Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You mean I have go in NAKED?!

So its been a while since I wrote a blog. Lots has happened. Lets see if I can remember.

We last left off with Christmas Eve. So moving on to Christmas day. Christmas Day started off with a trip to the Imperial Palace (the one in Kyoto, not Tokyo). We were scheduled for an English tour at 10AM. The problem was, we weren't sure how to get there by subway. We asked this big group of cops or something how to get there. They decided to lead us out of the subway, and walk us halfway to another subway. When we get there, we follow their instructions that would get us to the Imperial Palace. Once we're on the train, we realize that they made us walk to one stop further away than where we needed to be. In the end, we stopped at our original stop. They made us go further back, and thus lose lots of time, and miss our tour! It was crazy adventure in the subways. But no worries, we just signed up for the 2PM tour, so all was good.

The Imperial Palace in Kyoto (not to be confused with the one in Tokyo which we already saw) was pretty interesting. It was the palace of the emperors for hundreds of years (before the shogunate, until the Meiji Restoration when they relocated to Tokyo, where they reside today). It was a beautiful place, with lots of gates and halls. Highlights of the palace: really cool joints at the corners of the roofs, the "Imperial" gate, which could only be used by the emperor. Even the empress couldn't use it unless the emperor was with her. The gardens, which were beautiful. One of the gardens was meant to look like the northern mountains, thus lots of trees and rocks and ponds and waterfalls. It was beautiful!

The rest of the day was spent just walking around (and shopping!). We also had our special Christmas dinner at a Brazilian Steakhouse. Sadly, it was the best meal I had in a while. Its not that I don't like Japanese food, but there's nothing like a good Brazilian steak. And pork. And sausages. It also reminds me a lot of Cuban food, so it felt a bit like home. It was a nice night. One thing I noticed that night which was interesting, was that that night (Christmas) they were already taking down all of the Christmas decorations and putting up the New Years ones. They really don't wait for anything, do they?

The next day was a full day of travel. We were headed to my brother's house in southern Japan (a town called Osaki, the prefecture of Kagoshima). In order to get there, we had to take an hour car ride to Osaka airport, then an hour flight to Kagoshima airport, then a 2 hours bus ride to a town near Osaki, then a 30 minute car ride to my brother's house. A total of about 6+ hours of travel. That's right, my brother lives in the middle of nowhere. Actually he lives in a small town with very nice people. When we got to the bus stop, two of my brother's coworkers were there to help us get to my brother's house: one car for the luggage, and another for us. They drove us all to my brother's house. They were really nice. Once we got to my brother's house, literally a minute after, all of the neighborhood kids came running to greet him. There are two brother: Naru(age 7) and Haru(age 5), three sisters: Nene (7) and twins Kurumi and Nanami (5), and brother sister Hibiki (7) and Yura(2). They are adorable!! They wanted to play with Andrew, but saw us and were very curious. We also met their parents who were also very nice. Basically, all the townspeople are really nice :)

Andrew's house is a typical Japanese home. It has an entrance way where you take off your shoes, it has a "living room" where there is a small couch, a small table and a TV. The room is separated by removable sliding doors which leads to a "bedroom". Really its just a room with tatami mats which can be turned into a bedroom at night and be used as an extension to the living room during the day. There is also a kitchen, which looks like every other kitchen, a washroom which has the washing machine and dryer, the sink and the shower. The shower is interesting. There is a tub then an area with a little stool and a shower head. So basically, you sit on the stool and clean yourself with the shower head, then you get into the tub and soak. I like this concept, because I love just sitting in a tub of hot water. The toilet is located next to the washroom. One interesting feature of the toilet. There is a little sink and faucet above the toilet tank. When you flush the toilet, water comes out of the faucet and flows into a hole in the sink, which is used to fill the toilet tank. So, you can use that water to wash your hands. Its awesome! The only other room in the house is my brother's bedroom which my brother and I share (he sleeps on the bed, I sleep on the floor on a futon which is pretty comfy). We were a bit concerned how we'd all fit into the small house, but we found a solution: my parents in the extra "bedroom" on futons and my uncle in the living room on a futon; the rooms are separated by the sliding doors. The system works pretty well, except for one thing: heating. The house has no insulation. Zero insulation, thus the house gets FREEZING. The heater in my brothers' room doesn't work, my uncle has a heater which works half the time, and my parents got the electric rug (or as my brother likes to sing: "hot carpet" just like "hot pocket"). We had to go out and buy an extra heater in order to heat all of us up! Our first day in Osaki,we headed out of town and towards the near by ACTIVE volcano called Sakurajima. The volcano was erupting that day, so it fogged up our view of Kagoshima City across the bay. We stopped to take picture and see the giant radishes that grow in the volcanic area. These radishes are HUGE. LIKE REALLY BIG. Afterward we drove to a ferry that took up across the bay and to Kagoshima City,the biggest city in the area (Andrew tells us that even though its a city, its nowhere near as big as Kyoto or Tokyo). Kagoshima City didn't have too much sightseeing, but it was nice either way. We walked around a bit and did some window shopping. My brother and I also did Purikura, which is a sort of photo booth. It was ridiculous. I can't even describe it. I think I'll just post the pictures up somewhere and just let you see what I mean.

