Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Ways We Traveled


Our mode of transportation in Japan was quite diverse.  I think the only thing we missed out on with a dirt-bike and a boat.

We flew on Korean Air from LA to Tokyo.  The flight to Japan was 11 1/2 hours.  This sounds horrible, but surprisingly it was not that bad.  I give the credit to Korean Air for making our flight extremely comfortable.

The flight attendants were professional in their matching uniforms and very kind.  Combined, they all spoke more than 5 languages for sure.  At least every 30 min to an hour they were walking through the cabin offering snacks, drinks, meals, entertainment, warm rags, or things to buy.  We were not sitting in first class (those seats converted in to beds!), but we felt like we got the royal treatment.  Each seat had their own TV with a good selection of movies, games and TV shows to watch for free.

My favorite was the little slippers and tooth brush kit they gave you at the beginning of the flight.  Big D loved the warm rolls stuffed with meat that were offered in the middle of the night.

The flight back to LA was just as nice and even shorter - only 9 1/2 hours.  I would honestly recommend Korean Air to anyone who has to fly internationally.  They were outstanding.

Tooth brush packet - so cool!

I loved my little slippers.

Delicious Asian cuisine 

As soon as we arrived in Japan, we found a train station to activate our JR passes.  We had purchased JR passes that would let us ride almost any train in Japan during one week period.  It was a great deal since we were planning on covering a lot of miles in Japan.  The process of actually activating and receivng our JR pass as excruiating and slow.  In many regards Japan is an efficient country, but it this department they need to step it up a bit.  Ugh...

Finally we rode the train out to catch a bullet train.  The bullet trains in Japan go about 150 mph.  It was exciting to see one race into the station.  There were several days when we got to ride on these bullet trains and watch the beautiful country of Japan race by our faces.

Most days we rode the regular trains that were much slower and more local bound.  I enjoyed getting on the train and just "people watching."  I wondered were people were going or coming from in their suits or school clothes.  I stared at the small children and thought about my own boys who would have loved to have been riding the train with us.  Mostly I tried to pain attention to were we were going so we would not miss our station!

The boys trying to reserve tickets for us and figure out where we needed to go.

In the bigger cities, Japan has an extensive subway system underground.  We did a lot of walking down to the subway and back up the long stairs to the street level.  The subway cars in Japan come very frequently, so you are usually not waiting longer than 5-10 minutes for a subway.  Occasionally I did worry that we were on the wrong side of the platform waiting for a subway.  I think we only did that once the whole time.
This subway picture was taken as we had hit 24 hours of consecutive traveling.  It was 4am  "our time" but like 9pm in Japan.  Oh were we exhausted!

As a missionary in Japan, I rode my bike daily.  So on one morning, I suggested we look into renting bikes for the day while we were in Osaka.  Our little apartment complex had bikes that we could rent for the week.  They were the style of bike that I like to call "mama chari."  The seats were too low, they were slightly squeaky, but they worked.  Big D looked like a giant on his.  We rode them happily through the city and used them to ride back and forth from the train stations each day.  Personally, I loved riding my bike because I was not wearing a dress!

Don't you wish you were there too?

Because we had our JR passes, we did not ride the bus frequently.  

My most memorable bus ride was one that made me feel like a canned sardine.  

We got in a long line at a bus stop.  When the bus arrived we piled into the bus.  We barely made it on.  I seriously thought that the bus driver better not make anymore stops because we can not fit more people on the bus.  The bus did stop, and about 5 more people squeezed in.  The most became over crowded and we tried not to push up against other people.  At the next strop, the bus driver spoke on the intercom and asked in a very polite voice for everyone to scoot towards the front to make more room.  Three more people got on.  Then he asked again very nicely for us to keep making more room!  By this point I was smashed against 5 different people and was practically laying the lap of the person actually sitting in the seat.  I tried not to think about what body parts of what person where being smashed were, but honestly it was very uncomfortable.  I looked around the bus and saw Big D in the same situation towards the back of the bus and my parents smashed up towards the front of the bus.  We just started laughing - what else could we do?  

It was the most ridiculous bus ride ever.  Luckily it only last for 3 more stops and we all gratefully exited the bus as soon as possible.

*I do not have picture of us on a bus.  But as I just related, there was no way for me to get my camera out of my bag!

We rode in a taxi for our "epic adventure" (will post that in more details soon) and on the way to the airport one morning.  The taxis in Japan are so clean. The back door automatically opens for you and the seat is cover with a white linen and the driver is wearing bleach white gloves.  It is definitely first class service in the taxi.

Scary face, but this is the only Taxi picture I have, and I was a little nervous that the taxi driver was taking us to the wrong place!

Japan has some cute compact cars.  We saw some interesting vehicles that you can not see in America. My friends drove us around in their cute little minivan.  They had 3 little kids that climbed all over the seats while we were driving (they do not have the same kid of carseat and seatbelt laws like the USA).  We enjoyed being driven up into the mountains and around the beautiful city of Sapporo.  I was glad we did not do the driving, because they drive on the other side of the rode!

We rode up in a cable car to a top of a beautiful mountain outside of Sapporo.  The ride was short, but the view at the top was spectacular.

Don't love this picture but it is the only one I have on a cable car.

And of course we did a substantial amount of walking.  We should have worn one of those pedometers to keep track of the miles we walked.  Miga's feet were swollen after the first day (partially due to the heat).  Luckily we all had good shoes and we just kept going. 

I did not keep track of the many miles we traveled in 10 days.  It was exhausting and thrilling at the same time.  Big D still wishes we would have gone on a boat to round out the list.

-Miss T


  1. What fun adventures! I love all the pictures and I'm glad you included your own face in there!

  2. Wow wow wow! So many ways to travel. You could write a book. And then T-bear and Baby-cub would read it over and over and over...because they love anything about transportation.