The Plane and Bus Ride
I decided not to sleep much the night before. This way I could get on the plane and go right to sleep. Then when I woke up I would be at least somewhat close to Japan’s time. I’m sure I’ll still be pretty tired these next few days though till I get fully adjusted.
Getting through the first airport was a whirlwind. Everybody moved so quickly and seemed to know exactly where they were going and what they were doing. I, on the other hand, looked like your stereotypical newbie. Thankfully all the TSA staff were really nice and helpful.
My mom and boyfriend drove me to the airport. I couldn’t believe how busy the parking deck was. I didn’t realize just how many people flew on a daily basis. Once we found a parking spot, we made our way to the terminal. I found the section for my airline and then went up to the desk. The lady checked my passport and got me my boarding pass. She then weighed my suitcase and took my luggage, and I was off to security. My mom and boyfriend were able to walk in line with me so far, but then eventually I had to say goodbye. That was the hard part.
When I got up to the security counter, I handed them my passport and boarding pass, and then they directed me to another line where I had to go through scanners. I was so confused because I knew they made TSA approved laptop cases and even in line I saw something about taking your laptop out of your bag if it wasn’t TSA approved, but they let me keep my laptop in my carry on and put it through the scanner, so I’m super confused about that rule. Also, I had to take my boots off, but only because it had a decent amount of metal on them. Most other people were able to keep their shoes on.
Once I made it through security, I stopped by the restroom. I had started to cry when I was in the line for security and said goodbye to my mom and boyfriend, but I had done my best to hold it together. However, I’ll admit that once I made it to the restroom, I balled like a baby for a good five minutes. I soon pulled myself together and was off to find my gate. I also stopped and picked up some snacks since the only food you’re allowed to bring on the plane with you is the stuff you can buy after the security checkpoint.
The flight itself wasn’t bad. I decided not to take the motion sickness medicine for the first flight since it was only an hour (and the medicine makes me super drowsy), so I was a little worried how I was going to handle the flight, but it ended up being alright. Honestly, the worst part was when we were still on the ground and making our way from the gate to the runway. Forever whatever reason, the turning of the plane on the ground was worse than any of the motion when we were actually in the air. I also lucked out in that there was little to no turbulence. For my first flying experience (that I can remember at least), it really wasn’t so bad!
I was lucky in that, when I landed, I arrived at gate C22, and my next flight would be leaving out of C10, so I really only had to walk down the hall a little ways to find my next gate. Thankfully I didn’t have to go to the other side of the airport or something.
The second flight wasn’t bad, just incredibly long. I took some Dramamine, and I even took the one that was designed to make you drowsy, but it didn’t help as much as I would have liked. I ended up sleeping a majority of the flight, but I would wake up every hour or so just because it was uncomfortable. Despite the fact that I slept most of the plane ride, I don’t feel very rested. I have a feeling I’ll definitely crash tonight. I was incredibly thankful to finally get off the plane.
It should also be noted that on the plane they’ll give you two slips of paper than you will need to fill out. One is for the immigration office and the other is for customs. Note that they are double sided (many people missed that they had to fill out the back part).
Once in the airport, I made my way to the immigration section. I ended up in the wrong line at first but eventually got to where I needed to be. Once there, they took my Certificate of Eligibility, scanned my passport, got my fingerprints, took my picture, and then handed me my resident card.
After immigration I was able to go pick up my checked luggage. It was easy to find since I was one of the last ones to get to the baggage area. After getting my luggage, I went through customs, where he basically just looked at the slip I had filled out and then sent me on my way.
After customs I exited out into the main lobby of the airport. In the welcome packet I had received from Rikkyo, it stated that I could have shipped my baggage to my dorm. However, the baggage delivery office was at the very end of the lobby and I only had 3 minutes until the bus for Asakadai was supposed to leave, so I just brought my luggage with me. I went up to the airport limousine section, bought my bus ticket and then rushed out the door. On the bus ride, I gave Rikkyo a call and let them know I was arriving (they had sent an email asking us to do this).
The bus ride was also uneventful. It was a 2 hour ride, which I normally wouldn’t mind, but after being on such a long flight, I just wanted to finally arrive at my destination. I’ll admit that for the first hour and a half of the drive, I didn’t much feel like I was in Japan. The houses looked a little different, and of course I was riding on the opposite side of the road (since cars drive on the right side of the road in America), but there were a surprising amount of open fields which I’m assuming was for farming. It wasn’t until I got into the more populated area that it really began to hit me that I was finally in Japan.
First impression of Japan: cramped. Then again, Tokyo is considered the largest city in the world (when going by the number of people per space). It really shouldn’t have surprised me that it seemed a little cramped, but I don’t mind. I’m used to the suburb where I’m used to only seeing one person walking down the street at a time. I’m kind of looking forward to the busy hustle and bustle of the city. However, it will definitely take time for me to adjust, because as of right now I just feel like that stupid foreigner who is always in the way.