This is for everyone back home. I hope that you enjoy reading this and sharing in my experiences.
We left Megumi’s apartment at 10AM to meet with Nagi and her mother. I wish I could have spent more time with Megumi because was incredibly sweet and giving.
Things Nagi taught me: 1. Many Japanese students have to get their license in the summer because they have to attend camp every day for 4 hours a day for like 2-3 weeks. 2. Japan does not have a military. They have a defense force to protect against attacks but they do not train anyone to go out and fight.
We briefly stopped in Akihabara together and we got walked around, got sticker photos, and looked at the girls in maid costumes. Akihabara is known for their cheap electronics and maid cafés. We did not end up actually going in one because it was a 500yen sitting charge and the cheapest item on the menu was also 500-600yen. We may have done it if we had some money to blow, because it looks pretty darn cool, but the subway to Akihabara from our starting location was already 850yen. It was our transfer city to end up in our intended location, Asakusa. Asakusa is a tradional/modern shopping area, built inside what was once a temple before it was burned down by a war. It has now been rebuilt. For lunch we went to an Oodong stand where we ate standing up. Then, we walked through the shops and I ended up buying the traditional Japanese soda. It is called Ramune and it is opened by popping the MARBLE stopper into the drink. I also got to try agemanju, which is a traditional fried pocket bread. Nagi’s mother bought us the oodong and the agemanju! The original is red bean flavor. We were not able to spend much time sightseeing today because I had to start heading to the airport by 3’ish. We had to find a direct train rout to the airport so that I would not get lost. The bright side is that it only took 45min. once we bought the tickets. The bad side is that it cost 2400yen, ouch. Cassie, Nagi, and I took a final Polaroid together and Cassie let me keep it! Then, I was off on my own! Narita Airport went very smoothly. In fact, some worker on the elevator even took my luggage receipts from it being mailed and he literally ran with it and told me to stay until he knew where to direct me. Most people in the airport could speak English, besides in McDonalds. I was even checked in at the business class counter because there were no lines to wait in. I must mention that it was really weird hearing so much English around me. What is it with all of the traveling Australians with their adorable accents!
I boarded the plane and my seat was on the second floor of the air bus. I want to ride Singapore Air more often because they completely impressed me! They give the passengers hot towels almost as soon as people are seated. They also supply complimentary socks, toothbrushes, and alcohol. I could charge my IPod and the blankets and pillows are really nice! I had asked for a low calorie meal and they actually had it noted, which has been bypassed in the past. I got yummy fish and chicken meals with fruit and veggies. Green tea was also available! If the meals were not enough, passengers were allowed to ask for cookies, crackers, fruit, chocolate, peanuts, and some other things at any time. The on demand screens had over 150 movies and TV shows galore. I watched 21 Jump Street and it was pretty awesome! Although comfortable, I was not able to sleep! My 2PM arrival in California would have only been 3AM in Japan and I am use to staying up until at least 1AM. Therefore, when some things went wrong at LAX airport I basically had an emotional breakdown.
I got in the airport and there was no internet for me to call my friend Erick. By the time I did get to an internet supply he was nowhere to be heard from (#1 suck event). Singapore could only send my luggage and tag it to LAX because I my next flight was AirTran. Therefore, once I picked up my 90 pounds of luggage, I had to drag everything to the domestic terminals in another building. It seemed to be ¾ of a mile or so (suck event #2). I got there and all AirTran employees had left and I was stuck with my baggage. They were not going to be back at desk until 8:30PM (suck event #3), no friend = no car and heavy luggage = no mobility to see California. On top of it, I found out that there are NO SHOWERS in LAX, lovely. Someone from American Airlines did send me to talk to South West out my luggage, part of the same company. They could not check my bags but they took pity on me and let me use their office for apx. 2 hours in order to contact my mother and ATTEMPT to contact Erick one last time. I literally could not talk without crying at this point, eek sleep deprivation? Some man named Jan was the main reason behind my special treatment. He and Mary talked and called down to tell the baggage storage room my situation and that is where I ended up. I spent a few hours after that in the bathroom primping and making myself feel human. During my breakdown I looked disgusting! I washed my hair in the sink, blow dried and straighten it, shaved, brushed my teeth, and scared people hehe. It was finally time where I was able to check my bags, 6 hours later. I broke one of the zippers off of my small luggage so a nice Air Tran worker helped me to get it reinforced with heavy duty tap (suck event #4/funny event too) lol looking pretty jank. Air Tran did not accept my two checked bags like Singapore so I had to pay 20$ (suck event #5) for the first suitcase and I consolidated everything else into my carry on suitcase and my Akron duffle bag. I gave my book bag away because it just weighed too much for me. On the bright side, the AirTran worker put a tag on it to have it gate checked straight to CAK. AKA, did not have to go too far with it and at least there is freedom from it in Milwaukie Wisconsin. Also he guessed that I just graduated with a degree in fashion, hu that’s new lol. Maybe Korean/Japanese clothes will make me a trend setter! Another bright side, I ended up with really yummy peanut butter soft serve ice cream for dinner at the airport. It wasn’t until after I checked in though past 9PM and the last time I had eaten was 11AM on the flight. Thank goodness that I at least had some protein in me from the flight. I was just too worked up all day to worry about it. I miss the hot water machines from Korea because I have these soups from Japan that I have yet to use.
What you can do to make you stay in LAX more comfortable, if you are willing to spend the money and you have the time:
There is a beach really close that you can get to by taxi for about 15$. If you are with company then it could be affordable.
There is a LAX Lounge in the International Terminal. It is 15$ for 1hr, 30$ for 3 hours, and 50$ for the day. They supply snacks, drinks, and internet. Apparently it is cozy.
There is a local hotel that will accept people for day passes, to take showers and get a short rest. It is about 55$ to stay from 11AM-6PM, or in my case I could have gotten it from 5:30-9PM for the same price. Free airport pickup.
You can buy T-Mobile internet for 8$ and I did not find this out for awhile. It is not available until you reach lounge areas of the airport.
In 2 years the airport is suppose to improve greatly with far more amenities.
There is a shuttle from the international terminal to the other terminals. There is no need to stress you body and lug it like I did. I think shuttle A goes to terminal 1, which is the farthest.
Have a cell phone!
Basically, if I would have known a few choice things from the beginning then it would have been a more enjoyable visit.
By the time that I made it home and went to bed the following night, it was 53 hours of hardly any sleeping at all. It is possible that I got 3 hours total. I am glad to be home buy I am ready for my next adventure!