Days 1 & 2 (28 1/2 hours long)
We woke up at 3am on Monday morning feeling oddly refreshed. We went to bed around 8pm. We expected to be tired, but it wasn't nearly as bad as we thought it would be. My dad got to our house by 3:45am, and ended up waiting around for 30 minutes for us to finish everything before we left for the Airport.
We got to Philly with plenty of time to spare. There were only around a dozen people waiting in front of us for security, so we were able to rush through in a couple minutes. The TSA agent at the gate even practiced her Japanese on Manami. She seemed happy about that.
As we sat around waiting for the plane for Chicago, we sat next to a crazy Brazilian girl who was around 25 years old. She was telling me all about how Horseshoe crabs have been copyrighted because they can cure numerous forms of cancer due to the magnesium their blood.. yeah, she was nutty. She also said how her mom had a higher up job in the US government, and was secretly buying a house in Argentina because she "knew things and didn't want to be here when they happened."
Aside from that, we met this really nice United Airlines representative who singled us out because of Natsumi and my shaved head. He's a fellow shaved head guy. He wrote on our tickets that it was someone's birthday so that we got to board the plane before anyone else. He also put our 2 carry on bags into our seats a few minutes before the plane was able to be boarded. On top of that, they gave us a free upgrade to Economy Plus (the leg room of business), and finally allowed Natsumi to sit in the cockpit with the pilots. She really seemed to enjoy it, and it was my first time seeing the cockpit of a newer plane.
The flight to Chicago was quick enough. We were pretty hungry when we arrived, so we ate at this Cuban/Mexican (I'm not sure which) restaurant which was the #1 choice for food at O'Hare airport. The food was delicious. Lots of guacamole.
When we boarded our flight to Narita (Tokyo Airport), we were back in economy, but we had a bulkhead seat. What that means is there was a wall in front of us, instead of another seat. As a result, you're given quite a bit extra leg room. That was nice. I wasn't looking forward to taking a 13 hour flight with cramped legs. We also had all 4 seats in the center row. This plane (777) had a 3 - 4 - 2 layout. It was great, as it allowed Natsumi to lay down over 2 seats while Manami and I sat in the other 2.
This flight was long and unbelievably boring. The seats had an AC plugin and tons of free movies on their built in video screens. I ended up reading a lot (100 pages in this Mike Tyson book), watching a really bad movie, playing on my phone and the handheld PlayStation. Manami and Natsumi watched Despicable Me about 3 times and tried to sleep. Natsumi really didn't want to sleep this flight, but we were able to get her down for around 3-4 hours total.
This flight, while extremely boring, was fairly uneventful until around the last hour and a half. We were experiencing some turbulence and Natsumi wanted to be held. I picked her up no problem, and she seemed to be doing fine. Then a couple of minutes later, she turned her head and threw up down my entire right side. Shirt was only hit a little. It was mostly on my arm and leg. This was extremely liquid vomit. and soaked right into my shorts.
I ran to the restroom to clean off using the crappy in flight sinks. It worked for the most part, but my pants were soaking wet with no way to dry them. As a result, I went back to my seat in my t-shirt and underwear. The stewardess understood Natsumi getting sick, but still yelled at me for a possible disturbance. I personally didn't hear any complaints, but it's possible. I remained pantsless the remainder of the flight, before finally putting them on again after we landed. They were still very damp, but it was tolerable.
I guess a combination of the turbulence and Natsumi getting sick caused Manami to get sick as well. She was doing quite well, and no longer seems nervous on the plane. I remember how much she hated flying when we first met. Anyway, the rest of the flight was easy. We landed and went through customs.
To explain the time zone difference, the 13 hour flight took 26 hours. Yes, we're only flying for 13 hours, but we land 26 hours later (Japan is 13 hours ahead of us). We arrived around 2pm on Tuesday.
Then we took a 1 hour train ride from Narita airport to Tokyo station. From there, it was a 3 hour bullet train ride to Kyoto station. This ride was mostly a blur as we were in and out of consciousness during the ride. Our hotel is connected to Kyoto station, and Natsumi is quite enjoying watching the bullet trains fly past from our room. That said, our room is completely quiet. I guess they have strong sound deadening around here, because we don't even hear a whisper from the trains that roll past all day long when they're all of 100 feet away without any obstructions between us and them.
Anyway, finally at the hotel so it was time to go to bed. Everyone was exhausted, so we all went right to sleep around 8:30pm.
Click on the tiny pictures to make them bigger.
Here is Natsumi in the cockpit.
This is an old picture of Kyoto station. I didn't take any good ones this trip, so I'm just showing this one instead.