Well, Carey linked back to my blog from hers (http://kunobot.blogspot.com), so I guess I have to do the final entry – the last 2 days I spent on my trip. It's been about 2 weeks since I got back, and I'm working from home all this week. The motivation to complete the final entry was lost as soon as I was on my way home... I think in my head, I felt that if I never completed the final entry, it would be like I stayed in Japan, in some parallel universe. Ah wells, I'm sure there's some Bizarro Hugh who is having more strange and wonderful adventures. Ah wells, this Hugh is happy to be home.... mostly.
We wanted Day 21 (Thursday) to go as sloooooow as possible... so we did absolutely nothing but stay at the Kaikan and watch the clock tick. We may have watched a movie here or there, and didn't do much else. We did ride bikes to one last sushi that day though, and afterwards we got yummy parfaits at the corner store.
We hung out for the rest of the night and packed. Man, I'm a great packer. Although Carey is a good assistant, because she has good "big picture" ideas on what should go where, and I have the technical nuts-and-bots stuff down (ie. maximizing available space and making items as compact as possible... it's like Tetris!). I got all my clothes in, two jackets that I bought (including a vintage leather motorcycle jacket), and all the gifts and souvenirs... all into a 25” spinner suitcase and small duffel carry-on. Not bad! I think we'll travel well together in the future, we have complimentary skills. We went to bed early, because we had to wake up at 5:30AM, to get to the airport by 7AM. Ughhhh.
So Day 22 finally came. Bleh! It was still dark out... we wheeled the luggage to a nearby 24/7 McD's to grab some breaky to go... We then hailed a cab to the airport (with a gruff-talk taxi cab driver, I love the old men who talk in gruff polite Japanese, it reminds me of old Kurosawa samurai movies) where we hung out and ate our McEggies before I went through security for my connecting flight to Tokyo.
Checked in, got through security, and I was on my way back home! The flight to Tokyo was smaller than the Air Canada, but I got the whole 3-seat aisle to myself! Whaaaaaaat! And it was even relatively crowded on the rest of the plane! Soooo lucky! Especially since the seats are smaller than the international flight, it was great to be able to lift up the armrests and stretch out! Landed in Tokyo, and I had a good 6 hours before check-in and boarding of the Air Canada Toronto flight. Ho hum. So I spent it wandering around Narita airport and catching up on blog posts.
I finally catch a squat toilet, at the international airport of all places! I was chicken and didn't use it, though... but went next door to enjoy my very last bidet. Oh, and this bidet came with instructions! After three weeks in Japan, though, I was a pro and didn't need any help. I even know what pressure settings I like!
While we're on topic of poop culture in Japan, I should talk about the toilet paper. Toilet paper in japan is very infrequently perforated; it doesn't have "squares" like back home. It either has crazy long rectangles, or no perforations at all! At first, I was ripping and tearing it all messy like, and was thinking, "This doesn't seem very Japanese, the paper is so messy and unkempt! But after a bit, I figured it out! Every toilet roll holder in Japan has this little metal/hard plastic cap that goes overtop the roll... and you're supposed to push down, and then use it as leverage to tear cleanly across. Haha, neat! Poop science!
See? The TP at Narita didn't have perforations at all – just one big roll! You only take as much as you need, no waste! Ahhhh, soooooo Japanese!
After wandering around, having a final lunch in Japan, and looking at all the kitschy cheap J-P souvenirs at all the gift shops, I boarded the plane and settled in for my 12 hour flight. So, we started our take-off procedures and I looked to my right to see...
Both flights to and from Japan were easy, I don't know what everyone was talking about. Free booze and movies and reading and a chance to relax for 12 hours, can't go wrong. So finally, back home to get picked up by Kevin for some beers and catch-ups and try to beat the jetlag over the weekend!
My first meal back home, Gamjatang! Yay, I'm home! And I got my hammy back! I got back my hammy!
All in all, a great trip. A lot of fun memories. It's a really beautiful country, and I'm definitely going to go back sometime within the next 5-6 years. I hope to even be able to pick up enough conversational J-P to take the lead on the interactions. Poor Carey had to lead me around the entire country, because once you leave Tokyo, you're pretty much useless if you don't speak Japanese... English in Japan is like French in Southern Ontario - you learn basic words like counting and days of the week in high school, but everyone has forgotten it. Anyway, would definitely visit again... and I'll blog about it!
So, that was my trip. I think I have one more blog post in me after this, to recap and talk about overall impressions of my visit and of Japan in general, as well as post a couple picture collections I started of a couple of things I saw a lot of (stay tuned to see what they are!). Heheh, I'll post it in a few days. Anyway, feel free to comment about your overall impressions of the trip, using the link below! Matte ne!