The Return Home from Japan pt 1

09/09/2014 13:55

What a sad sad day it was to return home.  Boo! Oh well, I hope to be returning soon and this time staying much longer.

I should say that I forgot to mention one annoying fact in the last post.  We came back to our hotel around 2pm to rest and wait for the sun to set so we could explore Osaka at night.  Sounds harmless.  However, house keepping was taking their sweet old time in cleaning the room.  In the US, the cleaning ladies will just clean around you, in Japan, it is extremely rude to do so.  As a result, we had to wait about an hour before we could enter the room.  Us sicklies were not looking forward to sitting on the hotel hallway floor while we waited to go into our room.  It was annoying.  They weren't even at our room yet.  That was what made the entire thing even more annoying!  They had a sign that said cleaning in progress, when they were really in the hotel room 5 doors down from us.  Why couldn't we go in and put the do not disturb sign on the door so they could skip us?

Anyway, I studied a map in order to save time, because I was not going to take the subway back to the station we needed to get to to ride the Shinkansen the next day.  I found a train station on the map and tried and failed several times to get my GPS to locate exactly where the station was.  It took almost the entire hour for me to figure it out, but it was worth spending that hour frustrated.  

I had spent the previous night skillfully packing our belongings.  Even though we did not purchase many items, the little things we did buy added much space.  Especially since we had packed our bags pretty full before leaving for Japan.  It took about an hour to get everything packed and ready to go.  All we needed to do was pack the things we were using for the morning and be on our way.   

That morning we were both sniffling and had head aches.  We were full on sick at this point.  If we were questioning whether we had a cold before, we knew that we had it then!  We got food that resembled healthy and had plenty of ornage juice.  We also purchased food for the shinkansen so as not to make the mistake of spending so much again.  

We checked out of our hotel and headed out to the station.  I wanted to leave about 30 minutes early so that it would give me extra time to figure out where in the heck I was going.  We must have looked stupid wondering around with our bags on the street, stairing at a phone screen.  The GPS led us to a wall, and judging by all the construction signs around the area, the GPS wasn't lying.  The station was more than likely behind that wall, but we couldn't get in.  I asked a police officer where the station entance was and he told me it was on the other side of the building.  The building was huge.  It took a long time to walk to the other side.  But there was the entrance.  This station had a parking garage and a bus transit station.  I had never seen that in Japan before.  I guess that station must have been a common commuting sight or something.

Anyway, Osaka is not as visitor friendly as Tokyo, and by that I mean there were hardly any signs in romaji.  It was all kanji.  Which I guess is ok, but it is much easier to skim a map when you don't have to pay attention to the 15 stroke characters.  Rather than waste time, I just found the train I needed to ride and asked which lane went in the direction I needed to go.  To my surprise, only the station hands knew where it was going.  You would think that the people who road it would know where it was going, but I guess they only paid attention to their own stops.  

Ok, first train down.  The transfer I thought would be easier, but nope. It was just as difficult.  I asked about 3 people which lane went where and nobody knew.  I finally just ran up to the conductor and asked him.  He chuckled by the fact no one else knew anything and told me the train he was driving was going to where I needed to go.  

Finally, we made it to Shin-Osaka, the station to ride the shinkansen.  This part was going to be easy.  I walked up to the ticket counter, asked for a ticket to Tokyo, she asked me to pick a time, then handed us our tickets.  Finding the train is the same as finding your flight so that was easy.  Then finally we could relax.  He had about a 3 hour journey ahead of us to Tokyo, and still another hour on the NEX to the airport.  However, I made sure to have packed some macha candy, and we still had our food for lunch.  So the trip was not all that bad.  

I barely remember the train ride back to Tokyo.  We both kind of slept our way through it.  JD had a cough at this point, and I was desparately trying to retain mine.  I kept drinking lots of water to sooth my throat.  

Once we arrived at Tokyo, we needed to navigate our way to the NEX stop.  I knew we needed a ticket of some kind, but I had read that there were also non researved seats that people with the JR pass could ride for free so I was not concerned about looking for a ticket counter.  We were surprising ahead of schedule.  After being lost in Osaka for so long, I was sure we would be behind by at least 30 minutes, but nope.  Some how we gained an hour.  Don't know how that happened.  After walking around for a long while, we located a sign for the NEX train.  But the sign was not where you would expect a sign to be.  It was on the floor.  No wonder it took so long to find it.  It was really helpful though.  They should have made it more clear to look down instead of up at ALL the other signs.  Not sure why they did that.  It was really weird, but amusing at the same time. 

We find the train we needed, and it arrives in about 15 minutes.  We walked up and down the lane looking for a non researved seat car, but could find none.  I then paid more careful attention to what the japanese was saying on the arrival sign/tv thing and discovered that a train with non-researved seating would be arriving in the next couple of hours.  We didn't have a couple of hours.  With a huff, (and yes I actually huffed) we walked back to the center of Tokyo station (which is huge by the way) to the ticket counter to ask where I could buy a Narita Express train ticket.  The lady streams out a slew of phrases to which all I comprehended was: "~~~~Not here~~~~~NEX ticket~~~~other side~~~~Can buy."  Oh, that wasn't so bad.  No idea what all that other stuff was but who cares.  I thanked her and on the other side was a large red sign that said in English NEX tickets here.  (-_-)  This day was so dumb.  I get my ticket, the train arrives in 30 minutes so we had time to stand and wait for it.  Yes, I said stand.  It only took us 15 minutes to walk to the NEX stop lane (have I mentioned how huge Tokyo station is?).  When the train finally arrived and we could take our seats, you can only immagine that for our poor aching, sick bodies that the seats felt like clouds from heaven.  

This time, we reminiced on what our most memorable moments of the trip were and what we would have done differently and such.  I messaged my mom pictures of our journey to the airport.  The scenery was quickly breathtaking.  I think I miss the green the most.  I have not seen anything that even compares to the bright green of Japan in the US.  Absolutely beautiful.  

I had to repack the MiFi so that I could drop it off at the post office and ship it back to the company.  I didn't feel like being charged extra fees for returning it late, but I did not want to stop talking to my mom.  So, I just left it on inside the package.  It worked too.  I didn't read anywhere that the battery needed to be fully charged upon return, so I figured it was fine if the battery died inside that package.  I found it humorous.  

We get to the airport fine, check in our bags and recieved our boarding passes fine, and even went throught security fine.  Let me rephrase that, I went through security fine.  My husband, on the other hand, did not.  Because of his knee braces and lack of Japanese, he needed to be patted down.  I went over to try and help him with communication. JD was just making things worse by complaining the entire time so he needed to be frisked.  I did my best to contain my laughter.  

After that entire ordeal, we found our gate, got some last minute ice cream from a vending machine, then waited for our flight.  Not before looking at all the tax duty shops we could find.

Unfortunately, I have class.  So I will have to continue this story another time.

Thanks for reading!