Narita > LA > San Francisco ! Whew

Trip Start Apr 19, 2010
Trip End May 20, 2010

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Where I stayed
Best Western Express

Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Kids liked their first time landing in a plane.  Lauren absolutely loved it which was great as her first take off wasnt a big hit.  Just like being in a elevator ride she said, all smiles as we came in low over Japan.
First impression as 'grey' totally the dominant colour by far.  The sky was slightly overcast with relativly low clouds, and then when we broke through, there was more of the same down there.  Lots of what looked like rice paddies ?  Not sure, but from the air they looked like brown shiny squares. Dead flat too and at sea level as far as we can tell.
Narita is a cool airport, with Terminal 2 where we landed broken into two halves, joined by  a automatic 4 tram/train system.  See our first ride ...I was saying to Sean that they just go back and forth about 100 or 200 meters all day every day - and he replied "What a boring job that would be !" to which I was forced to agree.  Forgetting this was Japan, of course it was automated and running on a cable system. We all thought the toilets were ab-fab.  You didnt have to touch anything.  The taps and soap had sensors and the hand blowers were on steroids !  Watch out if you have fake nails on I reckon.  Sean and myself had a great laugh as the floor level toilets - see photo ...  I tried to explain it best as I could, thinking that for a modern city alot of people must still adhere to traditional methods ??
We seriously contemplated visiting Narita for 3 hours, as we are prefectly allowed, as the US visa also covers Japan. ( Dont mention the war I suppose lol).  Sean has just woken up bright as a daisy after literally crashing as soon as he got on the plane to LA.  He missed dinner as it was the middle of the night for him ? Im getting confused with timezones as it is without backtraking too much lol.
Anyway, we sussed it all out, and even filled out the custom declarions and everthing, and made it as far as the customs area and decided it was too risky as tiredness was setting in and it felt all too rushed and chaotic in a strange country with no forward planning.  All is not lost though, now we feel confidant visiting Narita on the way home. Its only 15 minutes to the city, and weve worked out a 2.5 hour trip will give us 3 hours to clear customs on the way in.  1 hour was the advice the cabin crew gave us. We are going to look up some sights (1 or 2) and a quick authentic jap meal would be awsome.
We then had a rest, with Char grabbing some Z's after a sleepless Tuesday night flight. Next up was lunch in a cafe slash resturant called "Asian Bowl Bowl" which was slightly amusing.  I of course asked for Teriaki Chicken, so i could compare it to all the haunts I vist in Perth, but of the 12 dishes on their plastic laminated menu, that wasnt one.  I ended up having a fantasic Chicken Katsu, the sauce was awsome and came with a extra side dish ( you guys know how I love sauce too ) and the Miso soup was great too - probably my imagination by now.
Souveiner wise, Sean and I went window shopping throug all the super expensive duty free fancy pants shops while Char relaxed with Lauren.  The Japanese staff were so desperate to please, I was fooled into thinking I might actually be a serious shopper !  The most expensive Necklace I could find cost 4.3 Million yen which = 46k US and the best 18 crt gold + diamond watch topped out at a cool 55k.  I actually asked to see the most expensive watch they sold, and to my inner smile but mock offended exterior she automatically assumed I was joking ! lol. I completed the charade by asking for 6 to be boxed up as gifts after a quick inspection for my poker buddies back home. This earned me a traditional embarresed japanese giggle covered by a hand and quick bob,  Sooo close guys ...  I did pickup a small box of wasabe Kit-Kat bars - and they are pretty good ! Lauren and Char passed but to my horror Sean likes them as well.
The take off from Narita was much better for Lauren, it didnt worry her much at all and Char was a trooper. Anyway, right now we are 3 hours from LA over the Pacific Ocean and the sun is brightning the sky. Sean has woken up a while agom and Laren has been asleep for about an hour on and off. Char is lightly dozing - if you can even call it thgat on the plane - proper sleep is hard to come by.  I have been wide awake all flight, and yesterday in Narita and I'm wondering when it will hit me. Still pumped and on a high.  Oh yeah, that reminds me.  There was this real nice fancy stall setup outside a liquor duty free shop, with free samples of this really expensive Japanese home grown whisky.  The bottle has 12 facets for luck etc and it was fully Feng Shoed up.  Of couse each time I passed it, I would accidentally catch their eye, and be forced to have a sample.  After 3 times someone put a stop to that hehehe, but man it was a nice drop.
Ill sign off now with 2 hours and 2 minutes till landing and 1112 miles to go.  We are hooning at 668 Miles an hour at 37,000 feet.  Gotta love the imperial system.

Super fast update before I goto bed.  We are safe and sound in our hotel.  We flew into and out of LA within 2 hours, which was juuust enough time.  We boarded with 15 mins till takeoff !   All are in Bed and I will be joining them very soon.  We checked in after landing at San Francisco Airport showered, changed and grabbed some dinner. Fittingly enough, we had macca's for a quick fix, which enabled me to nicely tick off one goal, which was to compare Miccy Dee's.

Everything except the food was different.  The staff all wore their own private home clothes out the back, and 3 different people served the order, all wearing a diff colour coded uniform - strange. 

One other strange thing is the toilets, which are over half full of water !  Our water level is right down in the neck of the bowel right, which means you really have to sink one a-midships to score a direct hit back up the spout.  But these versions really make a splash, and a normal load becomes a marathon 3 flush session due to the reduced carrying capacity !  
Well gd nite, see you in the next update.

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Peta on

Hey guys, we are so happy for you all (and very jealous). Keep the pics coming and have a blast. Love Pete, Ben, Mum, Dad and boys. xxxx

Trev on

well Cam a very informative first entry.. like it lots, be interestiong to see if you keep up the pace with the blog entries, I hope you do.
As usual there were all the things I expected from you and more... anything associated with toilets and/or bottoms

good work! :)

Ritchie on

Nice blog Cammo! Sounds like your getting into the whole travelling journalist role. I'm glad your family is travelling well. Keep feeding us the news :-)

TomP on

Hey Cammo, glad you got there safely. Not to worry about the shopping in Japan, you can still get us those watches on your way back with the winnings and all. I'll hold off getting my new watch then. Looking forward to the next update. Maybe you could renew your wedding vows in one of the cheesy wedding chapels in Vagas, send us pics if you do.

Regina on

Glad you all got there safe and well. Keep the updates coming. Have a great time. Love to all. Cheers.
PS still so very jealous.

olivia on

hi lauren im glad you made it safely, but at school we can all tell your not there because when you would say somthing it would go all quiet!
Miss you heaps and heaps!

from your bffl

and the Hains!

cammo on

Hi all still have a little jet lag,slept for over 12hours after i arrived, but still a little wozzy. Having a great time so far, still very surreal. cams will be updating later tonight with todays adventure.
luv char

Uncle Will & Aunty Jenny on

So clever vegemite kid!!!!

Happy you are enjoying trip. Uncle Will and I so miss San Francisco!

Stay safe love to all. xoxox

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