Saying Goodbyes

Before leaving Japan Nick and I had the opportunity of being with Akito and Marie Inoue and Akihiro and Carrie Ito with their two boys. It was a special night for me before leaving. Marie cooked a delicious meal and made us all feel at home. Akihiro and Carrie even brought Tomokun and Kenjikun. She looked like such a natural holding little Kenji.

It was a great evening to remember. Thanks everyone!

Once all the goodbyes were said, I packed up and headed to the train station with Nick.

Nick accompanied me halfway there and then he had fun exploring downtown Tokyo as I made my way to airport. His flight ended up being a couple days later than mine. So he got to experience Japan all be himself for a couple days, managing the trains and all. 

Last view of the SkyTree tower by train

From Narita to Los Angeles I traveled by Singapore Airlines. I was so blessed to have such a smooth going flight. Even though I am absolutely awful at sleeping on planes the staff was so kind. One stuardess noticed I was having trouble sleeping and brought me some hot cocoa, and later brought some hot noodles:) ; I love Singapore Airlines.
From LAX I jogged from Terminal 1 to Terminal 7 with a cart to catch my connecting flight. I could've walked but after sitting for so many hours it just felt better to jog. Although I think I got some crazy looks. The next stop was to Chicago where my lovely family was waiting for me at the baggage claim. 
Before I left Japan, I was told I might experience some culture shock. I am pretty adaptable so I haven't noticed too much. However, there were two things that inescapably caught my attention. Once in America, there were no lines. Everyone walked in every direction and clumped together in big balls of people. And in the airports everyone seemed to be talking and for the most part, pretty loudly. I think I got used to the atmosphere in Japan where they appreciate efficiency so lines are used by everyone everywhere. Even on escalators with one or two people, the standing people line up on the left while the walkers walk up the right side. It's that way whether there were 3 or 30 people on the escalator. Oh, and in a platform with 50 people it's common for it to be perfectly silent. People just don't talk to each other in common places. I'm definitely not saying that's good. It can inhibit many friendships to participate in the kind of lifestyle. However, it does have a peacefulness to it that I can appreciate. 
We drove back home and got in bed by 4am. Jet lag has been pretty rough so far but I think I'll adapt ok.