Our trip got off to the worst start possible for us. Remember like a week ago when I was talking about how terrified we were that we were almost like, "Never mind, we're not going!"? And then I was like, "But we decided we're going to go, and unless American Airlines cancels our flight, we're going to go"? I'm sure you can all see where this is going.
We left on Sunday, and there was more traffic than you'd normally expect for late on a Sunday night, but it didn't slow us down too much, and we got to our former home teacher's friend's house at around ten. Shy as we are, this was pretty nerve-wracking in and of itself, but they were friendly and made cookies. It was a little awkward since we all relied on the TV more than conversation. But we made it through the night, and we were very grateful that they lent us their home so we wouldn't have to wake up at three in the morning to make sure we'd beat traffic and make it to the airport on time.
Nothing thus far had made the idea of leaving the country any less terrifying, so I imagine I was as white as a sheet when we got to the airport. My evidence is that our former home teacher, who drove us to the airport, was acting very reassuring when he dropped us off. We managed to make it onto the plane without too many problems, and since one of our greatest fears about traveling is missing whatever transport we need to get on and/or getting on the wrong plane, we were feeling pretty good. We even knew for sure we were on the right plane, because one of the various forms of entertainment offered was TV Japan.
The pilot came on the PA system and said that there was some problem with one of the tanks from the restrooms and they were going to have the maintenance guys fix it before we left, because otherwise we'd only have half of the bathrooms to use. We were okay with that, because having everything working properly makes things a lot less scary. About an hour later, the pilot came back on and said they needed to call some guys to come with some truck to do some thing, and apologized that he couldn't give us any more information (he gave us a little more than that, but I don't remember the technical bits). After a while, we decided we might as well take advantage of American Airlines's entertainment thingie and watch TV Japan. We watched a show called "Tameshite Gatten (Experience and Learn)." I explained it on our column over at Manga Life, and I can't remember exactly what I said, so I figured I'd just give the link.
When it was over, a new show started called Cool Japan, and they were going to talk about how speedy everything is in Japan. What really caught our attention is that the music they played in their introduction was Tank!, which is of course from Cowboy Bebop, and the narrator was Kazuya Nakai, who plays Wakka (Final Fantasy X), Doumeki (xxxHOLiC), and Karasu (Noein), among other awesome characters, like Zoro in One Piece. (I just can't stop listing roles!)
But almost as soon as they had gotten into the main program, a flight attendant came on and said that the flight had been canceled.
Despite what I had said earlier, we were still okay. I was serious when I said "unless our flight gets canceled," but I was thinking "unless it gets canceled permanently." We figured we'd just go with the flow. Get our bags checked and rechecked and get on the next flight they put us on. But as we got closer and closer to the front of the line to get rescheduled, we realized that the next flight wouldn't be until the next day. Makes sense; Japan is pretty far away after all. But it was still pretty devastating, because it would cut our trip a day short.
AA put us up at the local Hilton, which was nice. I always did have a thing for staying in shiny hotels. But we still weren't sure what to do. We don't like our plans to be thrown out of whack, especially when we're so nervous about them as it is. We were very close to calling our ride, who was spending the day at Disneyland (he has an annual passport despite living in Fresno! *whine*), and asking him to pick us up and take us home when he left. But nothing in our priesthood blessings had been said to indicate we would not be going--in fact, not surprisingly, there were a lot of things mentioned that couldn't really be effective unless we actually did go. Also, it would have been kind of lame to give up just because of a canceled flight, even if we were scared out of our minds. So we decided to go on.
Part of the problem I was having was that the Hilton seemed very unfriendly that day. It wasn't unfriendly; it just felt that way. Part of the problem was that I was already scared, and part of the problem was that our room only had one, very small window that was built into the corner in such a way that it faced out over a ledge that was connected to the wall of the next room. To the side, you could see the courtyard pretty easily, but there's no way that window ever gets any direct sunlight. And it was small. And rooms that aren't illuminated with natural sunlight can be very gloomy in the middle of the day. That certainly did not help matters.
