December 7, 2018: Pearl Harbor Day in Tokyo
It was quite an adventure getting here. Wednesday afternoon John gave two finals, sped home and we headed to LAX. Traffic and rain slowed us down, and we arrived an hour later than we had hoped. Our newly minted TSA-check status flew us through the lines, and we made it onto the humungous Korean Airlines vehicle with a sigh of relief and readied for takeoff.
After an hour of delays on the ground, we finally did take off. We were worried since our flight was to Seoul, where we would quickly pick up a connecting flight to Tokyo. But the pilot made up for the most time, and after getting crumbs of sleep on the 14-hour flight, we landed in the South Korean capital in time for our connecting flight. We breathed another sigh of relief. But then we realized that we were now at the WRONG airport in Seoul. We were told to “hurry, hurry, hurry!”
We grabbed the first taxi in line. The driver spoke very little English, but John's Google map told him we should just make our second flight. We breathed another with a sigh of relief. But why a ticket that we bought from LAX to Tokyo with a stop and plane-change in Seoul would NOT indicate that it also involved an airport-change, along with all the required baggage collections, immigration, security screening, etc. at both airports, we’ll never know.
We got to the second airport, got through security, and landed in Tokyo for Pearl Harbor Day. Strangely, there didn’t appear to be much fanfare. We then had but a few hours to get to the Yokohama Port to catch our ship. Seemingly not a problem, we breathed another sigh of relief. But there was some unexplained mix up with the shuttles, and we were kept waiting for ground transportation another two hours. But it finally arrived, and after another delay, we drove off. Enroute, the street scenes in Tokyo seemed intriguing and other-worldly. We knew we’d be back in a few weeks to explore, but time was of the essence now.
After going through our fifth thorough security clearance in less than 24 hours, we boarded the massively ornate Celebrity Princess, a floating city that we would call home for the next few weeks. We immediately headed for the dining room before passing out in our cocoon of a cabin, exhaustedly relishing in our adventure and accomplishment.
The next day we woke up in Shizuoka, Japan. We were well rested and excited for our new adventure. We got off the ship and had the special opportunity to get dressed up in a kimono. Two lovely Japanese women took their time to dress me up, step by step. I didn't realize how much work it was to get dressed in a traditional style. I teared up remembering how my beautiful mother would dress me up in costumes and I felt so touched.
When I saw John, we both looked at each other and knew the chaos in the beginning was well worth it.
We were blessed to embark on a wonderful adventure for the holidays. I was so happy to feel my mother's spirit with me!