Tokyo, New York, Boston

chandra-in-japan-3.jpgI was really excited to get off of the plane in Tokyo because my legs were absolutely killing me.  It really wasn’t that long of a flight, but I was actually scared they were hurting so badly.  I didn’t have my boarding pass for my flight back to NY, so I asked a Al Nippon person where I could get one and she said I’d have to exit and come back in, which I was going to do anyways but I had the vodka which I had hoped the airline would be able to hold for me on this side of immigration.  It looked like that wasn’t going to happen so I was pretty sad that I was certainly going to lose my $14 bottle of vodka 🙁  I shouldn’t have checked both bags in Saigon.  Anyways, I follwed the signs towards customs and immigration and I handed in my questionnaire that they gave us on the plane.  There was a whole counter just taking the questionnaire before you could even procede to immigration.  The lady was concerned that I didn’t have an address in Japan so I just told her that I was spending the day and had a flight later.  I think that was true enough and it seemed to do the trick.  On the other side, I stood in the line and noticed that you had to go to some counter if you were staying <72 hours and needed some form? I’m not really sure, it was very unclear and I was already pretty close to the front of the line and there were dozens of people behind me.  Well, so I decided to lie to Japan.  I wrote my address at the Marriott Tokyo (there has to be one, right?) and walked up to the counter.  The man didnt really ask me any questions and in 2 minutes I had a nice new stamp, an actual sticker-stamp, and was IN Japan!  On to customs, I took a picture of the Welcome to Japan sign, was promptly yelled at, and then proceded to the counter and wasn’t even searched.  I walked outside of the terminal and just sat there for a little bit, as it was only something like 8:15am so I had plenty of time to do everything that I wanted to do.  There were shuttles pulling up and it was rainy, but I saw a small area with bamboo trees that looked like a perfect background for picture taking.  I stood in front of them and took a few pics of me in Japan and then headed back inside the airport.  I checked in at the Al Nippon counter and was told that I would have to pay extra to check the vodka, of course, and that extra fee would be 20,000 yen.  Hmm, I had some idea that some decimals had to be added in there, but wasn’t quite sure where…ah, Seinfeld!  Hm, so 50,000 yen is a few hundred dollars….ah, no way!!  So I walked around the airport for a little bit and tried to pawn off my vodka.  Ideally, someone would give me some yen, but I would certainly settle for someone being excited over free vodka.  NO takers.  Not a one!  I asked a british person, but he didn’t drink vodka and suggested I look for someone who looked Swedish.  Hm, well, I was having problems looking for someone who looked white, so after asking maybe 5 people, I ditched the vodka 🙁

I headed up to the 4th floor of the terminal to look for some Hello Kitty Pens to console myself and found…..literally, a Hello Kitty pen store.  After spending about 30k yen on pens (this ought to ease me back into US prices), I walked around to try and find the sushi place.  With luck, I found it and had delicious sushi at 9:30am.  I wouldn’t recommend eating sushi at this hour, but time was limited.  After that, I roamed the terminal, thought about looking for bread because I had heard back at the California 2 that Japan had great bread, but I really wasn’t finding anything.  While looking at the floor directory, I spotted Showers on the 3rd floor.  Very interesting.  I look the elevator down and learned that for 500Y I could take a shower in my own personal room, have a vanity and dressing station, and use the hair dryer!  Sold.  The place was really cool and modern and you just touched the doors with your palm to open them.  Good shower too, with shower gel and shampoo and conditioner provided.  After a nice shower, I got dressed, did hair and makeup, and felt about twice as good as I had prior to that.  I should have gone outside to take pictures now, but it was 10:15 and my flight was boarding at 10:30.  I went through security and immigration again and made my way to the gate.  By the way, you can totally get small bottles of liquid through any security without using that stupid ziplock bag which is such a scam.  I got purell, eye drops, and makeup through the US, Vietnam, and Japan without any bag whatsoever.  Good to know.  At the gate, I wandered around the shops and got a venti iced almond latte at Starbucks (I love you, starbucks) until I boarded pretty much last at 10:45am. This should be a quick -30min flight to NY.  On the plane, they fed us and I watched some tv but that was pretty boring.  I read a book, then watched that movie with Jim from the Office and Mandy Moore and Robin Williams, I forget the name.  I didn’t even finish it, it was wicked gay.  I tried my best to go to sleep, and I actually did for quite some time with the help of 2 lunesta.  Also, the seat next to me was empty so I moved the armrest and tried my best to streach out my legs.  I slept on and off for most of the flight with more help from 3 glasses of wine, and woke up periodically to play solitare on the gaming system.  I won like 8 games.  Btw, as an aside, people in Japan are SUPER polite.  Like, you think you know what polite is, and you think you know that Japan is polite, but you have no idea.  The way they even would hand me back my credit card was polite – they would use to hands as if they were handing me a Faberge egg or something.  It makes it very hard to complain about something, which is, I think, the reason I don’t have vodka in my freezer right now.  Haha, I’m not bitter or anything, I swear.

