Japan Trip 2016 - January


1/29 - 1/30 Coming Back to Japan

To the Airport (done)

Drove home from work around 4:30am to finish packing. I had to take out trash before I leave also. Getting tired as I was almost ready because I am up since 11:00am yesterday. I guess longer I wait, harder I am being awake so I left home at 5:40am after loading two heavy bags into my car. On the way to the airport, I was exhausted and hard to stay alert but have to maintained it until I park my car at the airport parking. Drove carefully with my tired eyes under dark, glad to know I made it okay when I get there at 6:15am. Gave car key to the driver so I can have it washed while I am gone. Get picked up by a van, chat with another passenger while we head to the terminal. I got dropped off at terminal E, then found out that actually I needed to head to terminal D to check in with ANA.

ANA counter, only opens from 7:15am...

I dragged my bags and arrived at ANA counter at 6:45am then found a sign says it will open at 7:15am, a 30 minutes wait. At least I do not need to drive anymore. They open the day with a bow, a typical Japanese custom. Since I was the first one in line, I got my ticket in 5 minutes and bags taken care of. I then walked to security screening and took an escalator up to the gate level. The sun was already up and the outside was bright. At the gate 7:30am, just saw the ANA plane landed and taxing toward the gate. While I wait, I began updating my friends on FB and other means. I am pretty tired so closing my eyes would be a bad mistake. Charged up my phone and waited for the time to pass.

To Tokyo: UA7937 (ANA NH173) IAH 10:15AM(CST) - NRT 3:15PM(JST)

My first time using ANA direct flight to Narita, the boarding began at 9:45am and I got on board at 9:50am. The seat was better than the United's and I guess I understand why Japanese people prefer ANA over UA. I waited for the doors to close then the plane left the gate at 10:30am. After taxing to runway 15L, it took off to south, crossing Sam Houston Toll way, then turning right to change the heading to north as it fly by west of the airport. The plane continue flying and flew by Dallas downtown around 11:20am (CST), then over Dallas Fort Worth Airport a few minutes later. The lunch was served around 12:15pm but later service had to halt because of turbulent. Reached over the Denver International Airport around 11:35pm(MST), as I was watching a movie "Martian" and finished it two hours later. The plane kept going and flew by Seattle around 3:00pm(CST) then I decided to go sleep. Flew near Anchorage, AK around 5:00pm(CST) but it was overcast. The cabin lights were turned on about 1 hour later when the plane was flying over west of Alaska.

Fell back sleep again but the lights came on at 12:45pm(JST) for the lunch prior to the arrival. The plane was flying north of Hokkaido Island. The passenger next to me is a college professor and wanted to see the ice on the sea. Flying over Monbetsu, Hokkaido at 1:40pm JST

Departing from Houston

DFW airport

Dallas Downtown

 

The plane approached from the north and I was hoping it will make a straight in landing but ended up heading east off to the ocean, made several turns around before coming back to the shore. The plane broke the cloud line and now I can see the familiar sceneries like farm land, golf course and hotels then the landing strip. The airplane finally landed at 3:35pm then taxied for a while and parked at the spot at 3:40pm. After a 5 minute wait, I got out from the plane, I walked on a hallway to immigration, passing international connection area then quarantine area. I lined up and get my passport stamped at immigration and went downstairs for my bags. It took a while for the bags to come out but got them alright.

Moving to Ueno, Dinner with Friends

I picked up my bags and proceeded to the customs; another no check entry. I exited from the door at 4:15pm and dragged my bags to Yamato Transport counter to ship one of them to my home. Paid the money and walked back to the ticketing counter for trains at 4:22pm to buy boarding ticket, met a lady from Denmark waiting for her husband to get the money exchanged. They will stay for 1 week in Tokyo and Kyoto, before heading to Philippine. I got a ticket to Skyliner and took my bags down to the station.

Skyliner 36 at Narita Airport Terminal 1 Station

At platform at 4:30pm, getting on the train 5 minutes before departure. The Skyliner 36 left the station on time, stop at terminal 2 before making a run under cloudy sky toward Ueno. Arrived on time. Walked out from the station and began walking in Ueno. It was chilly and felt cold. Check in at the hotel at 5:30pm, get changed and walked out from the hotel to catch a train for the dinner.

