Home, Sweet Home

Continued from Tokyo Day 5.

We are headed home today!!! So very excited!! What we are not excited about is that our flight leaves at 12:05am the next day. This means we need to check out of our hotel in the morning and be out and about all day until our flight takes off at around midnight. We looked into having a late checkout but it was 50% of the daily rate to extend our stay until 5pm, so it wasn’t worth it.

We also thought about spending an evening chilling at a Japanese hot spring close to the airport, but they all had separate sex baths, so we nixed that idea. Idea would be outdoor mixed bath with swimsuit required…which probably doesn’t really exist in Japan.

So much luggage. The two giant stuffed animal takes up our entire new duffel bag.

By 11am, we had checked out and stored our luggage with the hotel. Now, some lunch. The forecast was for rain today, checked the forecast again this morning and it seems like it’ll stay dry…but hot.

Back walking through Kabukicho. This place never fails to amuse me.

That looks like the same collapsible shotgun used in Jurassic Park!

Cool window display.

We were so impressed by the curry that we had yesterday we decided to have it again today for lunch. We found a location even closer to us, located in Kabukicho.

The restaurant is 24 hours, and there’s a guy passed out asleep at the counter.

Just couldn’t resist getting the same thing again. Soooo delicious!!

Tried it…was it more delicious? Maybe. It’s hard to tell since the curry is so delicious already.

The dirty streets around Kabukicho. Kind of surprised me a little actually. I’d figured that they’d have a cleaning crew clean it every night after most of the late night crowds have gone home.

Into Shinjuku station. Needless to say, we got lost again.

Our two week JR passes expired yesterday, so today we’ll need to buy actual tickets. Same ticket system as the subway, so we’ve got this down!

You know, just chilling on the platform in my kimono. This is actually pretty common to see.

Reached Mitaka, I guess it would be considered a suburb of Tokyo. Headed to the Ghibli Museum. Let’s hope the tickets that we struggled to buy at Lawson when we first arrived in Japan will work and we’ll be let in.

Hot in the sun, fortunately, there’s a shaded walkway. Occasionally, other pedestrians would pass by us on this walk. Then we crossed paths with this family of 3, father, mother, and young daughter. The whole family insisted on taking up the ENTIRE sidewalk and even when we came close and were standing off to one side, they would not budge until finally they had almost run into me. Can you guess what country they are from? I’ll give you a hint, it starts with a C and ends with an A with H, I and N in between. Rudest culture ever.

Nice, Sprint Blue RS4 Avant.

America has by far the biggest ambulances of any country that I’ve ever visited.

Reached the park, and the museum is located in the park, so almost there.

Tennis in the heat and in the sun, but wearing long sleeves to keep their skins white. Japanese just naturally have lighter skin color compared to some other Asians, so they didn’t seem to be as obsessed with whitening cream and covering every inch of their body from the sun and using umbrellas.

Almost snapped it and fell on my ass.

Ghibli Museum, this is the business end.

The front end.

Roof top garden of the museum.

It’s not time to head inside the museum yet. We’ve got about an hour until our entry time(2pm) as stated on our tickets.

There’s this cafe right across the street, so we’ll chill here until it’s time to head in.

Built in bird cages surrounds this entire cafe. Pretty neat.

Definitely a girl’s cafe. All the other guys in here were brought in by their girls, and I think many of them were waiting to go to the museum like us.

One of the museum buses.

Cafe was nice, but cheap it was not. Our two cups of coffee cost us something like $17, more than the cost of our super delicious curry lunch. It was a damn good iced coffee though…

Time to head in.

Pretty cool eh.

As we waited in line, they came by to check our tickets, and ours passed muster!!! Awesome!! We were pretty confident that they would, but you’d never know.

No photos allowed inside the museum, so you’ll have to visit it yourself. It’s pretty awesome if you grew up watching Studio Ghibli films.

The first floor was crowded, so we decided to get away from the crowd by going to the very top floor and work our way down.

On the roof top, the only place where photos are allowed.

Everyone lined up to take photos with the statue, but the employee(with hat on left) kept on telling people not to line up…why not? It makes it so much easier and orderly to line up and wait your turn.

And we are done with the museum, plus some little gifts that we got at the souvenir shop. That souvenir shop was a madhouse, everyone who visited the museum wanted to buy something.

Walked to the train station to catch a train back to Shinjuku.

How cute, the logo for this moving service has a momma cat carrying a kitten.

It’s late afternoon, and the trains are a little crowded. We are not looking forward to having to squeeze in with a lot of people later on after we pick up our giant packs from the hotel.

When we got to Shinjuku Station, we paid extra attention on the best possible route which connected the station to our hotel via the underground passages. After we get our packs from the hotel, we want to stay underground where it’s cool and take the closest possible route. Getting lost while hauling heavy packs is no fun.

Back at the hotel, this is one of the stalls in the lobby toilet. I am going to miss all these bidet toilets in Japan…well, except for that one toilet in Osaka where the damn lid kept closing on me midstream!

I look ridiculous with all this stuff. We suck at packing light. But mostly, we suck at self control with claw crane.

Burn! We finally did it! We made it all the way from our hotel to our platform in Shinjuku Station without getting lost once!!

To our surprise, our first train wasn’t too packed. We even got seats!

Then a transfer to our second train that will take us to Haneda airport.

This train was crowded, and it was standing room only. One easy ride out of two isn’t too bad.

Tired of walking, I think I’ll start flying now. Got to the airport and immediately got one of these carts, ahhhh. Both of our shoulders have started to hurt from carrying our packs around on this trip. Hopefully they’ll recuperate in time back in Austin for the European leg of the trip.

Oh yeah!!! A 7 Eleven!!….wait…does that say dental clinic? Why is there a dental clinic at the airport? Oh, I am here for a long layover, might as well get a root canal while I am at it…

Last chance to eat the delicious green tea ice cream in Asia. When we get back to America, it’s back to the over sweetened and extra fatty not as delicious green tea ice cream.

We were starving and getting hangry by the time we got to the airport, so must eat more food.

Over 6 hours until our flight takes off. We thought about hanging out around Shinjuku for a few more hours then coming to the airport later, but we figured that if we were going to hang out at a cafe or a restaurant, one in the airport is just as good and we don’t have the stress of having to get to the airport.

With about 6 hours to go until our flight takes off, we went to the check in counter to inquire when they’ll start the check in process. Now, they said. Awesome!!! We don’t have to carry around our heavy packs anymore!!

Now, time to walk around the terminal and see what it has to offer.

An optometrists inside the airport too. For some reason, doesn’t seem as odd as dental office.

Ohhh, an observatory on the top floor of the airport.

This is kind of cool, if you like airplanes.

Best part about this observatory. There’s a cafe that serves beers and you can just sit in the nice weather outside and watch planes take off and land. Neat.

Tokyo skyline in the distance.

Boeing 787.

Tokyo lights up at night. Big fan of this observatory, being able to sit outside in the nice breeze and have a couple of beers.

Time for dinner.

Our last chance to eat rotating sushi in Japan! Definitely gonna miss this back in Austin.

Woah!!! When it was time to get the check, our waitress came by and waves this wand at the plates and it instantly tabulates the cost. Cool! I guess all the plates contain RFID chips or something of that sort.

After dinner, we went through security and waited and waited and waited.

Finally time to board.

Not too bad of a flight, only like 9 and a half hours.

Breakfast is served.

The blue pacific as we are closing in on LA. Not too bad of a flight overall.

Reached LA.

Getty museum.

The weather is pretty good today in LA. After China, the smog in LA seems like child’s play.

Yup, on our way home!!!

Of course, having to walk far from international terminal to domestic at LAX. Lame.

Interesting choice in airport art.

We sit down to eat inside an airport restaurant, and yup we are back in America where the portions are Giant!!(RL already ate two of her chicken tenders) Had totally forgotten about how big the portions are in America.

Another 6 hours of waiting here. Sigh…tired and bored. This wait was agonizing. So close to home!!

Our original return flight had us fly from Tokyo to LA, LA to San Francisco, then SF to Austin. One extra needless flight from LA to SFO. Right before we left on our trip, United decided to switch their departure times around and our layover in LA ended up being about an hour and a half, which is sometimes too short to make an international to domestic connection.

When I called United in Tokyo to try to get on another flight so that we could make our connection; as luck would have it, we ended up on Tokyo to LA, and then LA straight to Austin. The best part being that since they had no more economy seats on the LA to Austin flight, we got free upgrade to Economy Plus. I’ll take that.

Finally! This flight also departs at midnight.

Almost home!!

The lights in LA as we took off.

Austin as we are making our approach. I never knew how much brighter LA is than Austin at night. Kind of blew my mind.

Back in Austin!!!!

Waiting for our luggage, the first bus comes at 5:30am. Let’s hope that the luggage doesn’t take forever to come out…

All of our luggage arrived and it’s time to get on the bus home.

They raised prices by 50%.

On the dot…then again, it is the first bus of the day.

My little hitchhiker sticker is still on my pack. It’s now traveled half way across the world.

Almost home!

Home, Sweet Home!!

That was my longest trip ever, just a tad bit over two and a half months. We took 13 flights, 11 intercity trains, 3 really long bus rides across Cambodia, more subway and local trains than we care to count up. It’s good to be home, really good to be home. Recuperate for a couple of months, then onwards to a shorter European leg of our honeymoon.

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