24 September, 2012

Good-bye Brighton and the UK

I have booked my flight to Japan about two month ago, namely I was longing for today. It was cheap and lucky as well. I've lost a cheap flight once but, it appeared again a few days later with almost the same price and then as soon as I found this, I had no choice to purchase.

- Before leaving -
Washing linens, dishes, clothes, pillow covers, all done. Cleaning kitchen, bathroom, toilet, floors, my room, all done. Have packed and sent the second parcel box, and packing my suitcase done. Now, ready to go.

Flight from London Gatwick at 10:10 which is not easy going for me. I woke up around 6AM in order to keep enough time to do bits and bobs. If you have a break fast, you have to get rid of something for example, containers or packages. So I put them into a bin and then finally threw away the rubbish along with other my stuff. Actually, this was the last job.

No, I had to do one more thing which was returning keys of the flat. On the day, the fucking flatmate was away therefore I was asked to put the keys into a post of flat number 76. To be honest, this is not secure way at all. In order to this, I was forced to make sure if the flat number was correct or not beforehand as the flatmate notified me by just saying the number. Not emailing or writing down a note, which was obviously dangerous and unkind. As I mentioned the other day, the flatmate has been an idiot until the end (perhaps she still is).

Unfortunately, as weather report was indicating, it was raining slightly in the morning and seemed to be getting harder when I was walking from the flat to the station. And also my suitcase was absolutely heavy, particularly when I went up stairs on the way to the station. Since I was keeping some extra time, I awaited a bit long time at the station until a train to Gatwick departs. And then got on the train, arrived at the airport safely.

- Killing my time -
I love airports all the time because it is interesting. Mostly, people at the airport are accidentally assembled there and the situation happens only once. Obviously, I don't go to the airport quite often and you don't neither unless you are an employee of an airport or a flight company. So every incident at the airport while I am there is in a sense precious.

I dropped by a electronics shop and had a look at a latest Nikon camera D600. My impression was its weight is light obviously but slightly weak as a photographic machine. In other words, D600 is full frame D7000. As a reality, D700 which is a predecessor of D600 still has got some advantages in terms of specification.
And also I went to a souvenir shop of Harrods. And then bought two mugs for my grand parents who are big big sponsors for my study abroad. One is Queen's diamond jubilee designed mug and the other is lovely ivy designed one. As to design, the letter one is superior to former one but the prices is the reverse order. Quite expensive anyway.

- Flight to Milano -
I was worrying about the weather. But in fact, the plane took off successfully. Despite I bought a ticket of Alitalia, the flight from Gatwick to Milano was provided by Air One which I never ever heard before. I was expecting a lunch or some snacks however, they didn't give the passengers anything at all. Presumably, the flight was LCC, that's why nothing has been provided. I was literally hungry.
In the meantime, a flight crew has spoken to me because I was grabbing my passport at the boarding time. According to him, he is quite interested in Japan and has been to Japan quite a few times. He has been to northern areas and southern ones of Japan and his experiences is much grater than mine in terms of travelling in Japan. And also he has got some Japanese friends and Italian friends who are into Japan as well. He was quite nice to me and spoke English quite well. Regardless of he is on duty or not, it was very happy for me to be spoken by a crew especially for Japanese topics. He asked me if I get off at Milano and I answered to Tokyo but I explained that I am keen to come back to Italia as it is my interest.

- At Milano -
As I was starving, I decided to have a brief lunch at the airport. The connection time was about one and half hour which was enough to have a lunch. At the same time, what I found was that there were loads of Japanese passengers already. At duty free shops, restaurants, literally everywhere. Basically they were always grouped because they were on tours. I hated to be seen I was one of them. In any case, it was weird for me listening Japanese before arriving at Tokyo National Airport. And then what I ate for my lunch was a panini with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese which was simple but brilliant. Incidentally, I ordered this in Italian.
Before boarding, I was pointed out that I haven't got a boarding pass in my hand. Certainly I haven't because nobody did not say anything about neither check in nor boarding pass. A ground attendant frowned a bit. But I wasn't late for the boarding and then I managed to get on the plane to Tokyo.

- Flight to Tokyo -
I was designated a seat window side since I was the final person who checked in. And then when I was about to have a seat, a Japanese tour conductor spoke to me and saying that 'I have got an extra seat which nobody is going to sit on, so you can take a seat instead if you want'. I was lucky really was. And then I switched the seat to the one which the tour conductor let me know. Actually, the seat was aisle side and nearest to the toilets. Which means I can drink as much as I want to. And I made this. White wine, beer, white wine, beer, read wine... finally got drunk. While I was being drunk, I spoke to some Italian crews and some Japanese passengers because of course, I had nothing to do over more than 12hours.
As a dinner, I wanted to choose an Italian meal not a Japanese one. But unfortunately, the crews ran out Italian ones. Eventually I had no choice but to have a Japanese one. Its main course was rice with Teriyaki chicken. Honestly, it was pretty good. After the dinner, I talked about this with an Italian crew and he was saying that Japanese one is much much better than Italian one. So accidentally I have chosen a good one. However, breakfast was not fascinating. Because it was too little. Breads, fruit, and something, I can't remember. Hence it was not satisfying enough.
During the flight, I slept a few times but inadequately. I was quite busy with drinking, listening to music, watching a film, and whatever. Needed to make the most of this opportunity and also to be honest, I couldn't sleep properly.

- At Narita -
The long flight from Milano has finished. We arrived at Narita peacefully. As soon as I get off the plane to find warmth of local temperature. Compared with the UK, it was absolutely hot and humid. In order to adjust to the temperature in the cabin and it was so cold in the UK, I was wearing a jumper. But it was clearly too warm in Japan at that time. Although I had already heard that the temperature in Japan is getting colder, it was not like that. I was happy to get the humidity there since the air in the UK was basically too dried for me.
After arriving at Narita, what annoyed me was customs declaration. As a rule, everybody who arrived at Narita regardless of its nationality is supposed to fill the declaration form. But I didn't know this because when I came back from New Zealand in 2010, I did nothing. The rule was relatively new. As I have got nothing to declare, I was trying to go through the customs without the form. But an officer stopped me and explained the rule. And then I was obliged to fill the from and to submit this. However, the officer asked me to hand in one more sheet for the declaration since I have sent two parcels separately which are not with me at the airport. Again, I filled the form for two sheets and finally managed to go through the gate of the customs. I didn't imagine these accidents, which were troublesome enough.

From the airport, I got on a train to central Tokyo, this is exactly the opposite way of going journey last year. I quite enjoyed landscapes from the windows and started to feel, recall Japanese atmosphere.

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