After exploring Kagoshima City, we got back on the ferry and headed back to Sakurajima. Andrew took us to these outdoor hot springs at the base of the volcano. The hot springs were being heated by the volcano vents, and the water were slightly sulfuric. We first had to take showers before getting into the springs. We got these robes you wear to the baths. The baths are outside,the time, the hot water was relaxing and healing. It was FANTASTIC! I want to go back, but on a clear day when the volcano isn't erupting so that I can see the bay view.

The next day was a very busy day. My brother wanted to make lechon (the typical Cuban way of cooking a pig for Christmas) and invite all his friends to come over and eat. So, my brother had ordered a pig a while ago for the occasion. They killed it while we were in Tokyo, and placed in my brothers fridge (no room for anything else!). He also got a grate made and an oil drum cut in half to make the place for pig cooking. The proper way of cooking a lechon is a slow cook or rotating and coating the pig with a special sauce called mojo.So my uncle, father, and brother got up early in the morning to start cooking the pig which took a looooong time (from about 10AM to 7PM, which doesn't include when we had to defrost the pig in our bathtub, haha). My mother and I cleaned the house up and made some arroz con leche (or rice pudding). My mother also made black beans and rice. It was a long day of preparation. And neeedless to say, we didn't expect the amount of people that showed up to our gathering. There were about 40 people who showed up, and about 35 of them showed up at the SAME TIME. The neighbors, the coworkers, the Japanese friends and American friends all showed up at the same time, and none of us knew what to do!

In the end, the gathering turned out to be a success. Everyone loved the lechon, and all the rice and beans were practically gone, as was the arroz con leche. There were lots of talking and drinking, lots of socializing and mingling. There was quite a number of kids (mostly the neighbors) who were running around or watching the the DVD my brother put on. One of the neighbors, Haru,took a particular liking to me. He started following me around the whole house, never far from my butt. He would run up to me and yell, then laugh hysterically, then run away. They he started running up and poking his head between my legs. Later, while sitting down, he could climb my back and try to tickle my neck and cheeks. It was all cute, until he jammed his head straight up between my legs. Lets just say I'm glad I'm not a guy. One thing that calmed him down was when my mom and I taught the kids to make gingerbread men. I had never seen children pay attention and behave so well. It was crazy/nice/I hope my children are that well behaved. I basically spent the whole party playing the kids. I didn't really talk to any of the adults. Little Japanese kids are way cuter than old Japanese men.

At least the clean up wasn't too bad.

The next day we headed to Kirishima to experience my brother's Christmas present to us: Ryokan, which is like a resort where you go to the hot springs and baths and then get an all you can eat thing. Onsen is what you call the hot springs. During the day we hiked around the area, since the resort is in a national park. We wanted to see a volcanic lake,so we decided to take an "easy" 30 minute hike. Needless to say,people had misinformed us and it was quite a painful hike, especially with the wrong shoes and snow covered paths. It was painful, and we complained all the way, but it was worth it. It was pretty cool and pretty up at the top. The hike down wasn't as bad, but sure was just as painful!The rest of the day we drove around the area and took lots of pictures of the mountains and old volcanoes.

