Compared to the inaspicious start of the last trip to Japan (wherein we spent 5 hours at the airport before departing), this one started off fairly well. We arrived at the airport 2 hours before our flight departed, and it took 1 and a half hours to get through the various lines to our gate. We then boarded our plane and sat at the gate for an hour while some exciting nonsense about a sick passenger and removing baggage occured.
And then finally we took off.
For some reason this plane was rather hot, and for reasons lost to us had absolutely no fans too cool heated passengers. There was just flat plastic and the usual lights taunting us. Me and my mother overheated as we worked on our knitting. Knitting provided hours of frusteration. After 11 hours my mother had completed an inch of scarf, and I had knit the cuff and beginning of a sock before realizing it was too small, undoing the whole thing, and starting over.
I was used to the inflight movies being played on a continuous loop on the little TVs in front of us, but this time we got to choose and rewind. I watched the Constant Gardener, and then to feel better, watched Walk The Line several time. For some reason various scenes had been edited from it, for no reason I could understand. It wasn't like there was any graphic sex in that movie.
Tech Support meanwhile had pulled an all nighter for work the night before, and was delirious by the time we arrived in Japan. Actually, he was really holding up quite well after 36 hours and no sleep, but you could see the delirium in his eyes anyway.
We arrived in Narita, were litterally herded through customs and then had to check in for our domestic flight for Nagoya. This sort of sucked, but they made it relatively pain free. The check-in lady even jumped over her table and ran after us when we stoof around acting like confused Gaijin.
The flight to Nagoya was a blessed 1 hour long, and we all fell asleep (it was about 3AM LA time).
At the airport we met up with That Girl and her Fiance and Father. And were driven by her to our hotel, a quaint little thing by the ocean. My mother made an attempt to use the bathroom before abandoning it in fear of the strange buttons on the toilet, and then we left to get conveyor belt sushi (kaiten zushi) at a local place.
There we met up with The Fiance's family (hereafter to be called The In-Laws) who I have nothing in common with (hint, they are republicans from the midwest) but are fairly nice. Though I felt bad for them I was rather happy they did not like fish and happily helped myself to their share. I watched the Brother-In-Law eat only potato and fried shrimp, and the father eat only the cooked tuna part of a piece of sushi (leaving rice and flaccid seaweed behind) with some amusment. The sushi was fantastic, they don't know what they were missing.
We went back to the hotel and were shown around and made some plans. Tech Support collapsed onto a bed that could barely hold him (note the enigmatic Japan ER show on the TV behind him).
Me and That Girl showed my Mother not to fear the toilet, and that she could ignore the buttons and just use the handle to flush.
No, this is not a shot of Tech Support's butt.
The bathrooms in Japan, which generally DON'T have toilets, have always amused me. They are basically a giant shower/bath. That Girl says Japan is not interested in saving water, but I think the bathrooms harken to a day when they did. Even this small utilitatarian bathroom in our funny Inn is set up so you can shower OUTSIDE the tub (see that drain on the floor and the plastic tubs to sit on and pour water over yourself, you can't see the door designed to keep the room hermetically sealed, but it's there) and then, free of dirt and soap, get in the tub. In theory and still in home today, you would leave water in the tub so that the next person could heat it up and use it again (that's why you wash the soap off). The ryokans have tubs that are heated and it is very important that you not dip your filthy body into the bathtub and ruin it for the next people.
Anyway, we all collapsed at about 10:30 last night and I only woke up once in the night around 3am. I decided to get up at 6am and do a little blogging. It's a little chilly outside and we are supposed to walk by the beach and around That Girl's hometown today.
And I leave with proof we are in Japan: