day 12 – last day :(

waiting for our flight in Narita

Nick’s flight was at 11am so he got up before 6 to ensure he didn’t miss it.  We got up to say goodbye, and promptly went back to sleep.  I couldn’t sleep well, so eventually just got up.  Jason was able to sleep until after 9am while I finished what little cleaning and packing we had left.

On our way out the day before, I had seen a really beautiful area that I wanted to explore for a bit.  It was only a few stops away and with our flight not leaving until 6:20pm, we had some time.  Before going to the station, we stopped at the post office to see about shipping a few of our larger items.  They didn’t have any boxes large enough so we went back to our place to drop them off.

We got off the train and walked a bit before making our way back.  (Turns out it was the wrong station, but it was still a pretty area.)

We stopped by Oven Fresh Kitchen to get some pastries to go, then returned to our place to grab our bags.  We were, thankfully, able to sit during the half hour ride to our transfer station.  We didn’t really have to deal with too many people the whole ride.  Because we were going to the station a few hours ahead of time, we were able to take our time getting around, using the elevator at almost every point.

We found lockers for our stuff, but had to take a few items out to get the larger bag to fit, then got our Skyliner tickets.  We would be leaving at 3:20pm and had about an hour and a half to kill.

We exited the station to see if another service could ship our stuff.  We found it easily enough but were told they wouldn’t be able to help us.

We headed back towards the station, getting more Cremia on the way to Ueno Park.  It was another beautiful day, with some random sprinkling despite the sunshine.  We left the park about 2:45 to retrieve our bags and wait for the Skyliner.

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The Skyliner has reserved seating so we found the section of the platform for our car and didn’t have to wait long before it pulled up.  Everyone arriving unloaded and we waited for them to let us on board.  We watched as the seats swiveled so that we weren’t sitting backwards and then were allowed to board.

The ride was about 40 minutes and we were dropped off at the 2nd and 3rd terminal train station.  We had to go up a few flights of escalators before making it to our floor.

Again, our bag was over the weight limit and they tried to convince us to rearrange our stuff so we wouldn’t be charged.  They seemed really surprised that we insisted that it’s okay for us to pay.

After checking our bags, we had to drop off our WiFi on the go device, which just required a post office box.  I should say here that I love eConnect Japan.  They made everything incredibly easy by allowing the customer to pick up and drop off at the airport.  We could have placed it in any post office box but wanted to make sure we had WiFi as long as possible.  They even provide the envelope.  And for the whole trip it only cost about$60.  My last time in Japan would have been much easier if I had had a smart phone and even just Google Maps.  We still got lost many times, just not as lost.

We got through security quickly and to our gate with about 40 minutes until boarding.  We had to sit on the tarmac for an hour, but I had downloaded a few movies on my phone, so was entertained during the wait.

We got to sit in the front of one of the section, in seats E and F (middle of the middle) and had lots of leg room.  As a result, we had to store our bags in the overhead bins during take off and landing.  We had thought that we just didn’t get to watch anything, but I realized from observing the man next to me, that the screens folded up from between the seats (herpa derp).  I was able to watch Creed during the flight.  My dad loves the Rocky franchise so I grew up watching them.  Now the only one I haven’t seen is Rocky Balboa.

waiting in Taipei

We made it to Taipei a little late and our final flight was also running a bit late.  We boarded and then proceeded to take our time taking off.  Again, I had stuff to entertain me, so I wasn’t too worried.

I watched a few movies (Joy, the beginning of Moana, the very beginning of The Descendents, We Bought a Zoo, and Passengers) but couldn’t stay awake (hence only some of Moana and The Descendents).  I ended up sleeping for about 2 hours and remained mostly awake during the last 6 hours of our flight.

It was sometime during the second flight that I noticed my feet really swelling up.  I think they had started to during our first flight, because walking to our transfer gate, my feet felt a bit tight in my shoes.  But it wasn’t until the second flight that I could really feel it.  Turns out this is caused by sitting with my feet flat for so long, which is what I had guessed.  It’s been going down, but my ankles are still noticably larger.  Super weird.

We landed a little after 8pm but were at the very back of theplane, and had to wait for all the other sections to unload first.  We then had to wait in line at customs, then a much quicker line to get to the baggage carousel, then one one last line to get to the main part of the airport.  By the time we got through all that, it was 9:45.  I hadn’t exchanged my bills and saw a foreign exchange booth next to an exit.  Upon arriving, we discovered that they closed at 9pm. -_- Hopefully we can exchange at a bank.

It is weird being home.  It will take a minute to adjust to the time, but I’m hoping that exhaustion will make it easier.  I went to bed at 1am, but awoke at 5:30am.

I really don’t want to go back to work or normal life.  I loved this time so much.  We all did, and have talked about “next time.”  We enjoyed each other’s company and it made the trip more of an adventure to go with a group.  Next time we’d like to explore beyond Tokyo, see some of the other big cities and less touristy parts.  I think those were my favorite parts, seeing things outside the big city.  I of course also loved all the parks we got to visit.  We would all like to have a better grasp of Japanese next time as well.  I’ve looked at some resources and plan on doing more research to see what’s out there to help us learn.  And of course, I can look forward to a visit from Mai in a few years.  Hopefully Yui can come as well.  We will all work on knowing each other’s language better the next time we meet.

I have one more post in mind about our Airbnb place, but otherwise, this is it for our 2017 trip to Japan.  Thanks for reading!