As I sit in my apartment browsing Facebook and watching a Godzilla special on NHK all I can think is Why does Japan have to wait for the latest Godzilla movie to be released?!?!?! No, really, why? I understood waiting for the Thor sequel and the second Hobbit film, but Godzilla!
Okay, enough whining. I haven’t posted in, um, well, awhile. Between work, internet connection issues, and Golden Week there just wasn’t any time. Here we go…
Golden Week is a magical combination of national holidays that lead to about a week of time off for most people. It straddles April and May and this year was extra magical. Because of the way the holidays fell and the fact my work week runs Tuesday to Friday I ended up with an extra day off. Yep, calendar magic!
What did I do with ten whole days off from work? I went to the United States for six days. Yeah, crazy math is about to happen. You may want to sit down for this part. First, I purposely did not sleep. I went and ate sushi for breakfast at around 5:30 Sunday morning. There where tourists all over Kanazawa taking photos and such. Then I stopped at Starbucks before heading home to grab my luggage and head to the station.
I took the bus from Kanazawa station to the Komatsu airport. There are two buses – the rapid express and the regular. I took the rapid express. It isn’t that expensive and makes getting to the airport really easy. Next I took a flight from gate two (there are only two gates at the airport from what I’ve seen) to Haneda. The Komatsu airport is small but convenient and the service is amazing.
The flight is about an hour and you pass Mt. Fuji on the way. Note to self, next time I take this flight book a left hand side window seat, not a right hand side…yeah, I was on the wrong side when the pilot announced 富士山. Yes, they have beverage service and you even get a snack on your one hour flight. All in all, flying in Japan is not like flying in the States, at least in my experience.
I picked up my luggage at Haneda (which they apologized for in Komatsu), bought a bus ticket, and got on the bus to Narita Airport. Yes, the bus is a bit more expensive than the bus from Kanazawa to Komatsu, but again, it wasn’t that bad. Around $30 or so. You let them know which terminal you are flying out of and they put you luggage in according to where you are getting off. When you get to your terminal, your luggage is already unloaded and waiting for you. It is a very ordered and efficient system. The bus ride is about an hour. I kept nodding off. As you enter Narita, the bus has to stop for a passport check. It is a quick process and you don’t even have to get off the bus for it.
At Narita I was feeling a little sleep deprived. I checked in and thought I only had about an hour before my flight. I ate a sandwich and downed a beer quickly before heading to my gate and realizing…yeah, I had a whole extra hour. Oh well, time to relax before the long flight ahead.
The flight was pretty good. I managed to doze briefly but did not get any real sleep. And they had bananas on the plane. Free, non-first class bananas! Before you think I’ve gone off the deep end because I’m so happy about bananas you have to understand that fruit is expensive in Japan. I almost paid around $10 for a half-pint of blueberries just before Golden Week. I said almost. Instead I splurged on the $6 strawberries. Yeah, I ate a banana on the plane and it was sooo good.
And this is where the math gets a little crazy and magical things happen. I landed at JFK before I left Narita. On the same day. Okay, so anyone who has made the flight before knows this (and I’ve made the flight before), but still…you land before you takeoff.
Okay, nerdy-ness or geeky-ness or whatever over…flying Tokyo to New York is kind of cool. Flying New York to Tokyo – not so much. So the US bound trip it’s almost like you don’t lose any time. I mean, you do, but you can trick your brain into thinking you didn’t. Thanks, International Dateline. However, the trip back works exactly the opposite. The flight is just under 14 hours. You arrive about 28 hours after you depart. Yeah, International Dateline pulls a fast one on you.
How did my trip back go? Well, there were some traffic issues getting to JFK, but I made it. The ANA employees are amazing. I called ANA on the way to the airport and they let their airport crew know I was running late. I made it with more than enough time in the end, so flight issue solved. I flew into Narita and did not have to take a bus to Haneda as my flight to Komatsu was leaving from Narita. Nice, no transfer between airports for sleepy, gross-feeling me! Take that International Dateline! From Komatsu I took the bus back to Kanazawa station and hopped in a taxi back to my apartment.
So, crazy calendar magic combined with the international dateline means I spent six full days in the United States, three days traveling, and one day readjusting over Golden Week.