Caught train leaving Ueno station at 5:53pm, and arrived at Gotemba station at 6:20pm. Began walking to Uokin, had party until 8:30pm then head out for the second round. Until 10:30pm. Getting on the train back to Ueno. Walked back to the hotel. Going to sleep before 1:00am. The heater seems not working yet. I will be freezing tonight...

1/31 Morning Run, Coming back to Nagoya

Kokyo Run, Tea with my friend

I woke up at 3:00am and pulled muscle on left calf. I must have drunk too much and did not take enough water. The good thing is that the air conditioning in the room is now working so I won't be freezing. I fell back sleep and up at 6:00am again. Stretched my body and get ready for running. I walked out from the hotel and took a train to Tokyo station.

Once arriving at Kokyo, I started my run at 7:30am. I should have brought my gloves because it was a bit chilly without them. While making a lap, I saw people running, and also a group of people on bikes. Made one lap and came back to hotel at 8:30am. I took a hot shower and packed bags for returning trip to Nagoya. Checked out from hotel at 9:50am, walking under sunny sky and it is getting warmer. Get on local train at 10:03am to Ikebukuro station. Meeting my friend and chat until 11:15am at cafe. It's hard to believe our friendship is going for more than 20 years.

Back in Nagoya (done)

After saying goodbye to my friend, I bought a ticket to Nagoya at Midorino Madoguchi vending machine then got on a local train at 11:43am to Tokyo station, and switching to Shinkansen train after arriving. As I was taking elevator up to the platform, the doors for the train leaving at 12:10pm are closed. The next one is 20 minutes later so I went back to the ground floor, bought my lunch and waited for the next one. Nozomi 33 left Tokyo at 12:30pm, ate lunch on the way to Nagoya and watched the outside as it speeding towards west. The weather overall was good but near Mt. Fuji was not so I did not get to see the mountain this time, the train passed Hamanako Lake then later began to slowdown around 1:55pm as it passes Mikawa Anjo station. Arrived at Nagoya station at 2:12pm, walked down the hallway and bought ticket for tomorrow's trip at ticketing counter. Reactivated my Manaca, came down at subway platform at 2:33pm to get on a train to Hoshigaoka station. Took a bus leaving at 3:20pm and at home by 3:45pm.

I settled myself then had an interview by an insurance company around 4:00pm for about 30 minutes before joining tea upstairs with my dad and brother's family. Stepped out for a quick chat with a grandpa's friend around 6:00pm before the dinner. I needed to unpack my bags after that and took a shower around 10:00pm. Went to bed by midnight.

2/1 Kanazawa Trip Day 1

Going to Kanazawa: Shirasagi #1 7:50am Nagoya - Kanazawa 10:49am

Woke up at 3:00am, maybe the room was too cold to stay sleep, but I stayed in the bed until 5:00am. At 40F outside, stretched my body and get ready for the day. Left home at 6:15am, under hazy dark sky which I could see the moon near the top. Got on the bus leaving at nearby stop at 6:22am, which is the first one and my dad used to ride while he was working for a company. The bus carried a decent amount of passengers to Hoshigaoka terminal which arrived at 6:35am I hurried down to the platform and took a subway train leaving at 6:38am which arrived at Nagoya station at 7:00am. Since I already bought the ticket yesterday, I walked straight to the gate and proceeded to the platform where no waiting room available. I watch people starting their days by waiting in line. My train came in around ? and began cleaning before it was ready. I got on the train at 7:48am and took a seat.

Shirasagi 1 left Nagoya at 7:50am, proceeded on westward stopping at Gifu and other places on the way. It made a stop at Maibara at 8:50am, and the direction of travel to be reversed from here so the all the seats were turned. While waiting for the departure, I watched outside where is raining... The train departed from Maibara, and began heading up north toward Kanazawa. The scenery for a while as farm field then more mountain area. When the train passed thru a tunnel at 9:37am, a snow covered field came into my eyes. The train moved on rather mountain area then later a flat plain. There are many chemical plants by the track, and I can see structures of running pipes and tanks. It also swang by Komatsu, the name famous for construction machine brand.

