Gypsy's Travels

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Japanese Journey - The Beginning

I know I haven't finished blogging the trip to England yet, but I will get back to it. I have dragged my computer half way around the world to see if it will make a difference in my being able to keep up with the outflow of information. So far, it has been worth it!
I have had this trip planned for a long time. I don't normally like "tours," but this one is a little different. My interest in it is twofold - the focus is "Cloth and Clay," studying the pottery and weaving related to specific areas. The fact that I lived in Okinawa when the wounds of war were still fresh, was the 2nd temptation.

The initial information arrived just a few weeks prior to our departure. Typically, they had been tied together with a length of ribbon. The Japanese observe strict modes of conduct in all their dealings. For so many people to live together peacefully in such a small country, they need to be aware of those around them.

The information was appreciated and read but, of course, I went to the computer and explored, looking for even more.

October was such a busy month, I did not feel completely ready for departure from Denver on Saturday, 30 October. I had driven to Colorado Springs to visit ABW and family and pick up Em to accompany me on this Asian trip. Fortunately, Em's (charter) school felt the travel experience would more than make up for the time she missed in class.
Friday evening, I checked over everything to make sure it was all in order. The most important things are passport, credit card, and money, almost everything else can be replaced. ABW, the three children, luggage, and I piled into the car, for the trip to Denver. Since we had a 9 AM flight, Em and I planned to spend the night in a hotel rather drive so early in the morning. Thanks to 911, we would need to be at the airport 2 hours early to get through security in a timely manner. In, larger airports and on international flights, I usually aim for 3 hours just to be on the safe side .
The hour drive was long for the children. Andrew decided to entertain us with his rendition of a deaf opera singer hitting the high notes. When he discovered that this annoyed not only his mother and grandmother, but Abs as well, only continued distraction kept the peace. We kept them somewhat mollified with the usual car games. Nevertheless, we were all relieved to arrive on the outskirts of Denver where there were restaurants. There aren't many between Colorado Springs and Denver. We chose a place that sounded healthy and not too quiet - something about a Tomato - serving a salad buffet. I reached in my backpack for my pouch / purse which held lipstick, brush, and, of course, all those vital documents I mentioned before - passport, credit card, and money. A cold chill ran down my spine as I searched frantically for the pouch! A few minutes later, I had to publicly admit that it was missing. Not the way to begin an international trip. The good news, we had not stopped anywhere else; the bad news, it was back in Colorado Springs at the house.
It only made sense to feed the masses first, then we would have to drive back. Ultimately, we found the pouch where I had placed it after checking the contents, and Em and I repeated the Denver drive leaving two very sleepy children at home with ABW.
Early arrival at the airport was a good idea. It was very busy even at that early hour. We made it through all the hoops and relaxed with a breakfast snack, ready to board. Then came the news that our flight had been delayed an hour. The delay was actually in San Francisco, but Southwest Airlines was kind enough to allow us to wait comfortably in the terminal rather than on a crowded plane. My laptop was put to good use and there were electrical outlets by the seats in the waiting area. My cell phone was still working. I had scheduled our flight out of San Francisco with some leeway built in. We had a nice delay.
The flight from San Francisco to Tokyo was like riding in a rowboat during a storm. We were tossed, buffeted, shaken, and could hear the plane groaning and rattling. The woman seated beside me had a very active startle reflex. I hope all that plane's screws, nuts, and bolts were checked and tightened before the next flight.
We did finally arrive in Tokyo, made it through immigration, and customs, then boarded the limo-bus for the hotel. Em was really tired, but put the time to good use.
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Fortunately, it was almost bedtime when we arrived.


  1. I wondered how Em's school would handle her missing a couple of weeks of school. That would never officially happen out here as the school wouldn't receive their stipend from the state.

    Another reason why children of military personnel seem to grow up faster.

  2. She is in a charter school, so that seems to make a difference.


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