The Slightly Longer Way Series - Table of Contents
|Day 0 – Friday, May 05 2023 to Sunday, May 07 2023||Flight from Edmonton to Tokyo||-|
|Day 1 – Monday, May 08 2023||Train from Tokyo to Kyoto||-|
|Day 2 – Tuesday, May 09 2023||RSJP Orientation Day||W1D1|
|Day 3 – Wednesday, May 10 2023||Placement test, Kinkakuji/Golden Pavilion||W1D2|
|Day 4 – Thursday, May 11 2023||Kyo-Yuzen Dyeing Workshop||W1D3|
|Day 5 – Friday, May 12 2023||Mori Touki-ken Pottery Workshop||W1D4|
|Day 6 – Saturday, May 13 2023||Ichihime Shrine, Nishiki Market||-|
|Day 7 – Sunday, May 14 2023||Nara, Todaiji Temple||-|
|Day 8 – Monday, May 15 2023||Urasenke||W2D1|
|Day 9 – Tuesday, May 16 2023||Nijojo Castle||W2D2|
|Day 10 – Wednesday, May 17 2023||Tojiin Temple||W2D3|
|Day 11 – Thursday, May 18 2023||Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street, Tsubomi||W2D4|
|Day 12 – Friday, May 19 2023||Kyoto Station||W2D5|
|Day 13 – Saturday, May 20 2023||Kamogawa River, Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai||-|
|Day 14 – Sunday, May 21 2023||Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai||-|
|Day 15 – Monday, May 22 2023||Kimono-Pro||W3D1|
|Day 16 – Tuesday, May 23 2023||Ritsumeikan Library, Hama Sushi||W3D2|
|Day 17 – Wednesday, May 24 2023||Domoto Insho House, Kamogawa, Ichijoji||W3D3|
|Day 18 – Thursday, May 25 2023||Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Hama Sushi (with Kel)||W3D4|
|Day 19 – Friday, May 26 2023||Super Karaoke||W3D5|
|Day 20 – Saturday, May 27 2023||Nothing special||-|
|Day 21 – Sunday, May 28 2023||Demachi Masugata Shopping Street, a long walk home||-|
|Day 22 – Monday, May 29 2023||Nothing special||W4D1|
|Day 23 – Tuesday, May 30 2023||Kyoto International Manga Museum||W4D2|
|Day 24 – Wednesday, May 31 2023||Ritsumeikan Library||W4D3|
|Day 25 – Thursday, Jun 01 2023||Maiko/Geiko demonstration||W4D4|
|Day 26 – Friday, Jun 02 2023||Final Presentation, Taiko Lab||W4D5|
|Day 27 – Saturday, Jun 03 2023||Kusatsu-Juku Honjin, Lake Biwa Museum, Omi Hachiman (with Zian)||-|
|Day 28 – Sunday, Jun 04 2023||Omi Hachiman City Museum, Omi Jingu (with Zian)||-|
|Day 29 – Monday, Jun 05 2023||Arashiyama||W5D1|
|Day 30 – Tuesday, Jun 06 2023||Nothing special||W5D2|
|Day 31 – Wednesday, Jun 07 2023||Final exam, Osaka, Manga Cafe (with Zian)||W5D3|
|Day 32 – Thursday, Jun 08 2023||Osaka, Namba (with Zian)||W5D4|
|Day 33 – Friday, Jun 09 2023||RSJP Graduation Day||W5D5|
|Day 34 – Saturday, Jun 10 2023||Leaving Zian, Train from Kyoto to Tokyo, Ikebukuro||-|
|Day 35 – Sunday, Jun 11 2023||Shibuya, duo MUSIC EXCHANGE||-|
|Day 36 – Monday, Jun 12 2023||Shinjuku, Sakura House, Sophia University||-|
|Day 37 – Tuesday, Jun 13 2023||Akihabara||-|
|Day 38 – Wednesday, Jun 14 2023||Flight from Tokyo to Edmonton||-|
Wednesday, Jun 14 2023 (Day 38)
There’s a certain.. brief beep, for lack of a better description, though it also sounds like some squeaky metal part or something, that seems to go off somewhere in this last lodging room that I am using every few hours. It only lasts for a fraction of a second, so I was never able to figure out what or where that noise came from. I’m glad I’m about to head out of this place anyway.