We had been given vouchers for our meals, since originally the plane was going to provide them but didn't because it never took off. We took them to the hotel bistro, where we saw they were serving pizza. We had a very confusing episode where the man who took our order wanted to know which meal vouchers we wanted to use. We wanted to combine two of them and pay the difference, because each was only for five dollars and a pizza cost eleven. But if we wanted to combine vouchers they had to be for the same meal, and one of the ones I had (we brought two, of course, leaving the other two in the hotel room) was for lunch and the other was for dinner. We told him we'd figure things out and come back later.
Getting back to the room, we discovered that the other two vouchers we had were both for breakfast. Argh. I guess we could have used those maybe, but we decided we'd had it with the vouchers, and instead hung out in our room and ate the Chex mix we'd bought at the airport. Later, however, we realized Chex mix wasn't going to cut it, so we went back to the bistro, hoping a different employee would be there. Fortunately, there was someone else taking orders, so we managed to order our pizza (which we decided to just pay for normally) without any awkwardness. But the other guy was still there, and when he noticed us, he said he was glad that we really did come back, and so we felt a little better about everything, but still awkward because that's how we are with people.
The next day, we had a chocolate danish each and headed back to the airport. After making phone calls the night before, we decided that we should extend our trip another day to make up for the one we lost. This wouldn't have been nearly as much of a problem if they hadn't charged us $150 each to change our flight. Argh. It was their fault, so if we complained about it, I'm sure we could have gotten them to drop the charges (ha ha), but we were already tired enough as it was, and we had only just gotten started!
We made it onto the plane again, and the captain apologized to all the people who had been inconvenienced the day before, and said he looked forward to getting us all to Japan today. We probably should have waited until after takeoff to start watching a movie, but we were anxious to see if we could really change the language on the movies and watch Alvin and the Chipmunks in Japanese. We could, and it was awesome, even if we were interrupted by various important flight announcement thingies. Theodore's voice wasn't as cute for some reason, though. Watching it and seeing what kinds of lines were translated into stuff we see all the time in manga gave me an idea, too. There are a bunch of movies we've seen a million times in English--if we watch those dubbed into Japanese, it could help us spice up our translations a little more.
A while after takeoff they served our first meal--we had a choice of chicken or beef. We each chose chicken. We're sure anyone else would have thought it was an awesome meal. The chicken was served with rice and in some kind of sauce (I know nothing about food) with peas and carrots and onions (onions are the enemy). There was also salad and sushi and a roll and a bag of miniature apple sauce oatmeal cookies. I decided that since we were going to Japan and all, it might be a good idea to try to overcome some of our pickiness, so I started by attempting the salad. I realized once again that, while I can eat lettuce, I really really really don't enjoy it. I made a few more attempts to see if I could get any closer to finishing it, but after a while I decided I was done. I tried the chicken, too, and it was alright, but there was too much sauce. So we both ate our rolls and our cookies (which were awesome) and were done.
Then we watched National Treasure 2 and were fascinated by the flight plan thingie. It shows where the plane is, and how fast it's going, and its elevation, and how many more miles (and kilometers!) to our destination, and what the time is where we left and what it is in Tokyo and what it is in the place we're flying over. It was Awesome.
One of the saddest things about having our flight changed was that we were hoping to spend our birthday in Disneyland, but instead, we only got like half our birthday, because we crossed the International Date Line into our birthday in the middle of it. It was still pretty neat to wish each other happy birthday as we crossed, though. And technically, by the time we were born, it was already May 1st in Japan, so we sort of got to spend our birthday in Disneyland anyway.
Wow, that's a lot of reporting and we didn't even make it to the in-Japan part yet! Still, I think that's enough writing for now. Today I'm thankful for friendly bistro employees, chocolate danishes, apple sauce oatmeal cookies, getting to see Alvin and the Chipmunks dubbed into Japanese, and awesome flight plan thingies.