|I planned to write this a while ago, but due to lack of internet I haven't been able to do so. I'm currently using Helen's computer (my roommate) because she has internet for the day.
I guess I'll start by explaining my trip at different airports.
My first flight on the Canada plane was alright. My only complaint is we waited on the ground for a long time for the door to actually close. When we took off we didn't go very far above the clouds and basically just cruised until we got to Vancouver.
Once in Vancouver, I had to clear customs which was pretty easy. The hardest part was actually finding the customs room because the signs were pretty confusing. It was actually kind of funny because I was following the signs with one person in front of me and couple of people behind me doing the same. We were following a sign that said to go right to find customs and then we all paused at the same time when we saw another sign telling us to go back the way we came. We finally discovered a small door in between the distance of the signs that led us to customs.
After clearing customs, I went to my first Japanese Airlines flight and waited for a short period of time. Once we got on, I was amazed by how big and roomy the plane was. I'd never been in a plane where there was a row a three seats going down the middle. I got settled to go, but then we were told to get off because of a problem with the fuel lodge. One of the stewardess's informed me that it would be 4 hours before we'd get another plane. The staff gave us a $10 coupon to spend in the airport, so I went to the only nice restaurant in the place where I could get decent food for $6.00 instead of $16.00. Unfortunately, the plane ended up being fixed before I could even sit down, so I had to rush back to the gate and get on the plane.
Once we took off, it was very smooth sailing until the landing. Since there was hardly anyone on my flight, I was able to take the whole middle row next to me for myself, put the arm rests up and use it as a bed. It made sleeping a lot easier and made the time go by.
Near the end of the flight, a Chinese woman sitting behind me came up to practice her English on me. She herself was an English teacher from China whose son was studying in Vancouver. She'd been stuck there for two months because of complications with her visa. She actually told me that Chinese students are lazy when it comes to English and that they don't understand how important it was until it was too late. She also said that they don't want to learn English from a Chinese teacher, but they will pay attention if the speaker is a native. At that point, she asked me if I had considered teaching English in China and explained to me that I'd make good money if I did. She also added that China has lots of delicious food I could eat as opposed to Japan.
This Chinese teacher had been to Japan several times. She told me that the people there were all very nice, but the food wasn't very good. She explained that she lived in the northwest of China in a smaller town and that she doesn't really eat fish since it goes bad by the time it gets to her town. Her Japanese friends made her try some raw fish when she visited and it made her feel sick, though she didn't say anything about it because she was trying to be polite. She then added that she didn't like Japanese food much.
The conversation continued until the plane made it's rocky landing. She even tried to teach me a few Chinese words, though with little success.
Once the plane landed at Narita, a new connecting flight was arranged for me. I had to hurry to get there because I had little over an hour before the plane left and I had to clear both customs and baggage before that. Getting through customs wasn't too bad and I even had a little entertainment watching a mother trying to stop her child as he ran underneath the ropes that made up the line. I got cleared and went to baggage claim, where there was a very long line. By the time that was done, I had about 15 minutes to find my gate and my plane. I was lucky enough to find a Japanese staff member who spoke English and he led the way.
I had to take a bus to get to my plane once I got to the gate and I sat down next to a guy from Washington state who turned out to be the other teacher. The flight itself was very short, though it was interesting because the TVs on the wall actually showed what was going on outside the plane. It was fun to see the plane's view of us landing when we went down.
I met with the liason Jeff without too much trouble and he took Helen, Ben and I back to the apartments where we would be saying. It was definitely tiring, but at least I got there without too many problems.