Sayonara Japan!

We get to the airport and there is a craaaazy huge line to check in and drop bags. It looks like it’s hours long. Damnit!

Not even cute mascots can brighten this situation. Osaka’s mascot is the Taro Okamoto installation from the Expo. I remember seeing the little figure on the bar at Watering Hole our second night here. We have done a shit ton of stuff, it feels like a coon’s age since then.

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This smart cat is a clever banker

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This massive line is unbearable. We just watch the time click down. Baggage system looks brutal and there are absolutely zero English announcements so we don’t know if there’s a problem, delayed flights or what. Just have to wait it out. Show up 2 hours early and feel rushed the whole time.

Finally things pick up and we actually get through with a bit of time to spare. We go on a Duty Free shopping spree. Sake. Yuzu Gin?! Woot! Every known flavor of kit kat.

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Well now we have 2 big duty free bags to add to our ridiculous collection of Japanese goodies. Can’t say I’ve ever gone this nuts on souvenirs on any other adventure.

We’ve got just enough time to grab some ramen and a couple beer before we board. It’s about as good as you’d expect airport ramen to be. Not good.

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We get to the gate and they’re starting to board. Hopefully our seat gamble works out again. We picked an aisle and a window seat again in the hopes that the middle one is left empty. If that doesn’t work out, hopefully we’ll have someone as rad as Planetary Materials Matt to sit with like on the flight over.

Wait a sec… is that a Star Wars plane?! Are we boarding onto BB8? Nooo they’re retracting the gangplank. Oh wait… wow, I think we’ve got a Star Wars plane. Kind of ironic that we watched that Star Wars morn porn earlier. I hope it’s as baller as that Hello Kitty flight we got back from Hong Kong.

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This is great, they’re playing the theme from A New Hope while we board and there’s a stuffed Yoda in the attendant area.

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And look at that, the gambit worked! No one in the middle seat, bonus comfort for the next 12 hours! I guess this move always works. You either end up getting the whole row to yourself or you get someone in the middle and surprise them with a seat upgrade to the window or aisle so that you can sit together anyways. It’s better than picking the middle to begin with, that’s for sure.

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This calls for a celebration, two dry sakes please!

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I’m in and out of dreamland most of the flight. I watch the Dark Tower. Not great. Pass out again. Get another sake. Watch some more terrible blockbusters. Fall asleep. I wake up to the BB8 attendant handing me a VOML sticker. Oh right, I was worried about getting another fish dish on the flight and opted for the vegetarian. I’ve never been a VOML before.

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Ahhhh this looks like shit haha. I think they spelled Vomit wrong.

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And then of course Queenie gets this assortment of nummies and there’s no fish at all.

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Queenie and I spend some time going through trip pics on the flight. Wowsers, we did a loooot of stuff. Amazing how much you can fit into every day for three weeks. Gonna sleep well when we get home.

What an amazing place Japan is, I absolutely love it. The people, the food, the culture, the architecture, the scenery. The mastery they achieve at everything they do. The respect. How clean and safe all of the cities area. The futuristic toilets. Efficient transit. The jazz music. The whacky shows and art. The cosplay. The rich history in their temples, shrines, and castles. The burgeoning craft beer scene. There’s a bit of everything here. More than most places and all of it somehow fits into a conveniently small area to travel around.

I loved the chaos and never ending things to do in the big cities and then the slower pace and space of the rural areas. I can honestly say it’s been a perfect trip. I knew this was going to be stellar but it far exceeded even what I thought it would be.

Maybe most notable is that there’s a fundamentally different attitude in Japan’s people. One of decency and courtesy, respect and honor. It’s engrained in their morale make up and comes across naturally and authentically. It’s refreshing. At no point did I come across bravado, entitlement, disrespect, never even heard a complaint. I never once felt uncomfortable, awkward, out of place or not accepted. These are reeeeal people, a fine societalal example, we could certainly learn a lot from them.

I’m so happy that I chose this as the time to propose to Queenie too. Now we have these incredible memories here and a perfect excuse to get back for an anniversary sometime in our happy future together.

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The sun starts coming up over the rippled cloud banks outside the window. It feels transformative. Back home with new perspectives for a new day.

Safe and sound back in California. Thanks BB8!!

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We started with 2 lightly packed backpacks. Now we have this.

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We take the bus to the train to the uber to home.

Ohhh Tanuki are you ready to see your new home??!!

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Nice Tanuki. Sweet Tanuki! You made it safe and sound.

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And so did this insane mountain of Japan swaaaag. Christmas shopping done!

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“Ohh the photo booth pictures finally got emailed!”, “No way? Let’s see em!”

OOOOOHHHH>FUUUUUCK>YESSSSSSSHHHHH!!! These are hilarious!

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The crossed eyed one hahahhaahahahahah

 

 

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