Soon enough, we were over Canada, north of Michigan and in no time were landing at Kennedy.  I flew off the plane and was nearly first in line to immigration, where I got my first US stamp in my passport ever (I don’t know how that happened) and moved on to baggage claim.  I turned on my phone (YAY cell phone) and Dave had kindly texted me the times of the next JetBlue flights to BOS.  If my luggage came, like, rightnow, I could make the 11:30 flight.  Of course, the bags took forever and I was texting back and forth with Dave letting me know how to get to the terminal so I’d have every possible chance of getting on the flight.  Finally my bags came and I made it through customs (only 2 guys working so there was a line), and then to terminal 6.  I nearly ran.  At the jblue counter, there were about 20-30 ppl ahead of me…boooo.  I was certainly not going to make the early flight 🙁  I checked in around 11:20 for the 2:10 flight and talked to Dave a while and then my mom about picking me up.  She better be there on time because I swear if I have to wait anymore I’m going to go postal  🙂  Kidding, I actually was in no rush to get back.  I went through security (again, no problem with the liquids) and was in dire need of food.  I was literally shaking.  I hit up this Boars Head Deli place and for the reasonable price of $10.40 I got a buffalo chicken (deli meat style) wrap and a fountain soda.  Welcome home.

I relaxed by the gate and charged my ipod until everyone with a ticket was on…then they sort of just called names for the 10 standby people who were there.  I overhead him saying that not everyone was going to make it on, so that was a little scary.  I was the 3rd name called and I was SO thankful.  On the plane, I recognized a guy from Brandeis I think, and he knew me too.  He even knew my name and I…didn’t so much know his.  Anyway, we talked until the plane took off (25 min late) about him going home to LI to see his dentist and about the class that we are in together, Disorders of Childhood.  I’m about 85% certain that the course requirements for undergrads looked something like this: 1) You must have taken developmental psychology 2)  You must be a junior or a senior 3) You must be from Long Island.  I think people from NJ were allowed to sign in on a case by case basis.  After 36 minutes, we landed in Boston and my new friend and I headed towards baggage claim.  His name is Ben, because I asked him finally, and he’s actually very nice.  Bri and my mom were just getting there so there were hugs and they helped me with my bags and headed for the parking garage.  Mom has her cousin Diane’s car so the plan was for us to go back to my house and drop everything off then I would follow my mother to Diane’s work in Quincy to return her car, then we would eat and continue to Cohasset to see Mimi.  That’s pretty much exactly what we did although I showed mom and Bri all of my pics when we stopped at my house.  We ate at bertucci’s because there wasn’t a wait and it was close by and I had a glass of wine and chicken marsala.  At Mimi’s, it was just so odd that she wasn’t living at her place anymore.  Most of her furninture was there but all the little stuff was missing so I didn’t really feel like a home.  I brought my laptop, so I showed her all the pictures which I think made her happy and gave us something to talk about besides what was going on here…   After a while, we left, which was just terribly hard.  I hate to see her upset like this.  Bri and I will certainly go visit her during the week and I hope my mother does the same.  Afterwards, we stopped at dunkies so that I could get a coffee and stay awake for the drive home.  I dropped off my mother and Bri was asleep next to me despite my mom trying to wake her up so she could keep ME awake.  Oh! Funny story.  We were on the highway and there was sooo much traffic (it was like 10pm on a sunday…..fine) so I’m so tired so I decide to use the breakdown lane, which I really have never done.  So I’m speading along and this guy in the lane next to me decides to straddle the line so I can’t get by.  He was, like, policing the roads.  So Bri and I are yelling at him and motioning for him to stop being such a dick and move over when I see a tow truck in my rear view mirror.  So I move over to the slow lane –  must be an accident causing the traffic.  The guy, still being a dick, moves over to the slow lane too until he sees the truck coming up quickly in the breakdown lane.  Well, he decides to be a hero again and straddles the lane again, not knowing it was a tow truck obviously.  The guy in the truck turns on the lights, blares the horn and yells swears at him out the window – LOL.  Mr. Dickhead sheepishly moves back into my lane (I left him get ahead of me…because I’m nice and forgiving…and I was hoping to catch his eye and be sure to laugh at him).  At home, we went to bed, which just felt amazing!  Goodnight!

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