Monday, January 11, 2010

Tokyo for Christmas: the Wrap Up

SrA Nicholas S. Cox, the Country Chicken Girl and Mr. Travel
Last group picture in the lobby of our hotel.
Notice the red, white and blue Christmas trees!

Time to wrap this puppy up and put it in "one of the best times of my life" box. What an amazing trip! We really saw some awesome sights. I feel very blessed to have been able to see that part of the world and to finally be able to see Nick in his environment. I really miss him now, but am comforted by knowing that in May he will get stationed somewhere closer, prayerfully here in the states!

Various pieces of art at the hotel.
They look better if you click on them for a close-up, just
remember to hit your browser's "back" button to get back to the blog.

Our journey back home started at 11:00 am Tokyo time when we boarded the shuttle from the base to Narita Airport. Nick saw us off and I tried not to cry, like I always do, but I did. I hate goodbyes! I can't believe I am such a cry baby! I even cry at Hallmark commercials. LOL

Anyway, better move on or I'll start crying again. We got to the airport around 1 pm and had several hours to kill since our flight didn't leave until 6:30 pm. That was okay because it gave us time to eat one last meal of Japanese food besides the food that we would be served on the airplane. We ate at this restaurant that was a little different from what we were use to. It was self serve, kind of like a cafeteria. There were several places you could go to order your food, each place had different types of food. When you ordered your food, they gave you a little beeper that went off when your food was ready. You then went back to the place you ordered your food from and got it. As soon as we walked in, the hostess knew she would have to explain things to us. LOL

After lunch we did some shopping. It's hard to shop in airports with your carry on luggage. You know how it is when you are wearing a backpack that is the size of Texas and you are trying to maneuver through a store with breakables on shelves. "Excuse me, excuse me." "Watch out, you almost cleared that whole shelf with your backpack!" "Then here, you take the backpack so I can look around!"

Can you guess that Mr. Travel and the Country Chicken Girl are getting just a little tired of being with each other 24/7 for 9 days straight?! Mr. Travel finally takes all the carry on luggage including the backpack and sits outside each shop so the Country Chicken Girl can do the shopping.

Thankfully we didn't have much money left to spend because I was tired and not really in the mood to shop anyway. With our few gifts and one memento of the trip we headed through security down to our gate. We were both content with just going down there and sitting and doing absolutely nothing.

I have to back up to when we first arrived at the airport and was trying to figure out where to go to get our tickets and to check-in. I must tell you that this was the friendliest airline I have ever dealt with. We found the airline's counter, there was no line and about 20 employees standing around to help you. They weren't glued to a chair behind the counter, but they were actually on the floor and coming to you! One girl snatched us up, I showed here my e-ticket and she took us by the hand to a kiosk and showed us exactly what to do. When we had our tickets in our hands, she then told us exactly where our gate was. Wow, it was painless. Also the attendants on the plane coming and going were fantastic and genuinely friendly, caring, helpful and very nice. Young and beautiful girls I might add. Japan Airlines ROCKS! We made our way to the gate. Mr. Travel was exhausted and just napped, while I pulled out my laptop and did a little catching up on my blog.

Mr. Travel and the Country Chicken Girl waiting at Narita Airport

Hope that wasn't our plane! Nice full moon!

When is our plane leaving? Too bad for the glare on the window.

Google at the Airport!

About 45 minutes before we were to board the plane, there seemed to be a little more activity on the level above our gate. There was a balcony that had stairs that led down to the gate. You had to come down those stairs to get to the gate. We noticed that there were some airport security people up there and they weren't letting anyone come down to the gate. They were making announcements on the speakers, but we couldn't understand all of the announcement.

There was another English speaking couple sitting close by so I asked them if they knew what was going on. The girl was just as nosy as I was so she went up there to find out. When she returned she said that airport security was being heighten and they were rechecking all passengers with a pat down and going through their luggage. I was wondering if we would run into this heighten security since the Christmas day Detroit incident. Soon we were being patted down and they went through our luggage. That was exciting! Woke Mr. Travel up!

We boarded the plane and got settled in. We would arrive in San Fransisco at 10:30 am pacific time. I was really dreading the flight back since the flight there just about killed me. I was looking forward to watching "Julie and Julia" again, but it wasn't offered. What a bummer! I love that movie. I watched "Up" instead, and yes I cried! I started watching another movie with Richard Gere in it called "Hachi: A Dog's Tale" but didn't get to finish it before we landed. I now have it in my Netflix queue, but it's not available right now. I hope they get it because it was really good! This is what Netflex had to say about it, "When his college professor master, Parker (Richard Gere), dies, a loyal pooch named Hachiko (Japanese for "faithful dog") keeps a regular vigil -- for more than a decade -- at the train station where he once greeted the man every day." It is based on a true story so I guess if Netflix never gets it I could read the story. The film starts out in the mountains of Japan, looked just like the place we were when we went to the cave that one day. It was awesome!

Mr. Travel slept most of the way, I'm not sure if he watched a movie or not. When I wasn't watching a movie, I too slept. So needless to say, the flight wasn't near as bad this time. My butt was still a little sore, but nothing like it had been on the way there.

We arrived in San Francisco on time. After we got our baggage we had to go through immigration and customs, but didn't have any problems. We found our way to our connecting airline and checked-in ourselves and our luggage. Then we found our way through security again and to our gate. When we got to our gate, this jazz band was playing. They were pretty good and we had about 4 hours to kill so we sat and listened for a while. Now when ever I hear this song I'll be reminded of this trip!

Make sure to notice how much Mr. Travel is enjoying this experience. He is just a tad out of his "comfort zone!" LOL Not his idea of a good time sitting on the floor with a group of people you don't even know listening to jazz while his wife is video taping the band and passer-bys! Oh Mr. Travel, you make me laugh! Relax, lighten-up, get down, bust a move! "Boogie down, Danny!" Turn up your sound!

Our plane for Denver left at 3:00 pm and we arrived in Denver at 6:30 pm mountain time. When we got to Denver we grabbed our luggage and found the shuttle to our hotel. Arrived at the hotel, checked in, watched the rest of some college football game and called it a night. Here are a couple of pictures of our room. I was going to take more of the hotel, but was too tired.

Aloft Hotel in Denver, fun, modern and tech savvy! Very comfy bed!

Nice BIG plasma TV

Thankfully we had great weather driving home the next day. We arrived home to 7 kitties that missed us very much. And I missed them very much as well. I think that Mr. Travel missed them just as much as I did, but he didn't admit it. The boys were also on their way home for the cabin with Roger and Emily.

Whew... it was so nice to be home! What a blessing it is to have such wonderful neighbors who took care of things (cats, chickens, cows, buildings, feeding, watering, fixing fence, etc.) here at the farm while we were gone (in below zero temps with winds gusting to at least 50 mph.) Thanks, you guys are the best! We owe you one, actually we owe you several!

Home Sweet Home!


  1. Great pictures. I enjoyed reading bout the whole trip and seeing the pics. I feel like I was there with you, so now I have to go and see the REAL Mt.Fugi! I need to find out how you click on pictures to make them big on my blog, too!

  2. Penny, there is nothing to figure out about enlarging the pictures on your blog. They work the same as mine do. If I click on one of your pictures, I get a full screen version of it!