December 20, 2004 pt1 – Leaving Japan

This is the first part of my returning home for Christmas story. All together, my Monday lasted 39 hours due to traveling across time zones.

I started my journey by walking 20 minutes to Numazu station while dragging my giant suitcase, wearing an overstuffed backpack, and carrying my sister’s incredibly heavy antique laptop. From Numazu I took the Tokaido line to Mishima where I switched to the Shinkansen bound for Tokyo. I managed to get all of my stuff through busy Tokyo station towards the Narita express platform, stopping to buy a few last minute souvenirs and Christmas presents. Yes, I bought even more stuff to carry.

I arrived at the airport at 1:00pm Japan time. and went to the baggage check. I bought most of my Christmas presents in Asakusa, so they were all very nicely wrapped. Airport security does not like wrapped Christmas presents, so all of my presents had to go through the x-ray scanner. I was also asked to turn the laptop. Since the battery is dead, it only lasts about 5 seconds before shutting off. This meant that the laptop got scanned and swabbed for bomb residue. The whole experience was time consuming and a bit annoying, but the airport staff was polite the entire time and managed to repack my suitcase EXACTLY the same way that it was before.

After getting rid of my bags, I got to wait in line to get my boarding pass. I then went though security and got to wait in line at immigration. Who knew what a major airport would be so busy before Christmas…

Eventually I got through all of the lines, and got on my plane. The first two hours of the flight were incredibly turbulent. I don’t think I have ever been on a flight so rough before. The captain kept apologizing and told us that the skies were busy, so we were not cleared to switch altitudes. At least the movies weren’t bad – they showed “I, Robot”, “Shark Tale”, and “Elf”. I think I managed to sleep for a few hours but can’t be sure.

Near the end of the flight I started talking to the guy sitting next to me who was named Rob. It turns out that he was in my intermediate Japanese class in University and was also returning to Winnipeg for Christmas. Unlike me, he managed to get into the JET program. We exchanged some stories about our experiences in Japan. Out of all of the flights home and all of the seats in the plane, I happened to sit next to I guy I knew from school. Sometimes it really is a small world.

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