew south of Ozone, City office area, Nagoya Station at 5:52pm then Nagashima Spa Land at 5:56pm before turning toward the airport for landing from north. The plane touched down at 6:00pm and taxied to Gate #2, pretty far from the baggage claim.  

Getting on a shuttle bus

Departing from Narita

Flying over Nagoya City, Nagoya Station, Nagashima Spa Land

Coming Home

After getting off the plane, I tried to call home with my cell phone again but still not good. I decided to get on the train first. I picked up my bags and left the baggage claim area. I saw many people waiting for someone they know to come home at the exit, it's a usual site, everywhere, every time. Bought a MuTicket to Nagoya, tried to get on but I could not pass the gate since my Manaca was not used for more than 6 month. I was at the platform a few minutes before the train leaves. Get on the MuSKY #247 leaving at 6:37pm, the outside was still bright, the train move through the familiar sights and arriving at Nagoya station at 7:05pm.

Getting on a train at Centrair airport

I wanted to get the cell phone reactivated, so I located an AU store and asked them to re-register mine around 7:20pm. The application was approved in 30 minutes but the cell phone's firmware has to be updated so the store person struggled for a while to get it done. That was another 30 minute to shift from version 1 to 2. Oh well, walked out at 8:30pm, then move to the subway station. Get on at 8:42pm, heading home. Since today is a Sunday, not much people around around the time. There were some conversations around and felt so many of them are trash talks and a lot of complains. I am not sure why people cannot try something to change things. After arriving to Hoshigaoka, took a bus home from there. There was a crazy lady on board and picking everything she does not like. I am pretty sure she is gonna get beaten up someday. Anyways, I come home, met with my dad, brother and his family members. Went to bed around 10:30pm after unpacking and organizing items for tomorrow. I was tired.

2013/6/10 Visiting my grandma's place, Going to Kobe in the evening

Ward office for paperwork

I got up at 4:30am, stretched my body. My dad was up already and the sky was sunny. For today, I needed to be at the ward office at 8:45am with a passport photo, I had breakfast with my brother and left home at 7:50am. I began walking out from the house. The outside was bright, and I saw many high school students riding bicycles to school. I used to be like them long time ago. The road to the office was not so bad since I am familiar with it but this warm and sticky air made me sweat a lot. I am glad I carried a small towel. I stopped by at an automated photo booth and get my pictures. I continued to walk toward the office and got there on time, I greeted with my uncle who is already waiting at the front.

The reason I needed to go there was to get certificates to receive my share of assets of my grandma who recently passed away. The ward office is open from 8:45am, and I was one of the first one to get the application accepted and received all the paper by 9:00am, 3,750Yen total. I then applied for the government ID card since I do not have a driver license in Japan, the process took 30 minutes and I had to set a PIN code before receiving my card. Finished in 30 minutes and cost me 500 Yen. I then headed out from the building with my uncle, heading to his house for chat and lunch.

Lunch and Bidding Farewell to Grandma

We drove on a recently completed freeway, which was paved over where I used to play around in the woods. Kinda make me sad. At the house, I was able to get to know the last months of my grandma. I guess she lived in a good life. We had a lunch, My uncle took me to the apartment she lived for more than 30 years. I saw Chirol Chocolate at Butsudan, which my aunt told me that she liked to eat something sweet even my grandma was hospitalized.

No more my grandma...

Going to Sakae for more paperwork

The last thing I need to get done is to file an application at a financial firm to split grandma's assets between the relatives. My brother joined and we three did the paperwork between 1:50pm to 2:40pm. Since my grandma had some company stocks, we need to file financial report, which I have no income in Japan. Putting "0" in many cells are just fun thing to do. Bid farewell to my uncle and brother, I stopped by banks to take care of my business then walked to a building by Sakae subway station to buy Letter Pack Plus for 500 Yen around 3:15pm. Taking stairs back to underground mall, walking toward the subway station. Before catching a train leaving at 3:21pm, I put 5,000 Yen to my Manaca. and took a bus back to home.

