October 5, 2012

LAX to NRT

Considering the majority of my first day was spent sitting on my ass, it was pretty eventful!

The day started with my cheeks in Caroline's car. She took the morning off work to make sure I really was leaving the country.

From there, my bum moved to a booth in the Tom Bradley food court where we spent an hour together before she sent me off through security. I'm pretty sure it took a great amount of self restraint to not yell "that guy's got a bomb!" in order to prevent me from leaving, but that didn't stop security at the gate from deciding my bags and person should be "randomly" screened. Let the racial discrimination begin...

The woman I sat next to very well may have been Julie Hagerty from Airplane. She was about the same age, spoke in a very loud whisper and denied every piece of food offered to her by the flight attendant, opting instead for pineapple juice. Much like Elaine, my flight companion was on her way to Japan as a missionionary. We didn't speak much after that.

I enjoyed two "Hollywood Classics" on the flight over: Out of Africa and The Matrix. The answer to the question you're undoubtedly asking is "yes, these two do make a killer double feature."

Below is a list of similarities between the films:




The 12 hour flight flew by pretty quickly. About 500mph quickly, get it?

When I arrived at Narita I had
to find the post office (sumimasen, yuubunkyoku wa doku deska). I had ordered a SIM card for my iPhone and a mobile WiFi device. It's amazing that you can sit in your skivvies in Encino, go online to order something, and it'll be waiting for you at a post office across the world.

The next order of business was getting my JR Rail Pass. Japan's train system may be the most efficient and elaborate in the world and the biggest line is the Japan Rail (JR). The pass I have lets me ride the rail and certain buses and ferries an unlimited amount, which means I can literally traverse the entire country as well as island hop.

My tooshie was then treated to a reserved seat on the Narita Express into Tokyo, followed by a change to a local line to Tsunashima (near Kelly's apartment). There was no reserved seat on this train, and if you've seen the video of Japanese people being shoved into a train car, that was more or less my experience + luggage.

Luckily, this little guy entertained me: 

If you're keeping count, that's planes and trains, so how about automobiles?

The final step of the trek from Kraftland to Kelly's apartment was the number 3 bus. My directions were to "take it for 10 minutes until you see a gas station on your right. Request a stop then walk up the road another 20 meters until you see a laundromat. My apartment is a white building across from that."

Sure enough, I spotted the glowing gas station, requested a stop and walked until I found a "white building with green trim." I found the hidden key, walked up to her apartment, and upon entering found these: 


Kelly arrived no more than 5 minutes after I did. Pretty incredible that my 16 hour journey brought me to the same place at the same time as Kelly's daily routine. 

The final two locations for my derriere were Kelly's dining room table, where I ate a home cooked meal of noodles and veggies, and Kelly's bed. Her roommate is currently in America, so Kelly has taken up in her room. 

I am feeling very blessed and somewhat jet lagged.