Japan 2004 Day 12: Tokyo to Los Angeles

Monday March 22, 2004
Packed up the bags at our hotel to get ready for the long trip back to the US. Both of us were sad to be leaving, but also looking forward to our normal food choices (let’s just say eating has been an adventure!). We left our bags with the hotel and headed over to Tokyo Tower to get a photo. Silly us, we packed our new TDR umbrellas in our bags and on the way to Tokyo Tower it started to rain (again lack of reading the weather) as soon as we got out of the subway station.

We darted to the tower from Roppongi saving us about 2 bucks in the process. Along the way we noticed some police activity around the Russian Federation embassy. As we passed, a bunch of police passed us heading in the other direction. When we crossed one major street, they closed off the entire road where we had been walking. After a quick photo op (we didn’t climb the tower just took photos), it was time to head to Harajuku so Daniel could get some last minute shopping done. On Takeshita street (where Jonathan had taken us the week before) we found the cutest pet outfit store. One could dress their pooch up as many characters including Donald and Mickey Mouse. It almost made me want a little wiener dog to dress up. Almost.

Next up on the highlights tour was heading back to Ginza to see the much talked about Sony Showroom. Sure there was some cool TVs and Camcorders but not nearly as impressive as I imagined. We then high-tailed it over to Mitsukoshi Department Store where I managed to find some Yu-Gi-Oh! cards for Kameron. Daniel and I fell in love over the food halls (very Harrods!) in the lower floor. So many amazing things to get and I wish we had come sooner! We decided to get some pineapple to enjoy back at the hotel later. Other items in the food hall: Amazing fresh breads, lots of strawberry items – you name it, they had it. One of my favorite items was Jello featuring a Cherry Blossom in it. I kept thinking “Excuse me, ma’am. There is a Cherry Blossom in my Jello!”

Back at the hotel, we gathered the luggage and enjoyed our pineapple. I called Jonathan and thanked him again for all his help in the previous week with getting us orientated to Tokyo. He told me his photos were already online and that he had fun and wished we had more time to hang out. I concurred and hope to see him when he returns to the states or wherever he goes next.

Time to get to the airport! Lot’s of stairs between us and Narita, but we made it to Ueno Station via the direct Ginza line which saved us having to walk all the way to Kanda station – such pros we are now. At Ueno station, we hopped on the train to Narita with one minute to spare. Our seats were in Car 2, and we jumped on at Car 7. By Car 6, we stowed our bags so we didn’t have to lug the huge bags through crowded cars in a moving train. A quick 1 hour later and we arrived at Narita with exactly 2 hours left before our departure back to San Jose. At check in, Daniel got selected to have his bag hand-screened, joining the long list of travel companions who get the star treatment.

We decided to try and find some food and after checking out the Squid-heavy pasta places and the Squid Big Boy we headed over to the fallback of McDonald’s. After eating we attempted to get some snacks and water for the plane ride, but only managed the water. Interesting thing about today is that we get to do it twice! I love time travel. We left Tokyo at 6pm and arrive in San Jose at 10am the same day! We will be tired, bit it gives us an extra day to do laundry, rest, and upload photos.

The plane ride was pleasant and uneventful to San Jose and upon arrival and clearing customs, realized there was another flight directly to Santa Ana instead of LAX. We decided to go for it and Daniel called his mom who was already on her way to LAX. She turned around and we made it to SNA in one piece.

Finally crawled back into the apartment after a long flight. Such a great memorable trip and I hope to return to Japan one day!!