After the hike we headed to our hotel, where we were treated to a feast of food. There was so much food, that I didn't even get a chance to try some of the food! I had to lie down for about 30 minutes without moving to let all food settle. After the food twins turned into a food baby, we changed into yukata,which are traditional summer kimono, and got ready for the hot springs! Except, we didn't go to the hot springs. We went to the traditional Japanese bath. What does that mean? Well, we were separated by sex, then we had to be NAKED and go into this huge, really hot steamy room where there were little shower stations and big ass hot pool. Once in the room, you go to the shower station, take a shower, then relax in the big hot pool. How did I feel about this? Um, that's crazy! But what happened? After seeing about 4 naked Japanese women, I thought, why not? They don't seem to care, we have the same body parts,so I got naked and did the Japanese thing.Took a shower then relaxed in the hot pool. It wasn't so bad afterall. No one really cares or looks at you; afterall,they are naked too. Plus the room was so steamy that it was hard to see anything. It was one of the best baths I had in a long time. I love scolding hot water (especially when I don't have to pay the water bill, haha). After that, I lounged around in my yukata and intently watched a Japanese drama that I did not understand. I really want to know what I was watching, and I will find out somehow! Then I passed out.

In the morning we had an all you could eat breakfast. It was an interesting breakfast, the strangest of foods was rice and miso soup (which aren't strange in itself, but for breakfast I think so. Apparently its the norm in Japan). We then headed to our next hike, so see some waterfall. It was really pretty, but it was raining so the hike was kind of annoying. We then went to Kirishima Shrine,up in the mountains. It was beautiful and colorful, and they were preparing for the new year, so lots of booths were being put up. Then our journey back to Osaki began.

Later that night (or more like,6 hours ago), we went to one of my brother's friends house for dinner. They came to our gathering, so they invited us to their house in return. So we had dinner with the guy, his wife, and his son (who plays badminton with Andrew, or used to until he got married and now has little time to hang with Andrew *sad face*).It was the best meal I had in this entire trip!It was a home made meal, but I don't remember the name of the stuff but it was good! We then sat around a kotasu and talked (or attempted to, huge language barrier happening). A kotasu is a table that has a heater underneath and a blanket sandwiched between the table and the heater, so it was nice and toasty. It was nice old time. We ate ice cream, talked about traveling, baseball (Ichiro and Matsui(?)), music, and watched Andrew sing karaoke at the son's wedding last June. These people were truelly kind and sweet, and it was nice that to have met them and eat their delicious food.

All in all, I feel like I've had an incredible experience that I never would have had if it were not for my brother being located in such a far off place. Its been awesome :)

Random thoughts: I love hot baths. I like Asian dramas, even if I don't understand what's going on. Did I mention that I like little Japanese kids? No insulation sucks. Being naked in front of others isn't so bad, when the others are naked also at least. I like Haribo cola gummies. Signs translated into English are awesome (like "fire ararm" or "visit the zoos koara bears"). Japanese cars are adorable. And everyone backs into their parking spots with those small cars. My brother's car is super tiny, and yet we somehow manage to fit in it. I of course got the bitch seat. woohoo. I cannot wait to sleep on an actual bed. Futons are comfy, but there's nothing like a nice thick mattress. I've lost count of the days. I have no idea what the date is or what day of the week is. Like I thought today was the 27th and Thursday, when its actually the 30th and Wednesday. I feel disconnected from my friends at home. I miss them. I hope they miss me too. :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Brosis vaca?

So I've made it to Kyoto alive. We took the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto yesterday. It was reallly really fast, thus awesome.

Kyoto is much smaller than Tokyo by far, and its much colder (weather reminded me a bit of Pittsburgh, but nearly not as awful). One thing that I noticed about Kyoto is that there is a lot of the "old" left here. For example, you'll be walking down the main stretch and see a department store or Mac store, then next to it is a really really old shinto shrine that seems to have been there for about 100 year. I like the mix of old and new. On our first day, we wondered around in the afternoon and night, and stumbled upon this really awesome, colorful shinto temple. We also stumbled upon lots of geishas. I think they are really pretty. We also found hostess bars, which I learned are bars in which men go in and drink while women who work there drink with them and flirt with them. Weird? Yes.

