My first blog, titled Bright Green Gaijin Pants, was a chronicle of my time as an exchange student in Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan. I’ve decided to repost its contents on this blog. For a full list of all these posts, click Bright Green Gaijin Pants on the menu, above.
The first blog post of any real worth that I published from Japan was far larger than it had any right to be. It was actually several posts combined and posted at the same time because I didn’t have internet access when I first got to Japan. I will be reposting them seperately, as they were meant to be. And hey, this segment isn’t as long as the others have been. Whee!
On to Kushiro
Originally published on October 16, 2005.
When the alarm went off, I reset it for 4:35. When it went off again, I reset it for 4:40. Then I got up. I did morning things, then went down to the lobby. Before checking out, I got on line and checked some Neopets stuff, as well as sending an e-mail to everyone to say, “Yo, I am alive.” It seemed like my contacts on gmail did not include someone, and it wasn’t until I got to the part about the hotel key card in writing this that I realized that for some reason, Zeal was totally not on there. Sorry, Zeal. m(_ _)m Did Gokuiroth tell you? :s
Anyway, I checked out in time to catch the 5:40 AM shuttle to the airport. No lateness again for me! Everything happened smoothly. The young woman at the ticketing counter seemed to be in training, but there was no slowdown of services. Even if there had been, I would have been fine with it. I usually am fine with new trainees, but even if I wasn’t, the service I had received the day before was so good that I’d have been patient anyway. At one point they informed me that there was a flight change charge. It didn’t surprise me, so I was like, *sigh* “Hai.” Then they told me the charge was 100 yen.
What do they charge you for stuff like that in America? I doubt it’s as low as like 90 cents. That’s a rough equivalent of how much I paid. Delight!
So anyway, I got through that with a pink airline ticket and a Yokoso Japan! ticket envelope. I went straight to my gate — skipping food because I wasn’t all that hungry and I was damned if I was gonna miss this flight — and sat down. I was at the lower domestic gates. And very early.
While waiting for boarding time, I took this picture of a TV that was playing ads for those who waited. In retrospect, I wish the picture I had gotten was of the segment boldly labeled “Space Station TV”, but by the time it came around again I was heavily enmeshed in starting this blog post in notepad.
The Japanese domestic boarding seems both less organized and more efficient to me than its American counterpart. See the picture below for how close the “gates” are to one another.
This is, indeed, where boarding passes were collected. But they didn’t start taking people until 15 minutes before the plane’s scheduled departure. When I got through the gate, I got onto another Friendly Airport Limousine. The bus left for the plane 10 minutes before the scheduled departure, completely full of people.
That took us straight to the plane, a trip of about 2 minutes. There were two doors open on the plane, and thus, two staircases. Somehow, a plane big enough to have three seat sections filled up with everyone stashing their bags with plenty of time to leave on schedule 8 minutes later. None of this, “Now boarding section 3,” crap. Just pure, unadulterated, “All aboard!”
It was a short plane trip, 1 hour and 20 minutes. I’m pretty sure the seats on that Japanese plane were wider than the seats on its American counterparts, since my hips didn’t feel squished for once. No leg room, but it’s Japan, so I expected that. Got work on the blog post in up to… some point. I was gonna remember exactly where so I could tell you, but I’ve forgotten.