View Photos here:http://picasaweb.google.com/mommydanna/JapanDay1?feat=directlink
Flights all went really well.
Very short connections....de-icing the plane in Omaha almost made us miss our flight in MN......plane was late into Portland but luckily so many passengers were flying to Tokyo they held the plane for us.
The first thing we noticed was that almost everyone on the flight was Japanese. The next thing we noticed was that everyone was so quiet on the plane (mostly Japanese)....Scott explains that when you put 125 million people into an area the size of California but they can only occupy 20% of the land because of the mountains, people are forced to respect each others space.
Airplane bathrooms are amazinglyl clean.....no wet floors (from male drips) or pee on the seats. People actually wipe the sinks after themselves.
Half way into the trip I looked up at the GPS monitor and noticed we were flying over Anchorage Alaska (my birthplace) and it was -75 degrees! I started to get a little stir crazy at about the 7 hour mark.
Every seat on the plane had "on demand" video with games, movies, maps, shopping etc. Wouldn' have even needed the IPods!
Japanese passengers loved Marshall. Kids did REALLY well.....took walks around the plane, watched movies, ate, slept to pass the time.
Got right through customs-they didn't even open our suitcases! NWA lost one of our bags (the girls clothes) but it arrived 24 hours later.
JOhn picked us up at the airport and we took a 90 minute bus ride though downtown Tokyo to Cho Fu train station and Karen met us there with their van. The house we are staying in is owned by The McBrides (teachers at ASIJ) and is very large and "American" by Japanese standards. Mary and her husband were heading back to the states for the holiday but we were able to meet her and get instructions on the house.
There is no furnace in the house, just kerosene heaters in some rooms. Sliding doors in every room to keep heat in...so hallways and staircase are very cold! Heated toilet seat in master bath-bonus!! Floors are very cold.
First night Luke got the "seal barking cough". Gemma got up at 1am and couldn't sleep so I ler her watch a movie and went back to sleep with Marshall. Everyone else was up by 5am.
We spent the first day at ASIJ.....kids participated in Aunt Karens' gym class-4 times!! Luke attended the kindergarten class and Gracie went to the 3rd grade class for a while (Gemma stayed behind to be a helper for Aunt Karen). We all met for lunch in the school cafeteria where I discoverd that they are vermicomposting! They composted almost 2 metric ton of trash last year. There are 6 tumbler type bins behind the gym. The project is being managed by one of the elementary school class rooms.
We met lots of kids and had fascinating fun "interveiwing" them to learn what nationality they were, what other country they had a home in and where they were going for Christmas break. Gracie made a friend in 3rd grade who happens to live just a couple houses away from where we are staying. She was thrilled when the door bell rang later and "Daniella" invited her and Gemma over to her house to play!
Had dinner at John and Karens house (saw their house for the first time)then karen took us home on her way to pick up Shawn at the train station. Everyone woke up at 2am again but we were able to get them back to sleep until about 4am. The first day we felt great but the 2nd day Scott and I are really feeling the "jetlag". Felt like I was getting the flu! I am simply amazed at how hard it is to stay awake in the evening!! I fear we will hardly remember our first night at John and Karen's house.