Tuesday, January 11, 2005

明けましておめでとう!Happy New Year!

O Christmas tree...

Well, despite some serious effort on behalf of the snow the midwest has been burried under recently, I finally made it back to good ol' Japan, but not without some duly noted drama. First I made the mistake of delaying my flight an extra day so I could kick it with my crew around the 'hood. Fo' shizzel.

La famiglia.

I arrived in the States on the tail-end of a blizzard that dropped about 20 inches (about 50 centimeters) of snow in one day. Stranded in Detroit, some other desperate Cleveland kids and I rented a van and braved the blanketed highways determined to make it home for Christmas. Since that snow had all finally melted, I figured I was golden...Until I woke up the next morning to find that once again we had been smothered in a blanket of freshly fallen snow.

Pre-departure romp in the snow.

No sky
No earth-- but still
Snowflakes fall.


The airport people said my flight was good to go, so I said my good-byes and passed thru the security gates (gates of hell would be more appropriate). My flight was an hour and a half late, which means I missed the connection to the day's one and only flight to Nagoya. I was stranded in Detroit (also more appropriatey, Hell on Earth) again! Luckily I had met up with Matt, another JET ALT in Gifu. We got a hotel and watched every Back to the Future movie ever made. Thankfully our flight left on time (2:30PM) the next day. Sigh (of relief).

But the drama didn't stop there. About an hour into our flight an old man became terminally ill. They were going to turn around and take him to a hosipital, but the family refused. They wanted to get him home to the Phillipines so he could be burried in his homeland. The entire flight a doctor that happened to be onboard tried to save him, but he actually died on the plane. When we finally landed in Japan a whole crew of police, Meds and fire fighters (yes, fire fighters) hopped on board and spent about an hour confirming that he was indeed dead, and trying to determine the exact time of death. I guess they were confused by the time zones. Craziness.

When I finally got to Ena it seemed so much warmer than Ohio-ville...Until I got into my apartment! Even with my heater on full blast I could still see my breath! After I took a shower, the steam that had condensed on the mirror actually frosted over! I slept underneath my kotatsu, a small japanese table heated from beneath with a blanket draped over it. I love kotatsu! I'm convinced kotatsu has saved the lives of many a foreigner in these here parts!

It's been snowing all day! Light and fluffy, it floats down as if it were waltzing, vanishing when it hits the ground. The tree-covered mountains shimmer as if they've been sprinkled with star dust at night, and in the sunlight they sparkle like diamonds. Its beautiful!
What a way to start the new year! I can't wait to see what adventures 2005 is going to bring! Funky chicken! Rock out!

: Its the year of the chicken, hence, the funky chicken comment. I do apologize for any distress or confusion it may have caused. )


Lindizzy said...

Omg, I can't believe that story...that guy actually died on the plane? So sad!! Well I'm glad you made it home in one piece, even if it is frosty the snowman in Gifu...I'm sorry I haven't updated my blog! Kane and I have some crazy stories of our own, but they are kinda long...She wrote one of them out, so I'll forward it to you! I sorta miss the snow, but at the same time, the cold here is bearable, except that my heating bill just shot through the roof! (ugh) Guess what? It snowed in Osaka on New Year's Eve day! crazy, huh! Kane actually went snowboarding in Hakuba (near Nagano) but had to come back cuz the snow may have stopped trains and she didn't want to get stuck there. Did you make it back in time for work? How does it feel to be back? You are so lucky to have gone home, even though I know there were a lot of problems at Detroit airport.. Well now that you're back, we gotta hang out soon!

Lindizzy said...

PS. That was a crazy story from the girl in Thailand... just think, we could have totally decided to go there over break! I'm so glad we didn't... Mitsu's blog said that he had a friend that was there, but I don't know if he was ok or not. I'd still really like to go, but maybe it might be a good idea to wait awhile, u know?

My coworker just got back from there (she went after it happened, and got back earlier this week) and I haven't talked to her about it yet. I'd like to go diving, but it kinda creeps me out...all those people in the water. And they said there might be other health hazards because of food shortage & water, etc.

Well, I know it's horrible to switch subjects and talk about vacation plans when millions of people are now left homeless, but lately I've been thinking about going to Palau, what do u think? I met a guy at Fuji who says his brother is a scuba instructor there, and it's only like 3 hours away, or so he says...Anyways, I'm not sure when I'll get more time off work again, but I think I have a 2week paid vacation coming up here sometime soon... I wanna plan another adventure- preferably involving warm weather and beaches... Let me know what you think!

Anonymous said...

You and the snow-white background look beautiful. Brings back all the memories of the December snow and your adventures to and from Japan. It's just sad because it's the day you left. I am so happy you were able to be home for Christmas and we were able to hang out. I'm glad you are happy. I love and miss you always, as well as Dad and Chris. God bless. LUV MOM