So, my actual final day in Japan is not too much to speak of; we sat around talking and watching TV until noon, when Mrs. Fujikura called a cab to take us to Itami Airport, from which we took a bus to Kansai International. As we watched TV, I remember talking with Mrs. Fujikura about my Japanese; I was saying that even though come to the point with Japanese that I can express pretty well any concept and wouldn't die if I was in Japan all by myself, I've still got a long way to go. She explained that it's all just a matter of experiences, and the more I have, the more it all becomes natural. "That's why," she said, "you've got to get yourself another Japanese girlfriend! Hopefully there'll be a foreign exchange student this year who'll be your type!" Ahahaha, believe me, I've got my fingers crossed...
Anyway, we obviously got to Kankuu really early, since my flight was at 7:00 pm, but she wanted to make sure I wouldn't have any problems getting through the lines after the incident in London. Kankuu is definitely the biggest and nicest airport I've ever been in, and I was glad that I could go through the shop and restaurant area with them, seeing as it's all beyond the security checks in O'Hare. We had katsu-kare for lunch and I bought a "Nandeyanen" shirt, ha (I'd seen it in Doutonbori, but it was cheaper at the airport). Then they left, and I felt sad. I walked around the shops for well over an hour, and bought two puzzle magazines in a bookshop (Oekaki Logic and Number Crosswords) which I was really hoping to find before going back, and by that point had thought I wouldn't be able to! Gotta love the airport (especially in Japan), great place for final shopping.
My eight-hour flight to Honolulu was the best flight I've ever been on. Between not sleeping all that well the night before and stress, I had been tired all day, and somehow I managed to get a window seat in Economy Plus for that flight, which had more leg room and a footrest (plus you can lay toward the window without worrying about getting to close to the person next to you). So, after they served us dinner, I closed my eyes, and suddenly it was four hours later and we were being served a snack. I was so happy about that. :D
My eight hours in Honolulu (8:00 am - 4:00 pm), however, really kind of sucked. Beforehand I had been thinking, "Who cares if it's a layover, I'm going to Hawai'i!!" But by the time I was on the plane there, I felt like, "I don't wanna go to Honolulu, I wanna go back to Toyonaka...", but held back the inevitable oncoming tears; in that week I'd really come to love my host family as family. Anyway, I'm usually one to make the best of a bad situation, and this wasn't even a bad situation, so it's not like I wasn't going to try and enjoy Hawai'i as much as possible. Upon arrival, immigration and customs didn't really take any longer than usual, and I figured Hawai'i must be a pretty good place to enter the country. The Homeland Security guys were still pretty interrogative though, with a sorta guilty-until-proven-innocent attitude, and then an awkward smile after they deemed you okay. After that, I tried to find check-in for United, which was at the very end of the concourse, behind some construction, which I didn't realize until I had walked all the way there, saw construction, walked back, and walked all the way out again, only to find that I wasn't supposed to have grabbed my luggage, heh. Wasn't really a big deal though, so without thinking, I kept walking and went through security. Only after which did I finally realize that I'd wanted to try to find a bus out to the city though, and sorta panicked (you know me =/), not sure where to go or if it'd be okay to go back through security again with the Threat Condition Orange going on. I asked some security guards down the hallway though, and they said just to go back through and straight outside and there'd be a city bus stop right there. So, I got on a bus labelled "Waikiki Beach and Hotels", figuring I couldn't go wrong there, but due to traffic, I ended up spending over two and a half hours on the busses back and forth, much more time than I spent outside. There are few more uncomfortable places for me than busses. =/ Anyway, maybe I should've gone down to the beach itself -- I'm not really sure, but the bus rides would've been even longer so I don't plan on regretting that -- but I got off on some street near the hotels that had a bunch of shops, and thought, "whatever, this works." To tell you the truth, I have nothing to show for the fact that I went to Hawai'i; I didn't take any pictures because nothing I saw was very picturesque, just like any other big city with a bluer sky and palm trees, I thought. I almost bought a neat-looking t-shirt at the airport, but I wasn't going to spend $30 on something when what it represented hadn't impressed me too much. At any rate, I at least wanted to find some food, and ended up at a place called Da Big Kahuna, where the waitresses were as cheesy as the name, but it said they served Loco Moco, which Mr. Fujikura had recommended to me when I asked him if there was any sort of famous Hawai'ian dish. Loco Moco, apparently, is a big bowl with a padding of white sticky rice, on top of which goes a half-pound burger and two fried eggs, all smothered in beef gravy, ha. Anyway, I could only eat about two-thirds of it, but it was pretty good, hahah.
I got back to the airport (which seemed particularly dinky and boring after Kankuu) a couple hours early to be safe, so after browsing what shops they had, I sat down by my gate and did puzzles while sipping a tasty Mocha Light Frappuccino. Onboard the plane, I realized that this flight would be pretty much the opposite of the previous one. Row 45, an aisle seat but in a row with a woman with a baby, no TVs on the seats, just one big one in front of each section and a few on the ceiling in the aisles, and worst of all, despite it being an eight-hour flight boarding at 3:35 pm, no served meals, only purchasable sandwiches and snack boxes. We arrived early too, which was unfortunate since I was going to have to wait two hours for my mom to come anyway. I sat in the baggage claim from 4:50 am until 7:00, at which point I went to wait outside. I couldn't remember if my mom said she'd shoot for 7:00 or 7:30, apparently it was 7:30, but at any rate, but by the time she arrived at 8:00, I was really glad to see her. The drive went quickly since I had a lot to say, and after a hour of showing off souvenirs in our family room, I took one look at my bed, and next time my eyelids opened, it was 6:15 pm. :)
Whee, my tale has finally been told. But it's important; I'm certainly going to want to look back on this in the future, and relive all the little details.
And now, it's only three days 'til I move back to Madison and have a new adventure as part of Nihongo Hausu. :D