The next day (today) is the 24th of December, nochebuena for us Cuban. We decided to visit some more temples and castles. First, we went to Nijo Castle, which is the castle in which the Shogun resided in for 200 years while in Kyoto until the Imperial Restoration in 1868. It was really awesome because practically all of it is intact (I guess the allies didn't bomb it during WWII). My favorite part of it is the "nightingale floors", which basically are the floors of the main castle building. The floors squeek when someone walks on it, and it sounds like nightingales, which is meant to prevent people trying to sneak into the building. So basically, if you are a ninja and you walk into this house, the floor will squeek and alarm the guards that you are there sneaking in. Awesome? Yes.

After that we headed to Kiyomizu Temple, which is a temple really high up on the side of a mountain. It had the best views of Kyoto from there. It was beautiful! There was also a "Love Stone". Basically, if you could walk from one rock to another with your eyes closed, your love life would be sucessful. I didn't make it, so I took that as a sign that I need break up with my boyfriend, since we won't be sucessful (sorry dimples!).

As part of our "christmas dinner" we had pizza. And cake. And it was delicious. yum! We also exchanged gifts. This is the strangest Christmas I've ever had. A cool Christmas, but it doesn't feel like Christmas. Christmas for the Japanese people is basically a day which people go out with their significant other and have dinner and exchange gifts. There isn't much of a Christmas spirit here. Oh well, at least I'm having fun!

Ramdon notes: My brother and I are nerds. We like to "bend" things, and make up acronyms. Boys in Kyoto are cuter than in Tokyo. Its weird when people bow to me. I don't know what to do! There is a soda here called "Calpis". When said really fast, it sounds like "cow piss", which is really funny. I love taking really long hot baths, it helps my back spasms.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Egg McMuffin: Breakfast of Champions

Note: the title of my blog comes from Andrew. This morning my father walked in with breakfast, and he decided to get my brother some McDonalds, to which my brother received graciously by saying "Egg McMuffins! Breakfast of Champions!" haha

Today was a bit crazy. Things didn't work out at smoothly as my family would have liked. We had a tour of the Impirial Palace at 10, so we planned on taking the subway at around 8:45, but people kept forgetting gloves, metro tickets were lost, and we were just lost! We couldn't find the line we needed to get to the Palace, and when we did we had to get out of the subway and get back in another way. All in all, it was a massive fail and we barely made it to our tour. However, we did make it! But they ran out of audio tours, so we had to walk around and listen to some guy tell us all about the place in Japanese. My brother, who was tired, wasn't paying attention and didn't really translate for us. So we just had to guess what was going on. The next day is the Imperor's birthday so there were lots of people cleaning the place up. For example, every year they attach a glass balcony to the Impirial Palace. So today, they had about 5 guys cleaning the glass on the balcony. They even had three other people telling them where they had to clean some more. It was funny, cause my uncle asked me "So, what happens if a bird poops on the glass? Have they thought of that?". Either way, it was pretty cool to see the Keep and Guardhouses and such. Some of the buildings date back to Shogunate times (1600s), while others were rebuilt after "the fire" in 1945 (or as my mother says "probably when we bombed the shit out of them" politically correct!). We also walked around the gardens and grounds of the palace grounds. Since its winter, there weren't any flowers or blooms, but there were pretty views of the city. Afterwards, we headed to Ueno and walked through lots of streets with vendors. Saw some cool food, like large octopus tenticles! We had lunch at some place that was popular for its octopus balls (which were suprisingly good). We then headed into Ueno Park. The park is reall really big! It has temples, lakes, and a zoo. We didn't have enough time to see all of it, but either way it was really nice.

After Ueno Park, we headed to one of the government buildings that had observation decks in them. I must say, the view is pretty awesome when you are on the 45th floor of a building. We could even see Mt Fuji in the distance. Since then, not much has happened. We ate some food, walked around, took pictures, got our tickets for the bullet train to Kyoto (can't wait!!!), and did some window shopping (which also included walking into a huge department store where very strange yet hilarious head pieces could be found).

Tomorrow morning its off to Kyoto (the very very old capital of Japan). So excited!!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm knee elbow hurts....

Another day in Tokyo, another day of fun.

