Sleepless in Osaka
A few days ago, we were scheduled to leave for Japan with Dr. Alison Baer and her husband Paul. If you saw two girls running across campus with two huge suitcases and book bags on their backs, through the pouring rain, that was us. I’d love to say our seven hour flight to Paris and 11.5 hour flight to Osaka was a glorious time of relaxation, watching movies and fine wine. (Although we did order wine on the plane, and enjoyed macarons from Paris. Both seemed completely necessary to save our sanity.) There were screaming children and our feet were so swollen we had to unlace our shoes.
With as little as five hours of sleep, a question of what day and time it was, and even larger feet, we hit the ground running upon our arrival in Osaka. It’s easiest to adjust to a significant time difference, (13 hours in our case) if you jump right into it. After struggling through the language barrier in customs, I had never been so excited to see a bathroom in my life. I wasn’t familiar with toilets that have a million buttons, give or take 999,995, and probably should have become accustomed to the labels prior to using them. Take my word for it…otherwise, you may find yourself pushing a button to flush the toilet and getting sprayed with water as it goes up instead of down.
Jones-sensei, or Dylan, picked us up from the airport. He works in the Education Department at The University of Fukui. He led us, and our over-packed suitcases, to the train station. (Trains are an extremely popular transportation method in Japan). After traveling for over 36 hours, we had finally arrived at our first hotel, “The For Leaves Inn.” That was not a typo — not on my part, at least.