As per usual, yesterday's trip to Kyoto was an epic almost-disaster, the kind I usually get into when flying abroad. (cf. The Journey Back and Buy Travel Insurance)

Thankfully this time, Kenzo, who keeps his cool during stressful times, was at my side.

We're not quite sure where we went wrong, but at Tokyo Narita Airport, we had a choice between the green sign "international connnections" and the yellow "domestic connections".  Now, perhaps it was because our late flight from Vancouver left us with only 45 minutes to make snap decisions, but we chose "domestic connections". We were flying to Osaka from Tokyo, that's a domestic destination, right?

Well, we continued quickly down that path, showing a whirlwind of people our tickets to confirm our choice, and each pointed further and further down an endless rabbit hole. Osaka, that way, up the stairs, no, down the stairs, this isn't your line... what? why are we at customs? ... no, our bags are checked through... you need that form in triplicate?... but that sign there says connecting from international flights... argh...

Let's just say that it continued like this until we were spurted out onto Level 3 and stopped. In front of us was a long, snaking line into Security. It was 4:10. The boarding time was 4:05. 

We really couldn't miss that flight - my university had booked us a shuttle, and I'd gone through pains to confirm my late check-in time at our guest house in Kyoto. So what do you do? 

I tried (not so) cleverly to speak in Japanese to the security guard looking over the line-up, attemping to convey my panic and accidentally saying 'gracias' instead of 'arigatou' (oops).

Kenzo more cleverly tried speaking in English to a JAL representative who became our guardian angel.

We followed our smiling JAL angel through the security crew entrance. She appeared to have been on a track team of some sort, because even with her JAL-certified blue heels and skirt, she glided swiftly through the air with her arms slightly outstretched, with us sweaty gaijin stumbling after her.

I'll never forget her reassuring smile and gracious bow as we thanked her profusely. We boarded as the last passengers on the plane, and the plane wasn't even late!

Amazingly, we arrived at exactly 9:00 pm for our rendez-vous with Hosomi-san, who was about 20 years younger than I'd expected. At 5:00 am our time, we were exhausted, but ravenous, so we dropped off our luggage and started exploring our new home... did I mention we're across the lane from a Ramen Ya? :D

This entry was posted on 4/03/2009 06:54:00 AM and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


    Kate said...

    Awesome! I seem to remember hearing some stories about transfers from Tokyo to Osaka, but who could know it would be so bad!

    Glad you got there safe and sound. :)

  1. ... on April 3, 2009 at 12:03 PM  
  2. Kered said...

    I'm happy you made it! now you can let all this stress go away :)

  3. ... on April 3, 2009 at 11:25 PM