Traveling from Seattle to Japan… what a long day. Our flight leaving Sea-Tac was at 12:02 pm but we had heard on the news that people were missing flights due to call outs from TSA employees as a result of the government shut down, and it was advised that people show up for their flights 4-5 hours early. So, my mom & Don were kind enough to get us to the airport around 8:00 am. Going through airport security was a breeze for me but Rob had a lot of electronics in his carry on, which they made him empty and each item needed its own tray going through inspections. He also had several things in his pockets so it took him a little longer to get through than it did me!
Since Rob’s ticket was booked through his job, and we had to purchase mine separately, we were assigned to sit in different rows but Delta Airlines was kind enough to reassign our seats so we could sit together. They moved us towards the back of the plane which was fine with me. I once read an article that said your chances of surviving a plane crash are increased by 40% if you’re sitting in the back. I don’t remember the source but if what they say is true, I’m happy to sit in the back of the plane every time. Rob called dibs on the window seat, which worked out well for me because I prefer the aisle seat. I feel claustrophobic when I’m stuck between the seats, the window and a person. so at least with the aisle seat, there’s nothing to one side of me.
The plane ride was 10.5 hours with no layover. While it might have been nice to stretch our legs a little with a layover, we appreciated the fact that nothing was slowing us down in getting to Japan. The airline does their best to make sure that passengers are entertained for the duration of the flight with an extensive list of free movies, TV shows, games, etc. They offer lunch, snacks and beverages. We each had our own little screen for our personal entertainment, and came across Bad Times At the El Royale and watched it simultaneously on both screens so it was like we were watching it together. We enjoyed it (I especially enjoyed Chris Hemsworth!). For lunch, we both had salmon teriyaki.
Rob was able to get some sleep on the plane but I’m way too light a sleeper for that so I worked on reading the first book in the Game of Thrones series. At this point, I only have about 50 pages left in a book that’s over 800 pages.
I really enjoyed being able to track exactly how far along we were on our flight, as seen in these photos. You can switch your screen from a movie, etc., to this screen that shows you exactly where you are in your flight. I thought it was pretty cool to say we’re flying over the Bering Sea.
Going through Tokyo Narita was definitely more time consuming than Sea Tac. Since Rob is a government employee, he has a different type of passport than most of us and since I’m his dependent, I need a special stamp on mine. It was all pretty easy… it just took forever. Naturally, we had to go through customs and all that good stuff. Rob had to go through the process of emptying his carry on and pockets again. Since we’re here for at least four months, we had one large suit case, two duffle bags and a back pack. Trying to carry all of those bags through the airport was nightmare but at least there were two of us to do it. Rob’s co-workers, Bryce, brought four bags and had no one to help him.
Upon arrival, they have people waiting with “PSNS” signs so they can gather everyone and get them to Yokosuka. They had everyone load buses to get into town, which turned out be like a two hour bus ride to the base. At the base, they had arranged for another shuttle to pick us up and transport us to the hotel but it was only about two blocks so we just walked. I have to admit I wasn’t thrilled about the walk because carrying the luggage was such a hassle but it was that or wait, and we were ready to reach the hotel.
Since all the shipyard guys were there to check in at the same time, the line to check in to the hotel was so long…
By the time we were able enter our hotel room, our day had been 21 hours long and we were so over it. We did sit down in our hotel bar and have a beer so we could have a few minutes to unwind. We had our first Japanese beers! It’s definitely not the heavy craft beer we’re used to but it worked. We didn’t bother with dinner.
Welcome to Yokosuka!