On Thursday we drove the kids to West Memphis, AR to meet the grandparents. After lunch, we hopped back in the car and drove to Nashville, TN and spent the night with my college roommate, Terry, and her family. We had dinner with them and got our trip off to a great start by hanging with friends we haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time with lately. Friday, Terry drove us to the Nashville airport so we could fly to New York.
Friday evening, after a fantastic dinner with Fahmida’s family, we had the brilliant idea to stay up late so that we’d sleep on the plane on Saturday. Yeah, ok, that idea was less than brilliant, but we didn’t have our children and we really wanted to go see a movie.
We got on Japan Airlines at 11ish am on Saturday. Thirteen hours later we were in Tokyo.
We landed about an hour earlier than we were scheduled. We started by going to the Japan Railways office to redeem our JR pass. That pass was the best investment of the whole trip, btw. It allowed us to ride all over Japan on the JR line as much as we wanted to for seven days. We got on a subway-like car to take us to the station where we could catch the bullet train to Osaka.
I was thinking to myself, “10 minutes on the tram thingie and then we’re on the Shinkansen.” Nope, it was more like 45. Yeah, 45 minutes of riding through Tokyo. It’s that big. Once we got on the bullet train, I wanted desperately to watch the scenery but I could hardly stay awake. I dozed and tried to keep one eye open for my only look at the country side. I missed my only chance to see Mt. Fuji on that train ride.
About two and a half hours later we were in Osaka. Then we got on the subway for 30 minutes, carted our luggage up and down about 900 stairs and then spilled out onto the street in Osaka. We were so tired we were barely standing upright.
The whole day felt magical. I guess that’s what you get your first day in a foreign country. I spent the better part of the day refraining from the we’re-in-Japan happy dance. I’m sure the folks in Osaka appreciated my restraint.