Oct 21

Sayonara Baby!

NB:  while this initial post was created October 5, it’s now 17 days on, 22 October!  I know I promised to blog daily but….life got in the way.  I’ll have some solid bullet train time as I travel north for Tokyo, Sendai, and Morioka (Oct 23-26) to catch up on the past 17 days’ experiences as well as post appropriate photos as necessary, so stay tuned.  Domo Arigato!                                       ********************************************************************************************************

OCTOBER 4, 2014.  Departure day dawned with clear skies and sunshine.  Eight months of planning and organizing a month’s stay in Japan had been hard work but I knew it would be worth all the effort.

From the moment we entered YYJ (Victoria) terminal I was embraced and looked after by AIR CANADA staff.  Andrew greeted us and took me in hand, taking care of check-in, boarding passes, and a myriad of courtesies before taking me to see Janice who weighed and tagged my bags.  Matt and Carl manned the boarding gate for the short hop from YYJ to YVR.  After seeing I had a cane, Matt said “I’d like to order a wheelchair for you at each change.  Walking from domestic to international gates can be very tiring.  You’ll be glad.”  “Oh, Matt, I sure was!  Your suggestion made all the difference.  Priority boarding and golf cart travel is the best.”  AIR CANADA you rock!!!!!

AC03, a 767, with 2-3-2 seating configuration was sold out.  As I made my way to my aisle seat in economy I succumbed to “biz class envy”.  Twenty years ago I was blessed with a spontaneous upgrade but, alas, it was not to be this time.  The flight crew was great..attentive to my need to hydrate constantly while being on guard against Neko-chan’s penchant for roaming into areas off limits to felines.  The gluten- free meal I ordered in advance was very good, especially those chocolate cookies for dessert!

My seat mate, YaYa, spoke English very well.  She traveled with a handbag and an iPhone.  Over the 11-hour flight I educated her on what it means to be a ‘high maintenance” woman!  Like all Japanese travelers she slept often and long while I struggled with the occasional nap.  Neko-chan behaved and enjoyed a cat nap or two.

Arrived to pelting rain at Narita airport.  Typhoon announcement.  Possible cancellation of flights.  Araggggh, please, no!  Thankful to see a wheelchair; I was so tired and unsteady.  Clearing immigration and customs was a breeze.  There’s a separate area for diplomats, crew, and those in wheelchairs….so no long lineups for me.  Several minutes later I was headed for my last flight of the day.

ANA flight attendants greeted each and every passenger with a welcome bow.  Due to turbulence there was no in-flight service and we all remained locked in place.  We dropped altitude to avoid lightening while the aircraft rock and rolled (and I prayed) it’s way to my almost final destination, Centrair International, 3rd largest in the country, where husband Takeshi would be anxiously waiting for me.  Learned later my flight was the last to leave Narita because weather conditions.  Due to delays along the way, we only had an hour to eat, chat, and hug before the highway bus took me to my FINAL destination where friends would meet and drive me to my new home for the next month.

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