I also didn’t get to chat to Zian last night, which left me a little down — mostly because I think there was a lapse in communication, we’d both be packing that night so I thought she said she’d let me know by 10 pm or so if we weren’t chatting at 10:30 pm but I think she thought the reverse — that she’d let me know if we were chatting or something, so I just sat around all evening playing on my Steam Deck and glancing at the phone to no avail. Oh well. It was a good emotional litmus test for how I would feel going forward, and I felt fine enough, just somewhat lonely here in my little room far away from anyone else that I knew. She did warn in advance before we parted that she was bad at online communication, especially text chat.
The next morning, my final morning, left me bored — I was all packed up already so I just sat around talking to friends on Discord from about 7 am till 11 am when I finally checked out. Sadness and melancholy washed over me again, but not as strongly as 3-4 days ago. I think this one was in response to leaving Japan. Zian had a flight today too, to Okinawa, so I was thinking of her part of the time too and sent her well-wishes on chat.
I checked out at around 10:45 am and lugged my heavy duffel bag (I’m still using the duffel bag and backpack from my last trip) through the neighbourhood until I reached Itabashi Station again. It rained basically after I got to the station and was on and off rain all the way until I got home to my apartment in Edmonton. In Tokyo, in Vancouver, and in Edmonton itself. The rain was following me all the way home.
(It also started to pour after I got home in Edmonton, which means I threw the balcony door wide open and felt very refreshed, rather than it meaning melancholy. Nice try, Mother Nature.)
From Itabashi Station, I took the train to Ikebukuro Station, changed to the Yamanote Line to Nippori Station, changed to the Keisei Main Line train to Aoto Station, then another Keisei Main Line train to Keisei-Sakura Station, and then another Keisei Main Line train to Narita Airport Terminal 1. That was a lot of trains and transfers, partly because the trains I took said they didn’t go to Narita Airport and to get off here and there to transfer to something else that did.
Either way it was a slow but cheap route to the airport, it only cost me a bit over 1,000 yen in all I think, which was good since I had lots of time to kill, but not a lot of cash — after topping up I had about 1,900 yen in my card but the Keisei Skyliner, the “quick” train from Tokyo Station or Nippori Station to the airport, cost 2,750 yen. Also, there was nothing for me to do at the airport in particular, since the free lounge there that my Visa card qualifies me for has no free food, only drinks, and it was landside as well, before the check-in and immigration desks, which I don’t like because I wouldn’t be able to relax before that pressure point and while being very far away from the gate. And it had a two hour guest limit. So no thank you.
That being said, there was no line at all when I checked in, neither at the baggage scan or at the immigration. I took out my Steam Deck and laptop at the luggage pallets, but didn’t take out my handheld camera (that I never used this entire trip) or phone, and I later saw a thing that said they wanted keys taken out too, and I didn’t do that either. At either the Tokyo or Vancouver checkpoints. I also have half a 150g tube of toothpaste from my Kyoto house that I suspected wouldn’t pass muster. Everything passed though (and made it all the way home). Though the guy behind me then got his bag flagged for something or other, heh.
I reached my gate, Gate 43, about three hours before takeoff. Gates 43 and 44 were in a little cul-de-sac area next to a cafe called FaSoLa Cafe, and when I chatted Jon and Kel up in our WhatsApp siblings group chat, Kel said that this was the gate she had used too and that she remembered the cafe as well.
My flight itinerary looked like this:
Tokyo to Vancouver
🛫 Wed, Jun 14 2023, 4:55 pm JST
🛬 Wed, Jun 14 2023, 9:50 am PST
Duration: 8h 55m
== Layover 1h 15m ==
Vancouver to Edmonton
🛫 Wed, Jun 14 2023, 11:05 am PST
🛬 Wed, Jun 14 2023, 1:33 pm MST
Duration: 1h 28m
So the Vancouver transit was going to be tight, but there was a second flight behind that if I missed the first, it was just something like 5 hours or so after that one.
The Tokyo to Vancouver fight was full, but I had an aisle seat near(ish) the front, in seat 23G, to hopefully help with making my connection. The flight attendants had trouble finding enough bin space for people’s carry-ons, and later people were shepherded back up the plane toward the front to find space in the premium economy and first class overhead bins before being sent back down to their seats in the dark recesses of the plane’s rear. I’m glad I started queueing when Zone 4 was boarding, even though my seat was a Zone 5 ticket, so that I could get overhead bin space right by my seat.
Due to this, wheels up was a bit delayed at 5:30 pm JST, but the flight still only took 7h 56m and wheels down was at 9:26 am PST. Earphones were given out near the start of the flight, and then meal 1, chicken and pasta for me (as opposed to beef with rice or something for the other option), was about 45 minutes in:
Meal 2, noodles with pork for me, was delivered with about 1h 21 mins left on the flight monitor. The other option was pancakes, but I’ll always choose noodles over pancakes.
