Day 1 (3/14/17)
I slept exactly zero minutes the night before we left. Between packing, doing last minute things around the house, and playing five circuits of Mario Kart 64 with Kevin (Megs’ brother, who is staying at, and watching over, our house and cat with his wife Morgan), I was doing anything I could to stay up all night so I could sleep a majority of our 12+ hour flight to Japan. But during that time, especially in the last hour or so before we left, it started to hit me that we were leaving the country… for 90 DAYS. While it’s exciting and exactly what we’ve been talking about for months, it’s also somewhat terrifying. Whether it be the lack of sleep or the nerves catching up to me that triggered it, my body decided this was the appropriate time to have a mini panic attack.
Kevin drove us to the airport for our flight from Denver to Los Angeles. We reached our gate and the first boarding group had already lined up when a voice came over the loud speaker. “The flight to Los Angeles has been delayed until 9:20am.” Great. Now we’ll only have an hour and a half to de-plane, get to the international gate at LAX, go through security again, and make our flight. This is going to be cutting it close. We decided to call Customer Service for All Nippon Airlines (the airline we were flying to get to Tokyo) to see if there were any other flights we could catch if we missed this one. Nope. Not until the same time the next day, plus we would have to pay all the change fees and for an entirely new flights. Between the possibility of having to pay all those re-booking fees, being stuck in LA, the general anxiousness of leaving The States for three months, and the sleep deprivation, I was in rough shape.
Fast forward to LAX and the two of us rushing through the airport with our 20 lb backpacks. We get to the ticket counter and we’re told that our flight was delayed about an hour. Hooray! We were able to make it through security, find our gate, and even grab a pre-flight snack.
As we charged our electronics for the last few minutes before our flight, we realized a few things. First, it looked like an entire school of Japanese boys was on our flight. They were all wearing the same white button-down shirt with a dark blue blazer on top. As I looked at myself wearing a flannel that has a button missing (great choice as the only long-sleeved item I’ll wear for the entirety of this trip), I realized I may be underdressed for most of my time in this country. Second, we were pretty much the only non-Japanese people on this flight. Fingers crossed they speak some English so I can snag some beers on this flight. Lastly, when they said we could start boarding, everyone was super efficient when getting in, and creating a line. It seemed like no nonsense and everyone knew exactly what they were doing. Looking back at some of the boarding lines I’ve been in, this was on another level.
Cheers to crossing the Pacific and starting this adventure!