Maibara 8:59, Suruga 9:27, Takeu 9:47, Sabae 9:53, Fukui 10:00am Ariwara Onsen 10:12, Kaga Onsen 10:23, Kobatsu 10:32am, Kanazawa 10:49am

セーレン、越前ポリマー。鯖江北 カンボウプラス、 加賀温泉先 帝人

As the train near the Kanazawa, I get ready. It's about ?

Sightseeing at Kanazawa (Day 1)

The train arrived at Kanagawa station on time, and I got out from the car under covered dorm in chilly air. I guess today is cloudy and may have a chance of snow. Walked out the gate and put my travel bag in a coin locker. Checked out at the visitor center before walking out from the station. There is a big gate at east exit which look so Japanese themed. Began walking toward fish market. Looking up the map at Kanazawa Castle, Entered a Nagaya. T

There are two more simular districts and I decided to go to the east one. Walking back toward the market under chilly air, then turned right at corner continued walking and arrived at East tea House District(4:30pm), There was a house with a volunteer so I get to know about the culture and history of Kanazawa, about the castle, 

Dinner at the market, check in at Hotel

I walked back to the market area while the air is getting colder and sky was getting darker. At the market, many restaurants were already closed. So I ate another bowl at Inoya (井の弥, http://ohmicho-inoya.com/ ) at (5:40pm).

 When I walked out from the store the fish stores are done closing and empty as I walked out. Walked back under pitch black sky to Kanazawa Station(6:20pm). I pulled my bags out from the locker and walked to the hotel I made reservation.

 

Checked in at the hotel, finally.

Checked in at the hotel at 6:30pm, relaxed, went to upstairs for a hot bath. I felt so good being in a big tab. Because it's been so long since the last time I get to do this. I walked back to the room, connected PC to the net and relaxed at the bed but fell asleep by mistake. I woke up around 10:00pm, brush teeth and went to bed again for the night.

2/2 Kanazawa Trip Day 2

Sightseeing at Kanazawa (Day 2)

Woke up at 5:30am, Stretched my body and went upstairs to use spa at 6:30am. It was a good start and I needed. After coming back to the room, began packing my belongings prior to the check out. I walked out from the hotel at 7:30am to Kanazawa station. It was a bit cold and might see some snow in the afternoon. I saw many people at bus terminal waiting for their buses in this cold. I entered the station building, and dropped off my bag again at a coin locker. Used admission ticket to check out the bullet train

Walked toward the market and enjoyed the morning view Castle

Made a stop at Takamine House. It was a house where the father of Jokichi Takamine (A chemist, also )lived. It was moved here for preservation.

Walked to Kanazawa Castle where not many people around in the morning, so it was good time to take pictures but soon I walked out through a gate to Kenrokuen park. I walked around to take pictures, plum trees

Today the 21st Century Museum will be open at 10:00am? so I walked to the museum and waited . Paid 360 Yen. I only come here for the pool so I walked straight to the . I then walked back to the market area, and decided to eat lunch with not much expense because I cannot keep eating bowls costing me 3,000-4,000Yens all the time. I found a place selling noodles, maybe a good choice

Had udon for lunch (百万石うどん http://100mangoku-udon-ohmicho.amsstudio.jp/), there was a three ladies coming in together and they are sisters and for their mother's funeral

Walked back to the station, get my bags out of the locker and passed the gate to upstair platform, it's about time...

Coin locker 300Yen x2

Coming back to Nagoya, meeting with friends

I walked up to the platform and waited for the express train, Shirasagi #8, to arrive at Kanazawa station. The train came on time and I took my seat at non-reserved car at 11:35am. I am glad that both ways I travelled in non-congested condition. The train waited for another express train, Thunderbird to come in for the connection, The train left Kanazawa at 11:48am, so called my friend to check on his schedule, and we decided to meet at Nagoya at 3:00pm. The weather toward Nagoya was not that bad. Saw a It was cloudy at first but by the time when the train arrive at Maibara at 3:44pm for the switch, it was sunny. Now the train changed direction of travel and began head east. I enjoyed the view while travelling near Mt. Ibuki, and Sekigahara area. The train made a safe trip and arrived at Nagoya on time at 2:49pm.

After getting off from the train, I walked out from JR Nagoya station and met with my friend from high school. We decided to eat at Saiseria and chat for about 1 hour. I left Nagoya and got off at Sakae to buy formal suits. It took about 1 hour to pick two, then getting back on a subway which just arrived as I walked down to the platform. Arriving at the train station near my home, and got on a bus leaving at 5:50pm At home.

2/3 Kobe Visit

In the morning, giving up on trail walk...

I woke up at 5:30am as usual, did not think about going to Kobe from the morning because I realized that I may be too busy today to finish my preparations for tomorrow. I was hoping to go up Mt. Rokko but I guess I have to do what I need to do right now. My room was not that warm but enough for me to work on the materials.

Stepped out around 10:30am to post office to ship out a magazine and chocolate to a friend in Akashi area. Did grocery shopping until noon and come home to have lunch.

Heading to Akashi

Before I leave home I made my bed because it will be very late when I come back, and probably drunk. Leaving home after 3:00pm and catch a bus to nearby subway station. The bus moved quite smooth so I ended up getting on one train ahead of what I intended. The subway moved with no issue either so arriving at Nagoya station before 4:00pm. Getting off the train, walked passed the gate and bought a round trip ticket to Akashi for 13820 Yen. When I went up to the platform, the next train was Hikari 475, departing at 4:11pm. I remember using this train many, many times when I was The train was not so packed and I was able to find a seat on window side. I watched the outside as the train travelled west ward.. The train made a stop at Kyoto, then I got off at Shin-Osaka station at 5:02pm. I walked to

3:56pm at

Took a bullet train from Nagoya, it came in on time and seats were fairly available. I

17:11 - 18:04 Special Rapid

Dinner, Returning to Nagoya

After arriving at Akashi station, I walked around the shopping area to kill time because the outside is already dark and not much to see except the south side which the building I knew was gone but a new one was coming up. I bought some octopus crackers for the folks in the U.S. I then walked to the restaurant on time at 6:30pm. My friends weren't there but soon joined. It was fun eating dinner with my former coworkers, fun time catching up with them. It's been 5 years since I met and hoped the friendship will last forever.

After the dinner, we all walked back to Akashi station, and I left there at 9:21pm on a Special Rapid train to Shin-Osaka. I was pretty sleepy, maybe the alcohol plays some roles, too. Looking out the window to see the lights along the track flying by. Arriving at Shin Osaka station at 10:07pm, and I have about 30 minutes before the last train to Nagoya comes in. I thought about waiting at the platform but it was a little too chilly to standing there. I felt so tired and I drink tea but no help. I thought about Managed to take a seat at the last bullet train, Nozomi 98 and it left Shin Osaka at 10:30pm. I closed my eyes but tried to keep awake. Arriving Nagoya at 11:33pm.

After coming back to Nagoya station, I walked toward subways station and just missed a train. I should have run so I could have made it.  took a train back to Hoshigaoka. Since there is no more bus service today, caught a taxi and rode it to the home. Paid 1,010 Yen. Going to bed after midnight.

2/4 Relax in Nagoya Day 1

Woke up at 5:30am, 0C at outside but sunny. Had breakfast with my brother's family, then went out for running in the morning around a lake. I come home and took shower afterward then began my day by working on my job search related items. I stepped out before noon to buy groceries at nearby convenience store and made sandwiches for lunch. I had a couple of interviews in the afternoon with recruiting agents. I then continue work on my resume and other related items. Stepped out in the evening to eyeglasswear store and get myself checked out. It took only 1 hour to get it done and I can pick up my pair tomorrow. Stopped by at grocery store and  walked back home. Relaxed a home for the day. Going to bed around 11:00pm.

2/5 Relax in Nagoya Day 2

Woke up at 5:30am, stretched my body and get ready for the day. It was below freezing in the morning. Had breakfast with my brother and get ready for the day.

