On The Way Back Home

No Gravatar

Part of the 2010 USA Trip Series

Photos by Hui-chen & MJ Klein, including FOOD PHOTOS

This, the last installment of our 2010 USA Trip series, is bittersweet because it deals with one of our favorite countries – Japan.  We wish our Japanese brothers and sisters all the best as they deal with restoring things to normal after the terrible natural disaster that afflicted Northeastern Japan.

On The Way Back Home

Hui-chen enjoying a slice of pizza a few days before leaving for Taiwan.

All too soon, it was time for us to leave and head home to Taiwan.  We had a fantastic time in the USA, saw sights and people I haven’t seen for years, most of them new experiences for Hui-chen.  We packed our bags and boarded our flight to Narita, Japan.  But there were some unexpected events that occurred along the way home.

On The Way Back Home

Ordinarily, one wouldn’t leave the secure area and be able to leave the airport like we did.  But since we had booked our own flights on this trip, our baggage wasn’t checked through to Taiwan because we had to switch airlines.  That required us to pass Japan Immigration and be admitted into Japan in order to visit the baggage claim, get our bags and check-in with the airlines for our final flight back to Taiwan.  Hui-chen and I stepped out of the airport lobby for a few minutes to snap this photo for the blog.

On The Way Back Home

Since we had some time to kill before our flight, we decided to eat!  I’ve been to Japan before and Japanese food (I mean actually in Japan) is the best food in the world.  It’s hard to describe the quality of the dishes that are prepared in Japan, but people who have had this experience will agree!  This is a nice salad with pieces of sashimi.

On The Way Back Home

The first round of sushi.

On The Way Back Home

Maki rolls of salmon – one of my favorites!

On The Way Back Home

I just kept ordering more and more – it was so good!

On The Way Back Home

We finished our sushi dinner, walked around some and then finally it was time to board our plane for Taiwan.

Naturally we don’t have any photos of us boarding or sitting on the plane, but we didn’t go home that night. Our plane had developed landing gear issues and they made us sit on the plane while they tried to repair the problem.  During that time they served the airline dinner on the plane.  Now, frequent readers of this blog know that I do not eat airline food – no exceptions! So, naturally I was not very happy sitting there, watching everyone eat that garbage, while Japan itself was only a few hundred meters away.  What made matters worse is that as soon as “dinner” was over, it was announced that the problem couldn’t be fixed and that we would have to stay overnight in Japan!  I could have been out exploring the city instead of sitting there while people ate.  Yes, I realize that they needed to get rid of the food stored on the plane, and also meal time on airplanes is more of a distraction than a meal, but please – we were in a food destination country!

On The Way Back Home

Everyone left the plane and went to Japan Immigration.  In one of the most interesting international procedures I’ve ever experienced, Hui-chen and I were sort of “un-stamped out” of Japan, and allowed to re-enter again.  Once outside the terminal with our luggage we boarded a bus to take us to a hotel.

On The Way Back Home

It was a cold and rainy night in Narita.

On The Way Back Home

On our way to the hotel.

On The Way Back Home

On The Way Back Home

The gates to the airport were locked, so a security guard had to open them for the bus.

On The Way Back Home

This would be Hui-chen’s first actual time to visit Japan.  I wish it could have been under different circumstances.

On The Way Back Home

By the time we got checked into our hotel, it was late.  The last thing I wanted to do was take photos, but I did take a couple for the blog anyway.  Our restroom was typical of those in Japan hotels: an appliance that is installed as a one-piece unit.  However the toilet was installed in a separate small room.

On The Way Back Home

This photo is a tribute to Japanese engineering as it shows the clearance between the door and the toilet.

So, there we were, stuck in Japan, late at night, with no Japanese money. We couldn’t even buy a bottle of water!

On The Way Back Home

The next morning it was bright and sunny.  This is the view out of our window.

On The Way Back Home

Obviously we weren’t far from the airport.

On The Way Back Home

After one of the nicest breakfast buffets I’ve ever seen, we boarded our bus to go back to the airport.

On The Way Back Home

Japanese road signs are readable if you’re from Taiwan.

On The Way Back Home

On The Way Back Home

On The Way Back Home

Japanese are security minded.  Each vehicle that enters the airport must pass through a security checkpoint.