Going to Kobe for dinner with friends

After coming home, I got ready for the trip to Kobe. One of the thing I need to do there is to get an interview at U.S. Consulate General at Osaka to get my visa approved. Because of the baggage issue, I had to borrow my brother's tie. Left home at 4:19pm to catch a bus leaving at 4:30pm. The traffic was not so smooth so the bus headed to Nagoya station occasionally stuck in the traffic jam. At the bus center, I took an elevator down to the first floor of the building and drag my bag toward the JR station. Bought tickets to Hyogo station with vending machine. Passed the gate and get on Hikari 519 leaving Nagoya at 5:21pm. I then realized this one will stop every single station. The train arrived at Gifu Hashima and passed by a Nozomi train, next stopped at Maibara and again passed by another Nozomi train. There was another train at opposite track at Maibara, a few business person looked like just finished a business trip and began opening beer cans. A typical Japanese thing. I did not get to but anything before I get on the train, so I bought snacks on the way, it's boring and not many people in the car today. The train arrived at Shin-Osaka station at 6:30pm, went down to get on a connecting train. The platform was full of people because it is during rush hour. I get on a Special Rapid train leaving at 6:39pm, the train headed to west toward Kobe. The view from the train was very familiar. I used to see those mountains many times. Arriving at Kobe station at 7:10pm to change to a local train. I called my friend to let him know that I am coming. Get on the train in a minute and finally arrived at Hyogo station at 7:13pm.

Hikari 519 bound for Shin-Osaka arriving at Nagoya station

I walked out from the station to check in at a hotel. Paid 9,800 Yen for two nights. Dropped off my bags in hurry and headed to a restaurant which I

Bought snacks at 6:00pm inside the

Shin kaisoku 6:39pm at Shin-Osaka, changed to Special Rapid train to Kobe, switched the train at Kobe, then

Arrived to Hyogo and dropped off my bags to the hotel, walked to Okonomiyaki place


Yakisoba Okonomiyaki and Yakisobameshi

2013/6/11 Visa Interview at Osaka, Visiting Amanohashidate

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2013/6/12 Rokko Hiking and Coming Back to Nagoya

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2013/6/13 In Nagoya, relaxing

I woke up at 5:00am, I must had a good night. I used my dad's washing machine to get the dirty laundry cleaned. Had breakfast with my brother's family. I played my niece and nephew with clay before they headed to day care. In the morning, I walked to get my cloth dried at nearby coin laundry after 10:00am. While I wait for the cloth to dry, I went to a nearby DIY store to buy stationaries and took the dried cloth home around 11:00am. I was not sure if I am going to meet with my friend today so I waited my friend to call but did not get a call until 2:30pm. I stepped out to go to Sugakiya for lunch, and post office to send out gifts to my friends. Relaxed at home for the whole afternoon. Heard thunder around 5:00pm and rain came for about half hour. Had dinner with my dad at French restaurant. It was a good time. Come home, I was supposed to read an English book to my nephew but he was asleep by the time we get back.

Lunch at Sugakiya

2013/6/14 Going to Gozaisho Mountain

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2013/6/15 In Nagoya, Grandma's memorial, relaxing

Woke up at 5:00am, another cloudy morning but might be rainy in the afternoon. Took a shower and began packing for the returning trip back to the U.S. Left home around 9:00am to go buy Japanese snacks and seasonings before the rain begins. The monk came to the house after 11:00am, a little behind the schedule for my grandma's isshuuki. He left around 12:30pm then we had lunch. Both niece and nephew enjoyed Sushi delivered. In the afternoon, I finally get to relax and began typing my blog but then noticed rain started at 2:30pm. It was quiet but I had to shut the windows. The rain stopped for a moment around 4:00pm but came back again. Relaxed all day and went to bed early.

2013/6/16 Coming back to the U.S.

