Apr 19, 2011

We Made It!

Had been traveling for at least 24 hours, door-to-door, but we finally made it to Kyoto!  S and i met at LAX airport and checked in our bags and got our boarding passes before getting some lunch.  Then we got in line for check-in and were a little worried we weren't going to make it through because the line was loooooooong, with only 2 people managing it.  Thankfully some workers from Singapore Airlines were walking the line, holding up Singapore signs, and taking people who were flying their airline up to the front of the line, so we got to the gate just in time! 
The planes were just as nice as i remember, maybe even nicer this time.  The brought out some hot towels to everyone, snacks, drinks, then the first meal about an hour into the flight.  I had requested a vegan meal instead of a vegetarian meal, just because.  It was still really good.
Usually i can sleep for a few hours of the 11-hour flight across the Pacific, but for some reason this time i slept a grand total of maybe 7 minutes.  I only got 2.5 hours of sleep Sunday, the night before, so i thought i'd be able to sleep pretty good.  I did drift off once but woke up a few minutes later and just didn't feel tired enough to sleep!  Luckily they have the nifty entertainment centers on the back of each seat with dozens of movies and TV shows, tons and tons of music, and even some language programs so S and i learned some Korean.  I can only remember how to count though, and a few random words like 'chicken'.

Veggie-dog at the airport!  Had guacamole, tomatoes, ketchup, and a little mustard and relish

Enjoying our last American meal!

Ready for takeoff!  (Doing our bad-ass/the forbidden ducky-face)

Eevee sitting in the cup-holder on the back of the seat.

My first meal on the plane, delicious!

S's meal

Dessert- Ben & Jerry's cookie dough, and some green tea

We landed, finally, and had to figure out the mess of customs and whatnot.  It seemed that every time we went up to a counter we had to go back and fill out some form or other.  Everyone was really nice though, and helpful, and spoke to us in Japanese for the most part, or a bastardization of the two combined, which is funny to hear.  Got through finally and then went to go get our money exchanged, which was pretty depressing since the dollar is worth shit (yes, even compared to the yen, which surprised me considering..) so, yeah.  Thanks shitty exchange rate!
Did a bit of running around trying to find out which train to take/where to buy train tickets.  Got it figured out and got on the train for a nice 1+ hour right to Tokyo Station, then from there walked a few blocks to hop on the Highway Bus for a nearly 8-hour ride to Kyoto!  Was finally able to sleep for the most part.  Why didn't we just fly in to Kansai airport and skip that ridiculously long bus ride?  Cuz we're poor, and plane tickets to Kansai were at least a couple hundred more than those to Tokyo.  The bus from Tokyo to Kyoto was only about $50.  Why didn't we just stay in Tokyo since we're planning on staying there for a while anyway?  Well, cuz J was supposed to come on this trip with us but when he go the job offer he had to opt out of the trip with us.  :(  And the plan was to come to Kyoto first so we could visit people here then go to Tokyo for a while so J could take his plane back from there (he was only gonna stay 2.5 weeks..)  Yeah, so that's why we took such a miserably long trip all at once..

 On the train from the airport to Tokyo

Inside of the bus

Willer Express

S, being a creepy weird nun or something with the little head rest cover.

So, we finally got here!  Decided to take a cab from Kyoto Station to the guesthouse since we couldn't find the bus stop and decided it wouldn't be that fun to try to haul our bags on the bus.  Finding places in Japan is a bitch, but luckily the cab drivers are all super nice and our guy took care of us and called the place to get directions (since he couldn't find out where it was from our address and map), walked down the little alley-road to show us just where it was, and even helped us carry our suitcases up the stairs (and he was pretty old, i felt bad for him, but he was quite cheery the whole time)!
Got checked in.  Our room is small (about 4.5-tatami), but cute and cozy.  We have a pretty nice view (i.e. not staring at the side of a concrete building) and could actually hop out onto the roof just below our window if we wanted to!

 Our cab driver, calling the people at our guesthouse for directions

Our little room, from the doorway, with our futon stacked up in the back

Standing where our futon are, looking at the nice big storage cabinet.  I got my suitcase in there now.
View from our window!

Now, i know a lot of you (talking to my family) have been worried about me being over here with the current situation, so here's a map that should (hopefully) put you at ease.

There are a couple red dots with the names of cities boxed in red.  That's where we will be (we're in Kyoto now, will go to Tokyo for a couple weeks, then to Osaka for the rest of the 2 months).  The city circled in red up north is where the power plants are.  People within 20km have been evacuated, and within 30km they've been recommended to stay inside.  The closest i'll be to the area is Tokyo, which is at least 200km away.  I know the whole situation is a very serious issue, but (most of) those in immediate danger  have been evacuated, and again, i'll be far far away from it.

Well, it's been ages since i've had a shower, and i'm covered in body-grease and can smell my own stink, so i'm off to get a shower now!  There will be plenty more stories and pictures to come for sure.


Scribbles said...

Glad you guys got there safe! And wow, that is quite a trip. I must say, you are brave for taking a night bus right after that plane ride. Those things are not all that comfortable! :(

But that's totally awesome you are finally in Japan. I'm insanely jealous! I hope to come back and visit you guys soon :)


-phx- said...

Thanks, Jillian! I hope you get to come back too so we can all hang out! :D

Chelsea Lura said...

I had no idea you were going to blog about your trip!? I am totally going to be a creeper and check up on you. I hope to be as brave as you one day to just pick and go to Japan for a job. Good luck!

-phx- said...

Haha, i love blogging, so of course i have to blog about this trip! Feel free to creep away! :D
You totally should, someday. It doesn't take bravery, just a lot of money-saving in preparation, lol.

Judith said...

Wow what a trip. But amazing that you're finally there. Very jealous! The view from your window is just lovely.

-phx- said...

I quite enjoy the view :) If only the weather were a bit warmer so i could leave the window open! The windows are fogged-glass so we can't see out of them..

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