Visiting relatives

I left home around 10:30am with one of my carry case to a store nearby sfor shipping to the airport for Sunday pick up. I paid fee then walk to a bus stop to take a bus leaving around 10:50am. While I was waiting, an elderly lady on a wheelchair joined the line. It is a Japanese law that the driver has to secure the wheelchair to a designated location inside the bus and all process takes near 5 minutes. While other people patiently waiting, there was a guy began mumbling that slow, stupid, retarted, so I cut in and made him stop. The bus took us to the subway station. I took a subway train leaving Hoshigaoka station at 11:15am, getting off at Imaike station at 11:24am and changed to another train on Sakuradori line. While I was walking the hallway for the connection, my left leg began bothering me so I had pay extra attention. The train came and it departed at 11:30am, another 20 minutes ride to the destination. Walked up to the ground level and began walking outside under nice sunny weather although the air of winter still lingers. While walking to my uncle's house, I have seen a couple of buildings shutout for renovation, and many houses were replaced with brand new ones.

I greeted my uncle and aunt and get some updates in the area, as well as about my cusions over lunch. I stayed until 3:00pm then walked back to the subway station. I took a train back to Imaike station then headed to Sakae station. I bought a train ticket to Tokyo at discount ticket place (9,990Yen, compare to regular price of 10,360Yen), and some books I wanted to buy before I leave Japan. Come back to Hoshigaoka, took a bus which can take me near the eyeglass store so I can pick up the one I ordered. Come home, then cleaned my dad's room until 7:00pm. I did the kitchen, and living, as well as checking the contents inside the refrigerator. I found out that almost all the seasonings were expired so I packed them into bags but did not remove from the fridge since my dad might want to save them. Had dinner with my brother's family around 7:00pm. My niece and nephew watching Yokai Watch and Doraemon afterward. I went to bed around midnight.

2/6 Moving to Tokyo

Nozomi 222: 11:42AM (Nagoya) - 1:23PM (Tokyo)

Woke up at 5:30am, another cold morning but the weather was nice. I cleaned my room after breakfast and finished packing. I left home around 10:30am, getting on a bus and changed to a subway which took me to Nagoya station. Walking up to the ground level, used the ticket I bought yesterday and went up to the platform level for the bullet train. I bought my lunch before getting on Nozomi 222, leaving Nagoya at 11:42am. The train left the station on time and began my way back to Tokyo. I ate lunch as the train move toward the destination. I could see Mt. Fuji better today than on the way I was coming back earlier in the trip. The train arrived at Tokyo station at 1:23pm on time.

Meeting with my friend. Toranomon Visit

I took Yamanote Line train to Ueno station and used a coin locker to store my bags until I can check in at the hotel for the night. I then bought an area ticket for ? Yen and took a Yamanote line train to Shibuya station for 3:00pm appointment with my friend. Shibuya area is under a large scale renovations which involving of relocation of several train stations for consolidation. The whole area is doing some construction work and looked crazy busy. Met my friend but with free hand. We ended up going to Toranomon area via subway to go buy snacks which he promised to the other in Houston. We also walked to Mori-Toranomon Hills building to visit the figure looked like a famous Japanese cartoon character.

虎ノ門ヒルズ http://toranomonhills.com/ja/

We took apart from here on . I took a subway to Shinbashi station then took JR line to Ueno station. I took out the bags from the locker, where I saw a station employee opening a locker with a guy facing other way, explaining what he has inside. This guy must have forgotten the key somewhere. Walked a short distance and checked in at the hotel, first I was assigned to a smoking room, although I reserved a non-smoking room, they gave me one with smoking so I had to protest for a while. and finally got a non-smoking room around 6:00pm. I relaxed at the room, waiting for my friend to call while updating my website. Stepped out around 9:00pm to meet up with my friend at Ueno station, only 10 minutes walk. Had dinner with him at Ameyoko area. Come back to the hotel before the secure hours and going to bed by 11:30pm. I will return to the U.S. tomorrow.

2/7 Returning to the U.S.

