Day 1.5 of Japan and how to lose a day in 10.5 hours

Arriving at the airport at 5am is never all that pleasant. The crowds of zombie travellers, irritated staff, and overbooked flights. I understand why they overbook, I mean I've missed a few early flights and some lucky bastard most likely got my seat, but it still sucks when it happens to you and you miss your flight.

 

However, on Day One of this most excellent journey to Okinawa, my 7am flight out of Edmonton was overbooked. I may or may not have shown up a little late, yet just in time to discover I was unable to check in. I had a 7 hour layover in Vancouver so I wasn't too worried, until they explained there is only one flight to Vancouver in the next 6 hours and it too, is overbooked. What's a guy to do? I mean besides head to the infamous Chili's in the Edmonton airport.

 

I wait patiently on pins and needles, praying I'll get on the next flight. If I don't, I miss my connection to Tokyo and then in turn miss my final flight to Okinawa. All because I couldn’t find my passport which made me late looking for it, until i remembered i knew this would happen and proactively  put my passport in my jeans pocket the day before so theres no way i could lose it. Smart right?

 

The flight gods saw fit to bless me so far on this day, and I actually made it on to the next flight. Inching my way closer and closer to the land of sushi and beautiful women. In Vancouver on my connection I was supposed to meet up with my film guy Aaron from Toronto. Except his flight out of TO was delayed and of course missed his connection to Tokyo. Great. Now I have to fly 10.5 hours alone sandwiched between two little Asian girls that talked across me non stop, yet did not want to switch seats so they could sit beside each other.

 

Overnight/international flights are essentially one big weird slumber party with strangers. You wake up together, drink and have snacks and watch movies together. If you know me, then you know how much I hate flying. Then you can imagine how annoyed I get being confined to a seat inside a metal bird in the sky.

Although I do appreciate the free red wine on international flights, I certainly don't appreciate that because it's free, they are even more strict about overserving.

I was flying home from Mexico City one time and actually got cut off. 3 drinks on a 5 hour flight is apparently far too much according to the fine staff at United, which is a whole other story I won't bore you with at this particular moment in time.

 

3.5 movies and 10 short naps later I am now touching down in Tokyo. I left at 1:30pm Friday and it's now Saturday at 8pm. Of course my flight took absolutely forever to deplane so of course I missed my connection to Naha, Okinawa. Now what? I head to the check in counter where I encounter yet another pretty Japanese woman in uniform so eager to help. The Japanese culture is truly unreal, they are the nicest and most genuine people ever. This lady tries her hardest to get me on another flight out to no avail; I am spending the night in Tokyo. However, one would assume and as experience has taught me, usually when a flight is delayed or missed they put you up in the same city in  the same type of shitty airport hotel. In Japan though, everything is different. So, for some reason I am now booked to fly out of the Haneda airport tomorrow. Obviously I have no idea where the Haneda airport is but I soon learn that by shuttle it is well over an hour away from the Narita airport. Awesome.

At this point I've eaten one debatably fantastic Chili's breakfast, two tiny complimentary meals on the plane, and that's it. Needless to say I am famished and just so ready to get to my hotel (wherever that is) and cash in this sweet dinner voucher (you get these when the airline puts you up for the night).

After some mild confusion at the Haneda airport, it seems I need to take yet another shuttle to finally arrive at my "airport" hotel. I embark on another journey, 30 min roughly and I am standing at the front desk of the hotel. I am informed ever so politely that the hotel I am at is the right chain of hotels, however my reservation is at a different location, about a kilometre away.

If you know me, then you know that I would have too much pride in this moment to take a cab one kilometre, so in full blown martyr mode I begin my trek to the correct hotel.

Finally I am checked in and relieved to discover the room is actually pretty decent. I mean, besides the bed being easily 6 inches shorter than my personal bed, as well the ceiling in the shower only 5 ft in height. It could be worse amirite?

Not wanting to go out and party too hard too soon, I decide to wait til I get to Naha to have a proper night out, and settle on finding out what my dinner voucher has in store for me. I come to the conclusion it is actually Opposite Day when I find out my dinner voucher is only redeemable at the OTHER hotel from whence I came. It's around 10pm and dark now, I am ridiculously hungry, and I'm in that strange state where you are undecided between being actually tired, or just exhausted from sitting on a plane longer than normal.

I am served my "free" dinner that consisted of some sort of sashimi and salad. Usually you can order off a menu but it seems the dinner voucher only gets you one specific meal course. I would've eaten anything at this moment so I didn't really care, however my appetite is certainly falling short of being satiated. Thank God for Clif bars.

 

I settle into my short bed and pray I don't develop insomnia or have dreams about missing my flight.

 

To be continued...


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Daniel