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.
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.
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.
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.
The first round of sushi.
Maki rolls of salmon – one of my favorites!
I just kept ordering more and more – it was so good!
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!
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.
It was a cold and rainy night in Narita.
On our way to the hotel.
The gates to the airport were locked, so a security guard had to open them for the bus.
This would be Hui-chen’s first actual time to visit Japan. I wish it could have been under different circumstances.
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.
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!
The next morning it was bright and sunny. This is the view out of our window.
Obviously we weren’t far from the airport.
After one of the nicest breakfast buffets I’ve ever seen, we boarded our bus to go back to the airport.
Japanese road signs are readable if you’re from Taiwan.
Japanese are security minded. Each vehicle that enters the airport must pass through a security checkpoint.
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.
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!
A foreigner looking at the menu.
I think many Taiwanese people will recognize this image.
Hui-chen showing the menu items.
Yes, we were looking at desserts. 1,000 yen doesn’t buy much.
These are what we got: (L to R) Chocolate and Strawberry.
The Chocolate sundae actually had chocolate jelly!
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!
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