Friday, June 02, 2006

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Hello All,

After the months of waiting and preparing I am finally in Japan. Hopefully I will be able to keep the journal updated even thought I do not have internet in my new room. And hopefully I will not go insane from not having easy access to the internet for two months.

First, I will start with the trip over here. I was pretty uneventful, but still interesting as it was the first time for me to be traveling overseas. From El Paso to LAX was just as boring as any other plane trip that you could think of. I got to LAX and had to show my passport more times that I ever thought I would while I was still in the country. Then I got to the gate and realized that probably 90% of the people that I would be traveling with were Japanese, which was not a problem, I just assumed there would be more Americans on the plane. After I got on the plane, I found out that there would be plenty of entertainment for the trip over, but I don't know what I would have done for such a long trip without it. There were five or six movie channels and then about the same number of music channels, and all the movie channels just had the same movies that just repeated over and over (I think I was watched almost every single one), and then there channels with a camera out the front of the plane and one with a map of exactly where on the globe we were. We also got two meal good sized meals on the trip. I was going to be adventurous and try the Japanese food on the plane, but I decide that I would stick with western food as it might be the last time for any for a few months.

Nice view from the plane outside Salt Lake City

Something that was interesting was the route that we took. About ten seconds after we took off, we were over the Pacific Ocean, and I assumed that there would be very little to look at so I stopped looking out the window. Then about an hour later I looked out the window and to my surprise, we seemed to be over land, and it was as far as the eye could see. Then I looked at the camera pointed out the front of the plane and it showed water. Then I looked at the map and we were going straight north. I felt the urge to go tell the pilot that Japan is to the east not north of LA, but I resisted. As it turned out, I guess the pilot decided to take the scenic route to Japan and we ended up flying over Alaska and then nearly over Korea before coming back south to Japan. When I we finally landed I had to go through customs and everything which was actually a lot more simple than I thought it was going to be.

My first look at Japan
(and the first look a something besides clouds for about 10 hours)

I then had to figure out the train system. I found out how nice the Japanese people can be in trying to figure it out. After looking lost for a while a man came up to try to help me. He spoke English very well and even said that he had been to NM once (of course abq.). He then told me that I would have to wait for a little over an hour to get on the train. He said that he would help me get it changed, and said he would go with me to the train office while his friend watched out bags. My American instinct kicked in and told me not to trust him and definitely not let his friend watch my stuff while I was away, but they were big bags so I resisted the urge. To make a short story even shorter, he helped me get to Hagasi Hiroshima an hour soon than I would have and my bags were just fine. He even helped me on the train because part of our rides overlapped.

I finally got to my stop after changing trains a few times and falling asleep many more. I got finally met Dr. Yamamoto after talking to him many times only through email. We took a short trip (in his hybrid car), where the only thing that was interesting was trying not to freak out every time he turned into the left-hand lane. Well, I don't want to go on forever this time, I'll tell more about the room I am staying in my next post

Till next time,

Pics of the Planes and Trains
Just click on the pics for a biger size
(if you really want pics of the automobiles just ask)

Plane 1 (El Paso to Salt Lake City)

Plane 2 (Salt Lake City to LAX)

Plane 3 (LAX to Osaka, Japan)

in train 1(aiport to main station in Osaka)
This is the city of Osaka, where right next the the high rises, there are rice fields.

Train 2 (Osaka to Fukuyama)

Train 3(Fukuama to Higashi Hiroshima)

That's all Folks!


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