This morning I was awoken by my lovely brother who had to go to Ginza to take his GRE exam. Its great to wake up at 7AM while on vacation. Not. Anyway, today wasn't as filled as yesterday, but still pretty busy. First we had to visit an American Express office which was in "Tokyo". Actually, the office was in a prefecture outside of Tokyo, so it was interesting to see a part of Tokyo where no one spoke English, and where there were no tourists. Afterwards, we headed to Ginza to find my brother. It was quite an adventure for we told my brother to meet us at the Ginza station. What we didn't realize was that there were about 4 different exits, each one at least 5 blocks away from each other. So, we split up to see who could find him first. In the end, none of us did. Andrew found us on our own just as we were trying to devise a plan to find him (no one had a phone, nor did we have his phone number on us). We then had lunch at some awesome place, in the basement of a building, in some random alley. Had me some tempura, fish balls, miso soup, and noodles. Yum Yum.

We then headed Asakuza Kannon, better known as the Sensoji Temple. Unlike the shrine we saw the day before, this one was much older, more colorful, more crowded, and just awesome. Its also a buddist temple as opposed to a shinto shrine (as my brother informed me). On the way to the temple, there were streets lined with vendors. So many random things were being sold: from trinkets to clothes, food to doggie kimonos, swords to wall scrolls. It was crazy! Everywhere you looked, there was a store. The temple itself wasn't insanely huge, and it looked a bit out of place being surrounded by all the modern buildings, but it was cool either way. The entrance to the temple had this huge red gate that had two giant statues of "guards" which looked more like mythical monsters. On the way into the temple there was a thing that looked like a well filled with incense and a fountain in which you had to wash your hands in before you could go in and pray. One sad things about the temple was that your couldn't see the actual outside structure since it was covered by walls. They are restoring the temple and making it earthquake proof, but the inside was intake. There were beautiful ceilings and statues inside. It was beautiful! Its difficult to describe exactly what it was, so I'll just let my pictures do the talking ;)

Afterwards, my mother and I did some shopping (had to get some gifts for people back in the land of the round eyes, as my mother likes to say). We then hopped back on the subway and headed back to Ginza. My brother convinced Tio Tony and my father to go so Inglourious Bastards with him (even though he had already seen the movie), so that left my mother and I about three free hours to do whatever we wanted. And what did we do? Shop, what else? If you leave to women with blackbelts in shopping in one of the most upscale and famous shopping districts in the world, hell yes we went shopping; well, at least window shopping. We walked through four giant departments stores, and were terrified. Everything looked so expensive that I felt like I had to pay someone something just for looking at things. Plus, there were eager Japanese women standing at every corner of the store, just waiting for the opportunity to assist us in anyway. Either way, it was fun.

After some serious shopping, it was back to exploring Tokyo. We were all starving, and thus headed back to Shinjuku (the area around our hotel) to find a place to eat. Andrew dragged us down an alley lined with places to eat. We finally found one that wasn't packed, but the guy told us that he would kick us out if we didn't order beer, so we left (none of us were in the mood to go drinking....). After about two hours of looking for a place to eat, we finally found a soba place and pigged out! It was one of the best meals ever, probably because I was starving and hadn't eaten in about 9 hours.

Random thoughts: My brother and I like to quote things a bit too much. My back is going crazying and have spasms every few hours. Boo. I love shopping. My family is crazy and doesn't know how to relax properly. I <3 Asian babies, especially when they are little Japanese girls with pigtails that like to wave at you on the subway. I think that Japanese people like to wear those white masks on their face because they think it looks cool, not because they are trying to prevent getting sick, are sick, or think we smell. Japanese men are girly, and Japanese women are pretty. No one likes to wear sneakers, which makes me sad. Everything is really clean, thus I don't mind sitting on the inside of one booths here (unlike at home, where I freak out).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Land of the rising sun....

After about 24 hours of traveling, I have finally made it to Japan!

My trip began with a 5:45 car ride to the airport, a three hour flight to Dallas, then a 13.5 hour flight to Tokyo. Must say, that was the longest 13.5 hours of my life. Since I had stayed up the night before, falling asleep on the plane was easy. However, finding a comfortable position was difficult. The worst was when while sleeping, my glasses fell on the floor. And since I wasn't wearing my glasses, I couldn't see where they had fallen. So, I was blind. So when I woke up to eat my meal, I couldn't see a thing. I couldn't even see my food! The Japanese man sitting next to me was very confused. Oh well. Overall, the trip over wasn't too bad. The only downer was that my mom's luggage was sent to LA instead of Tokyo. But, since it was my mom and not me, I didn't think too much of it (I'm a horrible daughter, right?). Either way, my mom's luggage arrived a day later so it was fine.