In the morning

To the airport

Woke up at 6:00am, the first thing I did was to use washer at my dad's room to take care of my clothing from yesterday's mountaineering. I then walked to a coin laundry nearby to get them dried. Had breakfast with my brother's family.

I went to Senyo around 9:30am to buy groceries and Kit Kat chocolates which my coworkers has been asking many times. Come back home and finished packing. I cleaned the room I stayed, and the living room for them. Took shower and get my cloth changed. Leave home at 11:00am to catch bus leaving at 11:09am, I stopped at bicycle shop to say hi to the owner there. The bus was late, it came at 11:15am, which means I am going to miss a train. arriving Nagoya at?

Switch to Meitetsu train leaving Nagoya 12:01pm on MuSKY 320 to Chubu International Airport which arrived at 12:36pm on time. Walking out from the train and proceeded toward the check in counter. I had to pay 7,000 Yen this time.

I bought some gifts before passing security screening since some of my friends wanted to buy in Japan. So I walked around the mall and found a couple of places. One is well known store which I can even find it at Narita so I picked another one.


Bought lunch at 1:30pm

They changed the rule that now they have to lock the trunk.
Arrived at bus center at 11:48


I was able to get on MuSKY 320 departing Nagoya at 12:01pm with arriving time of 12:36pm at Centrair. Getting out from the train and dragged my bags to the counter. The airport

Saw Ninjas at check in counter
Took time checking in

Passing the security and bought lunch around 1:30pm.

The boarding began around 2:15pm,


From Nagoya to Narita: UA9738(NH337) NGO(2:35pm JST) - NRT(3:45pm JST)

The boarding process began on time at 2:15pm.

NH337 at Centrair


Getting on board at 2:25pm, the plane quickly prepared for departure, and pushed back at 2:35pm

The plane began to prepare to approach at 3:25pm, reached to shore at 3:30pm, landed safe 5 minutes later. The plane taxied then the passengers were lead to shuttle buses. I got on it at 3:50pm

From Narita to Seattle: UA876 NRT(5:00pm JST) - SEA(9:50am PDT)

Called my dad as I was walking toward the check in counter at Narita. It is a pain which I need to recheck my bag at Narita due to policy change. Took escalators up to the departing floor (4F) for recheck my bags and got my tickets issued at 4:00pm. Began walking toward the security check, then moved to downstairs for immigration at 4:15pm. After that, I had to hurry to the gate since I only have 30 minutes before the gate closes. Arrived at the gate at 4:30pm, walked passed the check in and called my brother ar jetway before entering the cabin. Took seat at 4:35pm.

Poeple getting sushi before leaving Japan?!

Vendor in Seattle airport looks a little, different




Flying by Seattle

From Seattle to Houston: UA635 SEA(11:50am PDT) - IAH(6:02pm CDT)

After arriving at the gate, walked up to the immigration at 10:15am, which was much smoother than other places I know of. I was at baggage claim in 5 minutes then getting on a tram at 12:25am.

Bought water and postcards of Seattle at 10:30AM local time. The boarding started at 11:15am and went fine and the plane departed from the gate. Took off to east at 12:05pm, since I had seat right side, I was able to see Mt. St. Helen, the plane passed by Salt Lake City, UT, and saw stormy clouds in the middle of midwest. The plane approached from the north side, turned to east before coming back for the final for landing. After landing, the place taxied for a while then needed to wait a few more minutes since another plane was occupying. Finally getting off from the plane at 6:10pm.

Departing SEATAC

Salt Lake City

Stormy looking cloud

Flying over Collage Stations

Looking at the IAH to the right, heading to east before turning back


Coming home

Walking out from the plane then I headed to baggage claim to pick up my bags. I had to wait for a while among with other passengers. Mine finally came out so I picked them up and I exited from the building to get a ride to the parking. My car was found okay but may need to get washed soon. Drove out from the lot and headed home. I did not feel like cooking tonight so I went to Panda Express to get dinner for tonight around 8:45pm, come home at 9:00pm. Called my dad to let him know that I arrived safe, went to bed around 11:00pm.


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