"I'm leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again"
...hopefully if all goes according to plan, this year. Maybe.
I get up early (@_@)
Actually, I get up so early it was hardly worth me going to bed…
After I got back from the pub last night, and after a much needed cup of tea, it wasn’t long before I was tucked up in bed (-_-) ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
To make sure that I didn’t oversleep, I’d set a wake up call on the hotel phone and Phil had also said that he’d also call me just to make sure.
I’d planned to get up at about 4:30am – giving me plenty of time to pack any remaining items into my case, check out of the hotel and be ready at the bus stop for the shuttle to the airport, but this morning I wake up at about 2:30am, and despite trying for about an hour to get back to sleep it just not happening. Bugger.
Rather than just lay here in bed staring at the ceiling I decide to get up and do what I had planned to do, only I do it just that little bit slower. Because I can.
I get ready, pack the remaining few things into my case, check out and wait for Phil in the lobby.
Phil has kindly offered to see me off (Go on!!! Get out of Japan!!! Grrr!!! LOL!) and true to his word here he is, albeit very bleary eyed and yawning like a thing that yawns a lot (can’t think of one…maybe a koala that’s been to an all night rave perhaps)
It’s not long before the coach arrives and we say our goodbyes. I leave Phil with the remainder of the tea bags that I brought with me (which are in a lot better condition than his crisps were!) as the driver loads my case into the side of the bus. Somehow I manage to climb aboard with my bulky (and bloody heavy! Ooof!) hand luggage in one hand (I’d bought a few books and I thought that carrying them would be the best thing to do to stop them getting damaged) and the mobile phone that I'd hired for the duration of my stay in the other just so I don’t forget to hand it in at Narita!
The bus pulls away and my heart sinks…I send one last text message from the phone to a dear friend and then erase all traces of my existence from it's memory.
The drive to Chitose is quite depressing. The skies have darkened again and I’m sad to be leaving Japan. About 15 minutes into the journey, it starts to rain.
I’ve had a great time here….I’ve met up with some old friends and made some great new ones, and now I’m heading back to the UK. Back to a place that's so technologically retarded in comparison and full of rude, uncaring people (O_o)
(I'd like to know what it is that Japanese people like about Britain, please tell me!)
We arrive at Chitose in plenty of time, and I go through all the usual airporty* stuff that you do at airports before boarding the flight to Narita.
The lack of sleep earlier this morning is beginning to take its toll and I struggle to keep my eyes open. I entertain myself by watching the stewardesses trying to sell hats and bags and general 'stuff’ from the ANA Sky Shop catalogue.
Touch down in Tokyo! Thankfully my case is put directly on the flight back to London so that’s one less thing that I have to worry about. I manage to find out where I hand back my mobile pretty easily and even find my way to the departure gate without too much hassle.
I wait in the departure lounge for the flight to London to start boarding. Unfortunately there’s a 45 minute delay. I just want to get on the flight and sleep. While I wait, I take a few photos of the planes that I can see outside (including a JAL one emblazoned with the Japanese football team Samurai Blue)
Yay! Time to board. I find my seat (it’s an exit seat by the window! Cool!) and get a copy of the Japan Times from a steward with a European accent usually reserved for the villain in a James Bond film who is sporting very similar hair to Jean Claude Van Damme.
I grip the seat as the plane gets ready for take off, picking up more speed as it hurtles along the runway. The ground disappearing beneath us as it’s up, up into the air!!! WoooHooo!
Eleven hours are spent in the usual mixture of eating, sleeping, going to the toilet, more eating, looking at your watch and realising that you still have 8 hours flying time to go etc, and then the final descent (which is a bit scary as the Millennium Dome looks like it could be far too near to the undercarriage as you fly over it) for landing at Heathrow.
Off the plane, and a long walk through the Terminal to pick up my case followed by more boring airporty stuff.
I stop before the guy at passport control:
“How are you?” he asks.
This surprises me as I thought that any communication with these very grumpy looking people was only usually done through a lot of intense staring and "move along" type hand gestures.
“Er...I’m ok! Bit tired though” I reply.
As soon as I open my mouth and he hears the London accent, he waves me through as the genuine article. Maybe he was unsure because of the tan that I'd picked up in Roppongi.
Finally, I make it to arrivals, where I’m met by my Brother, Sister in law and my Mum! (who thought that they might have missed me as they had seen a lot of Japanese people from an earlier JAL flight about half an hour previously)
In the car my mind wanders back to Japan...
The trip back home through the London traffic is surprisingly short, which is a good job really as I'm gasping for a nice cup of tea.
I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the following people who made my trip to Japan so much fun!
Phil and Christine: Thank you so much for everything! From helping me organise the trip in the first place to guiding me around Sapporo. I can’t thank you enough! Hope you enjoyed the crisps! :D
Yuki - Thank you for making that Saturday so much fun. I had a wonderful time :D I hope that we can meet again very soon…
Eriko and Naoko - Thanks for showing me the delights of drinking (and eating and more drinking!) at a Japanese style pub! See you again soon maybe!?
p.s. - Naoko. You are crazy. There's no doubt about it! ;) Email me when you get the chance!!!
Akimi – Thanks for making trips to Brian Brew so much fun! It was great chatting to you! P.S - the chips were delicious!!! :P Email me!!!
The rest of the staff at Brian Brew – Thank you!!! My favourite Japanese (Irish) pub!
The staff of the Toyoko Inn (Susukino) - Hello to all the people on the reception desk and the cleaner who wished me “Ohayo Gozaimasu” every morning! Thank you! :D
The staff of the The Tokyo Green Hotel Ochanomizu - Especially the woman on reception with the life saving paperclip! Thank you! :D
The staff of the Hotel 330 Grande Sapporo - Thank you!!! :D (You might want to think about changing the music in the lifts though…)
The people who helped me when I got lost in Tokyo – Thank you soooooo much!!!
All the ANA airport staff at Narita and Chitose - For helping me when I didn’t have a clue where I was going – Thank you so much!!! :D
The ANA air stewards and stewardesses (especially the one that had to sit opposite us on the Pikachu plane back from Tokyo! Poor you! LOL!)
The people in the little tourist information hut in Odori Park – Thank you! :D
The people of Japan who I encountered on a daily basis – Thanks! I love you all!!! Hahaha! :D
*Airporty © Colin 2006