In the morning (done)

Woke up at 5:30am, stayed in bed until 6:00am, stretched my muscles and took shower. I went outside to get something to eat in the morning then worked on my webpage until 9:00am then left the hotel. I bought a train ticket to Narita at Keisei Ueno station for the one leaving at 2:00pm, helped a couple of foreign people who just needed to get to the airport with their snowboard with less expensive option. I put my bags in a locker at Keisei Ueno station and took JR train south to Shinbashi station. After getting off, I was not quite sure where I should go then decided to take a walk to Tokyo station by walking thru a street in Ginza. Many Chinese people walking around from early in the morning, because of their new year holiday. While I was waiting for a signal to change at an intersection, I felt someone stood next to me then a book showing a map came into my view. They needed a help on directions. I was able to help this year. I hope they have fun today. It was pretty hard to see map written Chinese. I was watching many people who are shopping, they must have come from where colder than Tokyo by looking at their dawn jacket. Several TV crews at the site, I bet they are trying to interview those tourists. Arrived at Tokyo station, walking into the underground shopping mall area, found a Softbank store and tried to communicate with Pepper Kun but not enough time to get to know him.

Lunch with Friends, Heading to the airport.

I stepped out to the west side of the Tokyo station, the building my friend told me was at just a short walk. Took an elevator to the 11th floor and met with my friends. We had a good chat, and the food was great, too. I left around 1:00pm and walked back to Tokyo station, took a Yamanote Line train to Ueno then walked to Keisei train Station. I reclaimed my belongings from the locker and walked down to the platform. The train was being cleaned as I got there, they had a free wifi so no problem waiting. Took a seat on the Skyliner #33 which departed at 2:00pm.

The train left the station on time, and moved toward the airport. When the train got out from underground, it was under sunny, clear sky with warmth of a spring day, almost feel like I want to take a nap. The train moved smoothly, gradually changing the scenery from populated to farmland and finally going underground. Arrived at the Airport Terminal around 2:43pm.

Back to U.S.: UA33 NRT 5:50PM(JST) - LAX 10:50AM(PST)

After getting off the train, I took escalators up to the ticketing floor, picked up my bag at Yamato Transport store and repack my items for the trip back to the U.S. and walked to the check in counter for United Airlines. The kiosk was updated and now I can enter information by myself, including my address in the U.S. Received ticket and checked my bags. I still have time so I walked around and used internet until 3:15

Passed security and walked down to the passport control. Stopped by at several duty free stores but there weren't many things I want to buy, and the line of people at cashier was long so I gave up. Walked to the gate at 4:30pm and waited for the .

Getting on board at ?

Plane departed a bit early and took off to north. The plane climbed then turned to right toward east bound. I watch Ashby while eating dinner. The movie is fiction and about kind relationship of former CIA agent with neighbor teenager.

Fell sleep after that and woke up when the plane is about 1.5 hours out of Los Angeles. The plane reached shore and flew toward LAX, plane approached from northeast and turned right for the base then final. It was a bit different approach because the plane kept lowering the altitude during the approach, probably the next Gen type fuel saving one. Landed at ? and taxied to the gate. The weather in Los Angeles is sunny, and it's nice to be back in warm 60 degrees outside. Getting off the plane about five minutes after. Walked to the immigration and everybody here is directed to the 40 units of automated machine. It did not work for me so I had to go through the regular process. It was well after everybody finished. After grabbing my bags, approached the customs. The guy asked me what food I carry, so I told them dried fish, the guy then asked any food which are not dried? It was

Give my bags to an agent for transfer.

Back to Houston: UA1963 LAX (1:00PM PST) - IAH (6:11PM CST)

Since I was not familiar with the airport connection here, It took a while to move to the terminal where United has the gates for domestic flights. They got me a Pre-check ticket so I just needed to go through in a quick line. Walked up to Gate 74. The flight is expected to be full so it will be a busy one. The boarding process began and my group was 1, walked cross the check point and took my seat around 12:25pm, updating my webpage as I wait for the plane to be filled with passengers.

The plane took off to west then made left turn, flew along the coast until it changed the heading to east toward Houston., I saw

It was slightly shaky but still get there

Descending to start around 5:10pm local time. passing by San Anotnio at 5:15pm and changed the course. While the plane flew to east, I can see I-10 and Gallaria area and downtown. passing by the Houston Canal then turned left to the final approach. Landed at ? on runway 27. I am glad I am back at home.

To Home

I walked to baggage claim, I waited for a while for my bags to come out but it was fairly quick and I was out to catch a shuttle van to the parking. I got dropped off by my car which was washed and waxed. On the way home, it was a bit hard to match with the surrounding traffic because I was tired. It was a bit weird feeling to be on the other side of the road.


Cost

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