Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I'm Back

So I made it back in one piece and relatively no worse for wear. The trip back to Japan from San Diego is one long day of traveling - about 24 hours straight in various forms of transport.

Tuesday started at 10am local time with a 100 minute car journey from my San Diego suburb of Carlsbad to LAX, where my sister and niece saw me off. Boarded the Thai Airways airplane and was pleasantly surprised to find that the plane was only about 1/2 full, so I got to spread out a bit and take up two seats, which makes it a much more tolerable 12 hour flight.

Flight was uneventful and went smoothly and we landed on time in Osaka at Kansai Airport at about 5:45pm local Japan time on WEDNESDAY. So I’ve already lost most of a day simply due to the time difference. I was too late to take the series of trains that got me to Osaka for my departure, so I was stuck taking the “night bus” from Kobe to my local eki (station) in Izumo. The night bus leaves the Sannomiya Eki in Kobe at 11:30pm for Izumo, so I had about 5 1/2 hours to kill. I hung out in the airport for a while, which was pretty empty since it was a Wed. night. I had to take a 60 minute bus from the airport to Kobe, which cost 1800 yen, about $18. I boarded the bus at 8:10 and was in Kobe by 9:15. I was able to buy my overnight bus ticket to Izumo at the helpful tourist info booth at Kansai Airport, and that cost an even 5000 yen ($50). So it cost me just shy of $70 to get back home, but actually more like $90, cuz you have to add in the 2200 yen i spent on a taxi from the Izumo eki to my apartment. (Had to take the taxi cuz I had two really heavy suitcases with me) This is compared to the almost $140 it cost me to get from the Izumo eki to Kansai Airport in March when I took the three trains, including the shinkansen, the bullet train. So even though the night bus isn’t much fun, it’s way cheaper - which is a good thing.

The night bus was also only about half full, so we all spread out and settled in for the 6 hour journey. Even though it doesn’t actually take 6 hours to drive from Kobe to Izumo, the bus still arrives at Izumo eki at 6am, because the driver stops a few times just so the bus can keep to the time table. Pretty weird, but most of the passengers just go to sleep, so it really doesn’t matter much. Besides, what was I gonna do differently if I arrived at 5am instead of 6am - I would have gone home and crashed either way.

So after about 24 hours of semi-constant travel, I arrived back at my apartment at about 6:30am on Thursday, April 7th. I left the U.S. on Tuesday, the 5th. Time warp! But jet lag hasn’t been so bad, and I’m back in my regular rhythm already.

Friday, the 8th, was the first day back at work and the first day of the new Japanese school year. We had a small ceremony welcoming back the 8th and 9th graders at my junior high. Monday was the official opening ceremony and the arrival of the new 7th graders, most of whom know me already since I’ve been coming to their 6th grade classes at the various elementary schools I visit. So back to work and teaching. Feels good in a way. I’ll post more about the changes at my Jr. High soon and I hope to post pics of the opening ceremony as well as a few shots of San Diego I took during my vacation. And i should be able to update the trivia this week as well.

I’m glad to be back in Japan. While it certainly doesn’t yet feel like “home” - it’s where I hang my hat for now , so I was happy to get back to my apartment. I look forward to the coming spring and the warmer weather and everything is still new to me since it’s still my first April, May, June and July in Japan. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I am staying here until at least July of 2006 as I recontracted for a second year with the JET program.


1 comment:

Emily Watkins said...

"...pleasantly surprised to find that the plane was only about 1/2 full..."

When my dad visited in February, it was the same thing for him: he got three seats to himself both ways.

This is definitely NOT the case when you fly just before and after Christmas. >_<