Road to Rising Sun 2011 in EZO Part 1→ Goodbye forever, Thee Americraine! Hello forever, Jaguapanther!

Dear blog,
I wish you were a diary. How have you been? I have been fine. Thank you for asking. As you know, it has been weeks since the alien insect hive mind came to Earth and enslaved all humanity, forcing us to create grand works of art and science in their glorious names. It has also been several weeks since I moved to Japan. Exactly slightly more than one month's worth of weeks, in fact. Oh, what adventures you have missed. Please allow me to tell you about them in painfully tedious detail.

I slept approximately 3 hours during my last several days in Seattle as I tried to divide the past 30 years of my life into piles of things to take with me, things to get rid of, and things to sort of hope someone will ship to me later. Super sexy special thanks to Matt Smith, without whom I would have had approximately several thousand billion million tons of crap to try to take with me to Japan. He stopped by one last time as I left the key to my home of the last five years in the kitchen, locked the front door, closed it forever, then got in Kim Gold's car to head for the aerospaceport. MAN, that was a weird feeling. Not the feeling of Matt being there, I mean the feeling of leaving my home FOREVER.

Speaking of luggage, I wish I had a better picture of the luggage that I took with me, but I ended up with two suitcases, one very large duffel bag (with no wheels so that you MUST carry it on your shoulder), my backpack, and three massive cardboard boxes. In addition, I had two carry-ons... one was a normal sized thing but contained things such as my KORG Electribe, Wii, my USB hard drives, and various fragile pottery and/or glass objects that I didn't want to check through. I also had a "laptop bag", which contained my laptop, monitor, DVD player, and several other heavy objects that I'm fairly certain disqualified my laptop bag from being a laptop bag in the way the major airlines intend. At the airport, we had to disassemble several of my check-through bags to make sure they were under 50 pounds, so we ended up hastily throwing random objects into a plastic shopping bag which became my third carry-on. 7 checked bags and 3 carry-ons. And THAT'S how you avoid long lines at the airport. Speaking of which, terrible tarantula of tinnitus thanks to Kim, Jihee, Travis, and Ghostie for taking me to the airport and seeing me off. Had it not been for your help, I'm certain that I would have had the life crushed out of me by my massive pile of luggage. Especially the box filled with LEGOs. Did I mention that one of my massive cardboard boxes was filled with nothing but LEGOs? I'm pretty sure I did.

So hey, I made it on my plane. So long, Seattle/suckers. Then I got to Vancouver and I had to check in with Japan Airlines. There was all kinds of confusion about my checked luggage as I explained repeatedly that I had already paid a shit ton of money for my five extra bags to Alaskan Airlines and didn't especially want to pay it again (a hilarious side note to that is that they didn't actually debit my account for a couple of weeks). While they were figuring that out, the guy at the desk happened to notice how much crap I was carrying, and asked for me to weigh my carry-on luggage. Well, it turned out that all three of them weighed about 10 pounds each. Oops. After explaining that I didn't especially want to check through my fragile items, nor did I want to pay for yet another bag, he let me go and suggested that when I'm passing through security and onto the plane and such that I "pretend that the bags are light". 30 pounds in the form of bags with uncomfortable handles gets heavy really quickly when you're walking through various massive airports, but I did my best. At any rate, several hours I got on my plane and was on my way to China. Or Yarpong or whatever. Goodbye, Northern and Western Hemispheres. Thanks for all the oxygen and whatnot.

Many hours and a viewing of "Hankyu Railway" later, I landed at Narita International Airport. Not the one in Tokyo, but the one in Canada. JUST KIDDING AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As the flight went on, I got progressively more and more panicky about my landing in Japan... I had no return flight, a shit-ton of luggage, and no visa to stay. I assumed I'd get asked a ton of questions by Immigration, but all they really cared about was the "length of stay" box on my disembarkation card, which I wasn't really sure how to fill in since it lists "__ days __ months __ years". But as a bonus for Customs being surprisingly easy to get through, I got to pick up ALL of my bags and re-check them in. I was actually able to drag my suitcases behind me with one hand while pushing everything else on a single cart, but fortunately an airport worker came to my rescue and helped me get to the check-in counter. Then I waited many, many hours, and after threats that our plane might have to return to Tokyo because of heavy fog in Sapporo, we took off and all went according to plan. Then I got to the airport in Sapporo and no one was waiting for me. Surprise! Just kidding, Miwako showed up with her sister Saeko and her husband Naoya (DEAR READER REMEMBER THOSE NAMES, DAMNIT) a few minutes later, so I didn't have to stand in the airport panicking for very long.

Then they drove us (also, it's a pretty long drive from the New Chitose Airport to... anywhere... so I had another whole hour to realize how ridiculously exhausted and badly in need of a shower I was) to our new home, "Light River Sanbankan", a literal MANSION (at least, according to the Japanese meaning), and my second life in Japan began. As opposed to my time spent playing Second Life in Japanese.

Wasn't that a great story? Yes it sure was. Why would I tell you such a story? Let me tell you why. Now that I've written down my experience, I can someday look back at this blog (though in the future "reading blogs" will probably be something more like "taking your neurostim pill" or "attaching an infosquito to your eye socket"), and proudly think to myself, "no really, why DID I tell you such a story?" Haha, sucker - you read it, you can't unread it!