On The Way Back Home

We had been given a 1,000 yen voucher for something to eat.  That’s about 10 US dollars.  Not very much for 2 people.  Correction: Hui-chen reminded me that we each got one of these vouchers.

On The Way Back Home

We went to a restaurant and sat down at the table.  This device will call the waiter over after you’ve read the menu.  I wish they had these in Taiwan!

On The Way Back Home

A foreigner looking at the menu.

On The Way Back Home

I think many Taiwanese people will recognize this image.

On The Way Back Home

Hui-chen showing the menu items.

On The Way Back Home

Yes, we were looking at desserts.  1,000 yen doesn’t buy much.

On The Way Back Home

These are what we got: (L to R) Chocolate and Strawberry.

On The Way Back Home

The Chocolate sundae actually had chocolate jelly!

On The Way Back Home

On The Way Back Home

After walking around and looking at stores for far too long, it was time to board our place.  Imagine our disappointment when our plane pulled away from the gate, only to go back and park again!  The landing gear problem was not fixed!  Fortunately the delay this time was on the order of 30 minutes.  Finally, we were on our way back home to Taiwan!

Thanks for reading!  We hope you have enjoyed this series of articles about our 2010 trip back to the USA.  We welcome your comments and recommendations below.  Please use the Apture bar above or the ShareThis service below for social media sharing.  We look forward to bringing you our next series!

(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)

9 comments

  1. Pingback: GlobeSeeing
  2. I’m confused. I understand you didn’t have any Yen but why weren’t you able to use a credit card or get Yen in the airport the next day to have a decent meal.

    1. hi Mike. we didn’t need the Japanese money right before we were leaving; we needed it the night before to buy bottles of water. we ended up using the in-room coffee pot and boiling tap water and letting it cool down. the day we left, we had already eaten at the breakfast buffet in the hotel. i was just saying that 10 bucks doesn’t buy much in Japan.

  3. Geee… landing gear problems…. twice… with the same plane. I’m surprised they didn’t get another plane to fly to Taiwan. I don’t know how comfortable I would feel with the idea of flying on a plane in which the flight was delayed twice for the same mechanical problem.

    If you didn’t have to fly to an island… then in the words of George Carlin I would’ve said… no thanks, I’ll take a bus.

    By the way… when it comes to sushi… I only like it if its cooked just right 🙂
    mike01905´s last post ..Super Full Moon – March 19- 2011

  4. Glad you had a wonderful trip and arrived home safely. I enjoyed your trip pictures and look forward to seeing your next trip’s pictures.

  5. MJ, I agree with you that the food in Japan is the best. I have been lucky to travel there with Surf Life Saving Australia on a few occasions and see some amazing country side and also the cities that blew me away.

    One thing I couldn’t believe was how expensive it was. We went to a restaurant with a Japanese friend and his party, we ate Kobe beef, whale meat and the food never stopped.

    It was all laid on for us, everywhere we went, the people were amazing.

    It is so sad to see the tragedy of the natural disaster and can only hope that nothing like this happens again to them.

    MJ, is there a specific reason you don’t eat airline food? Did you get sick once or just taste crap? 🙂

    In the first picture you said “Hui-chen is enjoying a ‘slice’ of pizza”

    Maybe she was holding it close to the camera but it looked like a whole pizza.

    Thanks for sharing mate.
    Brunty´s last post ..Three Students Murdered by Border Patrol Policeman Ubon Ratchathani- Thailand

    1. Brunty, my apologies for answering this comment 2 years late!

      i don’t eat airline food because i don’t like (generally speaking) how it tastes, i don’t trust that it’s fresh and i don’t like how i feel later. truth be told, it’s largely because i live in Asia and nearly every place i’m traveling to is a food destination. once i remember a flight attendant asking me if i wanted dinner on a flight back to Taiwan. i told her “in 2 hours from now i’ll be eating my wife’s cooking. no thanks.” hehe yeah, i’m such a snob!

      that “slice” of pizza was a pizza lunch slice. it was basically a quarter of a large pizza and it was more than enough for her (or me, just by the looks of it!).

      Japan is beyond description, and we agree that it’s a fantastic destination for any traveler. thanks Brunty.

  6. Pingback: Patrick Cowsill
  7. Pingback: MJ Klein

Comments are closed.