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Japan to Vietnam- I Don't Think I'm Turning Japanese

Yesterday was my last day in Osaka, and Japan as well. I have seen a lot in Japan, including Animae Stores, Mt Fuji and countless temples and shrines. I have sung karaoke in a traditional-type place and bathed in an onsen (traditional bath). I have seen museums and memorials, and ate a lot of sushi. But it is time to move on.

Osaka wasn't particularly great. It didn't have the history of Kyoto. It wasn't as small as Hiroshima, and therefore not as peaceful and walkable, but not as big and dynamic as Tokyo. So it wasn't much to me-and of course the earthquake didn't help. The Japanese people are very very very polite-over the top polite. In a restaurant with four people working, when leaving, all four would bow and say thank you (aragato mas-or something like). All four would greet you when walking in (sinio-or something like). It was too much sometimes-endless greetings and bowing.
So I was sort of glad to leave.


My last day I didn't do much. I woke up to two minor quakes. (just some light shaking). Two folks in the hostel, one who was supposed to stay a day or two longer, was scared off and decided to high tale it out early that morning to Tokyo-on presumably steadier ground. I got up and looked for a post office to mail some stuff off. Mailing it was too much of a big deal I found out (I had to present an accurate inventory of lots of little items, so I bit the bullet and just decided to keep carrying the stuff with me).

I went to the same bookstore I went to the day before to buy a book on Japan. I had some last raman noodles, and spent all afternoon (For about 4 hours) in the common area of the hostel on computer.

At around 5 having nothing else to do, I went to the train station to have some last conveyor belt sushi, and take the train to the airport. I arrived at the airport around 7-nearly five hours before my flight. I found out to pay a reduced fee for luggage (on Air Asia, a discount airline), I had to pay for luggage ahead of time. I had problems getting on the internet though. I tried over and over again on my notebook at the airport. I couldn't get on. At around 8:55-3 hours before the flight-I was one of the first on line to check in. They wanted to charge me $200 to bring my bag since I didn't check it in online (about $30 more then the cost of the flight). I told them I couldn't get on. I asked to speak to a manager and they reduced it to the online price of $64.00. (Air Asia charges by segment-one for the Osaka to Bangkok leg and Bangkok to Hanoi). To make matters worse, I showed the paperwork I had for the Vietnam visa, and she said she had never seen paperwork like that. She reluctantly checked me in-but now I was nervous and prepared for a clusterf__k when I reached Vietnam. (This was a special Visa service in Vietnam-where they we're supposed to greet me and walk me through the process).


I took the first flight to Bangkok, ready to go to sleep, but bilingual pre-recorded announcements to order meals, duty-free items, etc, etc kept me up for a while. I did sleep though on the five hour sleep.

I had nearly a 3 hour layover in Bangkok. This was a different airport then I went to last time in Bangkok. The airport the last time was ultra modern. This one looked like a bus station. I slept there as well, and got on the final flight to Hanoi.

When I arrived at customs, a guy had my name on a peace of paper. He asked me to give his my passport and the paperwork-and a few minutes later he had the Visa. I got my bag after a few minutes and found the hostel driver to take me to the hostel. It was surprisingly easy.

Posted by DavidPearlman 20:55

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