We arrived at hour hotel around 8 PM Saturday (which is around 6AM Saturday, eastern time). My brother had just arrived from Kagoshima. Our hotel is nice, but small. My favorite part of the hotel room is the bathroom window. Why the window? Because the window faces the beds. That's right, there is a window between the sleeping area and the bathroom. So, people who are sleeping or on the bed can watch you pee. I was a bit worried about this at first, but then I discovered the curtain, so I wasn't worried anymore. The toilet in the bathroom also has 4 buttons. A STOP button, a SHOWER button, a BIDET button, and the flush. When you sit on it, a little light turns on informing you that it is "preparing" for you (reminds me of the Simpsons episode, when the toilet says: "Welcome. I am honored to receive your waste"). There is also a square area on the mirror that does not fog up, which I think is pretty cool.

In order to combat our jetlag, we decided to have dinner and walk around for a while. Our hotel is in an area called Shinjuku. There a giant terrace where they have lots of lights and penguins! (Well, not real penguins, just penguin statues. The penguin is the subway/train mascot!) We were a bit lost walking around for a while, but luckily my brother Andrew was around to translate everything. For example, for dinner we had ramen with rice and dumplings. However, we didn't know this until my brother told us what we were ordering. Either way, I'm really glad Andrew is around. I feel really out of place and helpless here since I don't understand everything, but I feel less helpless with Andrew around.

The next day (Sunday) was a busy day. We started off with getting breakfast at the local convinience store ("conbini" store as the japanese call it). I had a beancurd thing. Delicious. We then made our way to Akihabara, aka nerd city. Akihabara is full of electronics, anime nerds, and maid cafes. Saw lots of creepers lurking in hentai shops, girls in maid outfits handing out flyers, tons of cellphones and computers, and giant groups of teenage boys trading pictures of models. Strange? I think so. That's why I took lots of pictures :)

Afterwards we made our way to Harajuku. Its an interesting area, because there is one narrow street full of strange shops. Lots of teenagers of all walks of life were there buying things galore. Saw lots of girls dressed as "Gothic Lolitas", ninjas of sorts, cats (?) and other strange things. Some dragged suitcases around with them. The shops surrounding this street had lots of interesting stores. Some were regular clothing stores, others costumes shops, some goth shops and some other things I'm not even sure what they were. Intersting enough, this famous street full of unique teenagers is the street that inspire Gwen Stefani's line called "Harajuku Girl". After this, we stumbled upon the Meiji Shrine. It was beautiful shrine surrounded by lots of green trees and gardens. While there, we saw three different weddings going on, and all of them were of the traditional sort (men and women in the traditional garbs, kimonos and all).

Later, we headed to Shibuya, where we crossed the busiest intersection in the world! It was a bit crazy, but pretty cool. We went to a Starbuck literally in front of this intersection and took pictures from the second floor. Its crazy to see the amount of people crossing that street at one time! Afterwards we headed to Ebisu to eat dinner at the top of this 37 floor building, where you can see all of Tokyo from. It was a crazy sight, yet beautiful.

Random thoughts:
The food here is awesome. Love the food. Everything there has a cute factor to it. Its like they need to make everything seem adorable. The girls here are cute! The way they dress is cool. The guys, not so much. I love Asian babies. They are adorable. Shirts in English are hilarious. They never made any sense. My hotel room only has power if you put the room key into this little slot. If you take it out, all power goes out. The outlets won't even work.

This is going to be a strange yet awesome Christmas/New Years.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm leaving on a jet plane....

Its almost 5AM and I've been up for a while now. In just a few hours I'm getting a plane with my family to visit my brother in Japan for two weeks! That's right, Christmas and New Years in Nippon. It sounds pretty amazing, right? But the weird thing is, it hasn't hit me yet that I'm actually going to Japan. Hopefully, when I pass out on the plane, I'll finally realize that I am actually going to be in Japan for Christmas. So that means no tree, no presents, no noche buena and midnight mass this year. Its lots of sushi, karaoke, and Japanese people.

I gotta go finish up some last minute packing. Then its off to a three hour flight to Dallas, an hour lay-over, then a 13 hour flight to Tokyo. Crazy much? Yes. I believe so.

Ja ne!