Thursday, December 30, 2010

Home for New Year's in Japan

If you have been following the news, then you might have heard about (and if on the East coast of the USA, perhaps even experienced firsthand) the first blizzard of 2010.

I have to say that it didn't seem too bad to me but I have been extremely lucky compared to most people in the same situation.

I try to go back to Japan for the New Year and so I had planned and bought tickets through IACE (much cheaper than via US outlets for the same tickets!) way back in October/November of this year.

My passport expired in September so I renewed that and now am good until 2020.

I packed, made reservations on the limo to JFK International and was all set to go when the storm decided to hit late afternoon on the day before my departure (Monday, December 27, 2010) but I remained optimistic since the limo service insisted that they would pick me up regardless of the weather and get me to JFK in time for my flight.

Long story short - I couldn't get out of the driveway at 4:00 AM Monday and in spite of Ed's best efforts, the car was not going anywhere - so I went back to bed.  The flight ended up not being cancelled but it was delayed  - for 12 hours!  Good thing I didn't go to JFK!!

Anyway, I rented a car and drove up the next morning at 4:00 AM after a relaxing snow-bound day at home.

I turned the car in, grabbed 4 bottles of coconut water and a package of Italian white wine taralli (for $40 -OMG!!) to take on the plane and then I pretty much had no further delays until after I boarded the plane at 10:30 AM EST.

Taralli Recipe from Martha Stewart (the ones I bought were definitely not as good!)

We had to wait on the tarmac for an extra hour or so for the ground crew to 'load the baggage' on the plane.

Once that was done, we were off into the clear blue sky.  The flight was fine - lunch, snack, dinner and four movies:

1.  Soup Opera (cute, odd, very Japanese film)

2.  Hatchobori no Shichinin (Hatchobori Seven is a very Japanese-y Eastwood-ish film with samurai)

3.  Salt (Angelina being Angelina...mad, bad and dangerous to know...)

4. Robin Hood (glad I didn't pay to see it...)

I had an aisle seat, great neighbor (a bilingual Japanese girl who HAD to have been raised in the valley based on her level of cuteness and SoCal accent)  and so the trip went by fine - my trip to Japan also started as soon as I boarded the JAL flight -no English was spoken for the entire flight and they assumed I was Japanese returning from a visit to the USA LOL.

We landed with no issue - on time - and I zipped through customs to the baggage claim area in about 10 minutes after disembarking.  I called Papa to let him know that I would be out as soon as I picked up my baggage.

After about 45 minutes later with only the same 3 or 4 pieces of luggage on the conveyor, we were quietly told that the luggage was not on the plane and had not arrived - furthermore; they had no idea where it was.

Well - shigata ga nai - I filled out the information to have them deliver the luggage when it did arrive and went out to meet the folks.

We grabbed a quick bite at a soba-ya (I had soba no goma daru, soba with sesame sauce) and then we were off on the JR Green Sha Express train home.

My brother Jun and his wife Ake met us at the station and then we stopped for a few snacks (as if Mama didn't have enough at home) before finally arriving home about 6:30 PM JST ( 4:30 AM EST).

After a few hours of more food, conversation and drinks - Ake and Jun left and Mama made up the futon for me to sleep on - she tried to get me to take their bedroom but I prefer the futon and I am also up earlier than either of them when I am here so...futon onegai shimasu!!

Tadaima!!  I have returned home!!  (^_^)

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