Flight to Japan
My dad and I started out early in the morning with way too much stuff: two over-sized luggage for check-in, two mid-size luggage for check-in, and two back packs.
What is in the check-in luggage, you may ask? Well, they are filled with gifts! Christmas decorations, Christmas wrapping paper, a wonderful assortment of teas, See's Scotch kisses, festive wrapping paper, two large packs of corn tortillas, corn tortilla baking pan, a bottle of tequila, pistachio nuts, various books and magazines, four body lotions, three Michael Kohrs bags, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.
We check in smoothly, and directed by the oh-so-wonderful TSA to a different line. The lines are all backed up, and they are diverting us to another TSA line. We wait. And wait.
The TSA finally opens the gate and there is a K-9 unit sniffing at all of the travelers. He is a cute brown bloodhound. A lady traveler ahead of me switches her luggage from her left hand to the right hand, as if avoiding the dog on her left. the K-9 unit sees this, and makes eye contact with the lady. The lady recognizes this and switches her bags back to the dog side in order to give him a sniff.
We are finally able to relax and have some food near our gate. I always start my vacations with an alcoholic drink, This vacation is no different, and I start with Jameson straight.
My dad and I head to the gate, and we fist bump.
"Let's have fun!" I tell my dad.
"OK!" he replies firmly.
It is the first time in over ten years for him to travel to Japan. His high school is having a 100 Year Anniversary, and his high school class is having their 50th Reunion. There really is no other opportunity like this trip to see all of his childhood friends. At first my dad was hesitant to go, but I told him I would accompany him on the trip and so he agreed to go on the trip.
"You should keep your passport out," I tell him.
"Why? They are already checked at the TSA check point."
"Ok, you do what you want, but you'll want to have it out."
"May I see your passport and ticket, sir?" The airline employee asks. I had her both my ticket and passport. My dad scrambles to open his backpack and pulls out his passport.
We board the plane and play musical chairs. My dad talks to the flight attendant, and the flight attendant allows me to sit across from the aisle from him. My original seat was a few rows back across the aisle from him. It turns out that my dad told the flight attendant that he is sick and he needs me by his side.
I find this fact out later when she talks to me during my in-flight stretches. She talks to me asking if my dad is ok, and if there is anything he needs to please let the attendants know. I give her a puzzled look.
"Should I speak to you in English?" she asks me politely.
"No, Japanese is fine," I reply. "I am a bit confused on why he would need anything though?"
She replies, "Well, he said he was sick and needs you close by."
I laugh. "Oh, no... I think that is a white lie. He's healthy as a bull. He wanted me to sit next to him so he said that. Please don't mind him. I will slap him later."
She chuckled a bit under her breath, and says, "Well, if you do need anything, please let usk now." She bows politely and walks away.
I watch Tomrrowland on the flight, and a few episodes of a Japanese drama/thriller series called Galileo. Then, I crack open my new book, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculair Children by Ransom Riggs.
The book opens with a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem, and I was emersed into the novel immediately. I blasted through the whole novel by the end of the flgiht. What a riveting, exciting and fantastic read! Peculiar children with "gifts" from all around the world gathering together a la X-Men, World War II history, a Hollowgast (no doubt a play on words for Holocaust), and time slips from the present to the past, with great character development. The character-driven novel develops from chapter from chapter, with accompanying photographs relevant to the novel. Apparently, these are photographs Riggs found through swap meets, flea markets and yard sales. He collected them over the years and wrote this novel to accompany the photographs.
We get to our destination of Narita in 11.5 hours. There was a lot of turbulence on the flight, but nothing to deter me from my book.
Once we arrive, we get through customs without any hassle. We get our dollars exchanged for Yen, got our JR Rail Passes, and took a limousine bus to our hotel in Shinagawa. Here, we are greeted by our beloved Auntie Makiko (my mom's younger sister.)
We lead her up to our room and start unpacking our luggage. The suitcases are full of omiyage (gifts) to her and all of our other family members. She is astonished and horrified of all the omiyage we bring to Japan.
She takes us out across the street to a yakitori (skewers) restaurant. We are treated a wide assortment of yakitori and we rant about our travels, how much stuff our mom made us carry, and how Uncle Fred is doing after surgery on his left foot. My Auntie orders way too much food and we are stuffed beyond comprehension as more food arrives on our table. We leave some bits on the table as Auntie pays for us.
Once we part ways at the hotel, my dad and I go to our room, take a shower, and knock out on our beds.