Hello from Japan!!
After all the stress of thinking about coming to a (really) foreign country, getting here was easy...
The airport? It was a piece of cake!
In fact, before taking off in Detroit, I inferred that the Nagoya airport probably wouldn't be nearly as bad as I thought, considering 1/5 of the passengers were English-speaking Anglos.
I was right. The airport was easy. It was nearly empty, all but my flight. Signs were clearly marked in English, and I even had my temperature checked before I was able to proceed to immigration. Customs was a joke (should have packed more dangerous stuff...), and I was out the door in less than 20 minutes, landing to shuttle.
To be honest, it was the flight that sucked....
In comparison to my last three international flights (on both Air Tahiti and Quantas), this one ranked at the very bottom in regards to service, entertainment, and comfort.
You see, I was expecting, as you would on a 12-hour flight, for some in-flight entertainment in the form of tv screens usually (in my experience and that of others I know, on flights of this length) placed in the back of the seat in front of you. Usually, 20 or so movies are available for you to choose, as well as games, sports, radio, and a flight tracker, showing you where the plane is on a digital map as well as local, arrival, and departure times and temperatures.
Instead, on this flight, there was one tv screen at the front of the cabin, and it was broken. Therefore, through the whole trip, I had no idea how much time had elapsed, was remaining, or our flight path, which, on a 12-hour flight, is good information to keep you sane. The chairs were less than comfortable, and we were not given the usually complimentary packages of earplugs, eye patches, socks, headphones, and wet wipes to make the trip more comfortable.
We chased the sun the whole way, so it was never dark on our trip. For 6 hours of it, the cabin windows remained closed so that people could sleep. I think artificial darkness is creepy.
The flight attendants were far from friendly or apologetic when both my dinner and breakfast choices were unavailable when it was my turn to choose. Needless to say, I left the plane sick and hungry.
My favorite part, thought, turned out to be the self-entertaining game of 'How-long-will-it-take-before-the-flight-attendant-sees-that-my-call-light-is-on-so-I-can-get-a-damn-glass-of-orange-juice?' After about 10 minutes of annoyed waiting, I decided to be equally as annoying and press my call light on and off, over and over again, thus, making it the self-etnertaining game. She wasn't real happy when she came over, but neither was I.
The old man next to me and I were separated by one empty seat, which I had hoped for when I chose my seat earlier in the day. I used this extra space to lay down during the flight, finally falling asleep around hour 9 (I JUST can't sleep on planes). I am a fidgity rester, and I am sure that he was less than thrilled to be seated next to me. I am also sure that he had the bladder of a camel, as I kept trying to wait until he got up to go toilet so that I could as well, which didn't work as he didn't pee during the whole trip (no joke). When I finally DID get to the bathroom, I noticed that I had popped a small blood vessel in my eye. I guess my eyeballs couldn't take the strain of my bladder being that full either.
But, as I flew in over the mountains of Japan, watching the sun setting behind, I knew it would be all ok....