Land Ho!

After about 10 hours, I noticed that the display showed that the plane was above the coast of Japan.
The first time I saw Japan.
I opened the window and saw the most awesome thing I've ever seen in my entire life. I was literally looking at Japan. I slowly started to realize that I was technically now in Japan, and that I was seeing it for the first time, physically right below me. I know it probably doesn't seem like that big of a deal to somebody reading a blog, but I had tears welling up in my eyes. It was such a moving experience to see what was literally the place of my dreams appearing before my eyes.

There were still 2 hours left of the flight, and I spent nearly every minute of those 2 hours gazing out the window, watching the tiny cities and mountains slowly float by. This was it. I was was there.
A random city who chose to remain anonymous.
I saw lots of cities and mountains, and even more clouds. I tried to figure out what cities I was looking at based on the location according to the monitor, but I was none too successful. As we neared Osaka, the clouds thickened.
It's hard to believe that underneath this beautiful,
white blanket of clouds is a "gloomy," rainy day.
Almost there...

Kansai International Airport

It wasn't long at all until I felt the wheels touch the ground. The airport slowly crawled up on us, and it became harder and harder to wait to get my butt off of the seat. It seemed to be rock-hard at this point. The seat, that is. Not my butt.

The Kansai Airport is a really unique place. There are rows of seats which come in many different colors. There are yellow seats, red seats, and I think I remember seeing green seats. Overall, if I had to describe the place, I'd call it colorful. I met up again with Stacey, and we went through customs together. There was lots of English. And Engrish.
I have absolutely no idea what that means. 
Close, but no cigar.

Everybody there was really nice, and we were only in there for about 10 minutes. We then picked up our luggage and headed through the final checkpoint, and then we were free in Japan!

I got 20,000 yen out of a nearby ATM. I felt mad gangsta holding my 200 bucks worth of Japanese currency. It's all about the Yukichis, baby.

Besuto Wesutaan

Stacey had reserved a room at the nearby Best Western Hotel. There was a shuttle bus, but it was only about 3:30, and the bus didn't come until 6:00, so we decided to take a taxi. This is what the Japanese call a "bad idea."
That's almost 50 dollars.
I found out later that there is, in fact, a train station at the airport. That probably would have cost us more like 3 dollars each. We split the bill for the fare and the hotel, but that taxi ride really upped the price. I guess this is just another mistake to learn from.
Fancy toilet, of course. This is Japan.
I wan't able to work up the courage to try this yet.
Due to some confusing wording on the site she made a reservation, we ended up getting a one-bed room. I decided to just sleep on the floor. I needed to get used to sleeping on the floor anyway! The room had a fancy toilet, a small, deep bath, an electricity-saving system that made you deposit your key for power, and a couple of yukata neatly folded on the bed to wear to and from the bath.
After we settled in, we decided to stroll about town.

Beware of gropers.
A small shrine next to a battery vending machine.
A tobacco vending machine.
It's no overstatement to say that when you're in Japan (or any place this unique) for the first time, everything you see is extremely interesting. As we walked around, we received a multitude of stares from the locals going about their usual business. 'Cause everybody hates a tourist. Especially one who thinks it's all such a laugh.

Your friendly neighborhood liquor store.
We stopped by a Lawson and a 7 Eleven, where I was able to split up my 10,000円. Convenient stores in Japan are funny. They're like gas stations in America, only everything is shorter, and there are virtually no familiar items. Also, there is lots of stuff that wouldn't really pass in Utah, such as the sake stand pictured above, and 成人向け magazine section. I bought a rice ball, katsuo flavored, and we headed back to the hotel.
Hotel instructions, English on the other side.
I was feeling only mildly tired, and it was a little early to sleep, so Stacey and I went to the baths. It was a pretty good first time experience. I went in stark naked, washed my body on the stool, and jumped in a pool of hot water. A couple others joined later. It was the first time I'd ever sat in a pool of hot water with a bunch of naked Japanese people. Quite. After I got out, I sat on one of the comfy chairs and watched the TV. I recognized the show as Chibi Maruko-Chan. after watching that for about 10 minutes, I went back to the room and decided to crash. Since it was so hot, I slept on the folded up comforter, and Stacey slept on the bed without a blanket. It was plenty comfy that way.

Return to the Airport

In the morning, we woke up, got ready, visited the 7 Eleven (I got some anpan), and then took the shuttle bus to the airport (it was about 4280円 cheaper than the trip there).
Sweet bean paste. Yum.
Now, we're sitting in the international lobby. As of this writing, there are 4 hours left until the group shows up. Jackson showed up and we're all just hanging out. A while ago, a bunch of elementary students on a field trip walked by. I was greeted by a choir of "ha-ro~"s, and they were all smiling and waving at me. It was adorable. I think I'll end on a good note with a picture of them.


  1. Is it weird that I'm jealous that you bathed with a bunch of naked Japanese men?

  2. I asked everyone else, and we reached the verdict that it is not weird. Congrats.