It is our last day in Japan, and it is POURING rain. Absolutely coming down in buckets. We didn’t order this weather!
We had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, packed up our belongs into our large backpacks, and headed out to find a Japanese block print for our home. Jinbocho is famous for their used book stores and block prints. We couldn’t afford an original (starts at $30,000 yen and goes up from there). A replica goes from $30 yen and up. We could afford a replica. We arrived in Jinbocho around 10am only to find that all of the stores were still closed. Isn’t this a Monday? What do you mean you don’t open until later? *sigh*
We hopped back on the subway to another shopping district, Ameyoko. The rain was making it difficult to enjoy window shopping, so we decided to find lunch. We found a conveyor-belt sushi bar for the guys. These places are really interesting. The sushi chefs stand in the middle of the restaurant with a circular conveyor belt and bar surrounding them. You pull up a seat to the bar and grab different colored plates with the sushi you want on them. When you have had your fill of fresh sushi, you have the waitress add up your colored plates (each color is a different price). I only ate the cooked shrimp tails on rice. My guys had fatty tuna, salmon, and other raw delicacies. Lunch for the 3 of us came to less than $30.
As the weather was just horrible, we decided to take the Skyliner Train to the airport. We checked in our bags, and headed to security. Here is where our problems began. First of all, my husband travels A LOT. He is travelling around the country usually 3 out of 4 weeks a month. He is a Platinum status flyer (2nd only to Executive Platinum with over 100,000 miles flown a year). His status is printed on his tickets. With that said, he gets the double inspection pretty much every other time he goes to the airport. If you were to see him, you would think him one of the most non-threatening people out there. He is a big, blond teddy bear. Anyway, our son & I got through security with no problem. My husband was told that he would need a secondary screening and to please step aside. The agent called over to her supervisor a moment later. We thought it was to have him screen my husband. Nope. She wanted to tell him that she needed her break. She made my husband stand there for 10 minutes before someone came over to relieve her for break. The relieving agent saw my husband, and then had someone take my husband to a different area to screen him. His bags were opened, he was patted down, had the magnetic wand run over him, asked questions, had his hands & bag swabbed down, and finally released. It took him approximately 20 minutes to get through security. HE IS A MAN THAT FLIES ALL THE TIME, PEOPLE!!!
To calm our frazzled (and really upset) nerves, we went to the Admirals Club for a drink & snack with 10 minutes to go until our flight. The flight from Tokyo to Chicago is over 11 hours. I don’t care if you love to travel by plane. Being on one plane for 11+ hours is gruelling. It is hard to sleep on a plane with turbulence, and glaring television monitors from the seats in front of you. I watched three movies and a television show, took a short nap, read some of my book, and ate. Did you know that American Airlines feeds you two meals and one snack on a flight 11+ hours long? Their food wasn’t that bad either. There was chicken/pasta or beef/rice for dinner. We didn’t take the snack box when it came around. Breakfast was croissant w/fresh fruit. The flight attendants also come around 3-4 times asking if you want something to drink. You are definitely full when you get off the plane.
Upon arriving in Chicago, we needed to go through Customs. The airport was VERY CONFUSING when it came to which area to go to if you were a citizen or just visiting. The US citizens line was pretty short, where the visitors line was a mile long. I have to say that the Customs agent was HORRENDOUS to visitors. For being the first person that these people will see, she should be polite and welcoming. The agent we saw should have been fired for the abusive way she spoke to these other world travellers. She screamed at them and talked down to them like they were dirt on the bottom of her shoe. As an American, I was embarrassed that someone would treat people like that. If I had the power, I would’ve fired her right there. NO ONE should be talked down to like that. We NEVER experienced that abuse when we visited Japan. They were all VERY POLITE to us, and even thanked us for visiting their country. The agent gave the impression that these people weren’t wanted. Yup. I would’ve fired her if I could have.
Our flight from Chicago to Austin was uneventful. We were all looking forward to a shower and sleeping in our own beds. Our dogs were incredibly happy to see us when we got home. I missed my dog so much. As I brushed my teeth before bed, I asked my husband about how long our Monday was. He said that we had started our day 28 hours ago. We saw two sunrises and two sunsets. How amazing is this marble that we live on?
Would I travel to Japan again? I would, if given the opportunity. However, the world has so much to offer. I just might find somewhere new to go to next time. Hmm….I wonder if we can save up for Ireland/Scotland next. Hmmm…. 🙂