What has always irritated me about Air Canada flights in particular was how long they let the trays sit before collecting them, as this portion of the flight always triggers my claustrophobia, with the trays down and everyone stuck there. Meal time is the reason I pick aisle seats over window seats, because I think I’d scream if I was stuck in an inner seat with the tray down and unable to move much.
I don’t know if Air Canada lets trays sit longer than the industry average or not, but in this case Meal 1 was delivered at 6:15 pm, and cleared at 6:54 pm. Meal 2 was delivered at 12:07 am, and cleared at 12:48 pm. So basically 40 minutes each. I was done both meals within 20 minutes, as were most others. The people next to me on the first meal, the one to my left and the three to my right across the aisle, all got missed for their food because the first flight attendant ran out of trays and never came back to them when she refilled the food cart, and this was only caught by the flight attendant giving out drinks about 5-10 minutes later. Lucky them, their trays got cleared the same time so they got less time to suffer. I wonder if the front or back of the plane is worse for this delay of tray clearing. I get the feeling that premium economy is the worst spot for this.
In between the meals, there was a lot of turbulence, this was easily the most turbulent ride in my past 10 years or so. I got a little headache from it and even a little scared from it, though not overly so. My seat USB port was also not working, but I did commandeer the power socket between my seat and my neighbour’s, so I got to play Persona 5 on my Steam Deck for a couple hours between the two meals. I also watched a movie on the in-flight movie, Reunion Dinner, a movie set in Singapore of all things. After the second meal, I went exploring the in-flight entertainment, and ended up playing Mahjong until the flight landed.
Supposedly, there was in-flight complimentary WiFi from Bell that would work for certain chat programs, and better WiFi that you can purchase to connect to the Internet mid-flight, but in reality I was only able to connect to this to see the offerings before takeoff when we were on the ground — once the plane took off, the in-flight WiFi connection, ACWiFi, never worked and wouldn’t even get me to the initial connect/purchase page. I’d recommend against ever buying this garbage (since you likely won’t be able to access it if you did purchase the $30 WiFi on offer), but Air Canada already does a good enough job of making sure people can’t buy it anyway.
Once in Vancouver, I had an hour and a half to make it from one gate to the other, and made it with more than an hour to spare. I then went to the washroom and left my phone in there, but realized it and went back in time to meet the next lady who was using the cubicle I had used, as she came out holding my phone. She laughed and said she was about to go out and wave it around and ask who had forgotten their phone.
When I did online check in on the prior evening, the plane from Vancouver to Edmonton seemed to be less than half full, but somewhere between then and today, the plane’s passengers ballooned, and somehow there ended up nearly being a full plane of people going to little Edmonton, of all places. The plane was a small plane and I had trouble even putting my duffel bag in the overhead bin, but the heroic stewardess helped me stuff it in. She couldn’t save the terrible in-flight entertainment and seat experience though — no games, tiny selection of movies and shows, and my window seat had no window and no reclining seat because it was located just in front of the emergency exit. (But it wasn’t the emergency exit aisle row itself so I didn’t even have that responsibility either.)
They also didn’t deliver any food this time — not even the customary packet of salted nuts or dry Biscoff caramelized biscuit, just a drink and a compliment — the stewardess said she liked my glasses. All my drinks on the flights, as always, were tomato juice — I’ve noticed that planes that I’ve been on have never crashed when I request for tomato juice from the drink cart or kitchen, and that’s an obviously working correlation, so why break it.
But hey, at least my seat’s USB power connector worked this time.
The flight was quick and we soon landed at the Edmonton airport. Wheels up was 11:23 am PST, and wheels down was 1:35 pm MST, so 1 hour and 12 minutes of air time. As usual, because the single terrible ETS bus (747) that connects the airport to Edmonton itself only comes once per hour at the :45 minute mark in the afternoon for some reason, there was a 45 minute wait for the next bus from the airport to Century Park Station, and then that ride took over 30 minutes itself, and then there was the train from there — by the time I stumbled home, two more hours of my life had passed. At least my student Arc card still worked on the bus, so I got on that and the train for free.
Home sweet home! Everything got unpacked and washed (all my backpacks are dripping dry in my bathtub) and Tigey is now sparkling white again. I still had lots of little follow-up things to do but they don’t relate directly to the trip, so they’re not listed here — maybe they’ll be in this weekend’s My Diary entry.
Between now and then, expect another long and emotional Final Thoughts post to wrap up this The Slightly Longer Way series. Thank you for reading!