That is correct…I was in the airport for 30 + hrs. From 2 AM on 16th through 1 PM on 17th. So what was happening during these hours you ask…I will tell
Could not leave the airport since I did not have the return ticket yet. My daughter purchased the ticket and tried to send the
confirmation email to my email. Unfortunately, my phone did not work.
I had to go back and forth to the Internet café inside the airport to read my emails.
I went to the airlines counter and asked them if they can check to see the confirmation. They said I need to have a confirmation email with a number! I asked them if there is a way to print out my emails from the Internet café. They said ‘no’!
I had to go to the transit hotel to ask them if I can send my emails to them so they can print it for me. They said ok. So, I had to go back to the Internet café again to redirect my emails to the hotel desk so they can print out 2 pages from each email
a total of 6 pages. (3 e-mails- 1 for the ticket, 1 for hotel booking outside the airport in Singapore and one for the hotel in Japan).
HOWEVER, when they started
printing, 6 pages became 81 pages with 2 lines on each page…sheesh can life get any funnier!!
(At that point I wasn’t sure whether I should scream, shout,
laugh or cry) Well, I decided to laugh out loud and the receptionist started laughing too. That made me relax for a few minutes.
Finally, on 17th around 1 PM I went
through the immigration and got out of the airport. My beautiful daughter booked a 5-star hotel for me!! I started to yell at her as to why she did that. She yelled back at me and said "Mom, just relax and have fun. I am the one who bought the ticket and it
is on me". Little did she know what is waiting for me in my immediate future while vacationing!!.
Finally, I reached the hotel and decided I would just relax for that
day since it was already past 2 pm by then. I went to the Concierge’s desk and got information on what to see the next day. They gave me a list. Since I have only one day in Singapore, on 18th I planned to go visit the world’s largest Aquarium
and the Asian civilization museum from the list on 18th.
I got up the next day got ready and was so looking forward to visiting these 2 places. While getting ready I kept
hearing a lot of noises and thought maybe someone was moving something….so I did not give it any more thought. Just before leaving the room I opened the curtains and nothing but rain pouring down like CRAZZZZZZY with thunderstorms the whole day. That
was what I heard t…h…u…n…d…e…r….It was like that all day So I obviously I couldn’t go anywhere. Just went around the airport again. Boo hahaha …Ke ke ke!!!
Chapter #5 Nihon…how beautiful are you?
The next day I left for
Japan. I was so looking forward to it. I know I can be more at ease in Japan since I was just there last year.
If I may digress… I have seen a few countries
and thoroughly enjoyed visiting all. However, this one captured my soul. Japan is and always will be first on my list. My opinion has nothing to do with beautiful temples, scenic areas, cleanest hotels, amazing architecture, excellent 1st-grade convenient
stores, extremely well-organized railway system, to name a few.
All the credit goes to the people in Japan. This is where I say the phrase ‘people make the
country’ is more appropriate. People there are the most polite, well-mannered, well focused, extremely organized and go out of their way to help others. I loved every second of it while I was there last year.
Now back to my story. I reached Japan on 19th, which was my Mom and Dad’s 60th wedding anniversary day.
the time I reached my hotel and settled down, it was around 3 pm ish, so I decided to just walk around the hotel, and inquired about tourist spots and got information on a temple, which is a 25-minute walk from the hotel. So I made plans to go there the next
day. The receptionist was trying to explain with a really thick accent as to how to get there and I was focusing on what she was saying but not really understanding it. In the meantime, there was this young British guy, who heard that and came over and explained
to me how to get there and gave me directions. The receptionist was happy that I was happy.
I walked through the little street while looking at these little shops
and finally reached the temple. Guess what… it really took exactly 25 minutes!!
The temple is called Shinshoji temple. It is a Buddhist temple. It was amazing,
beautiful and they had a ceremony, which reminded me of temple ceremonies in India. The chanting sounded like Aum…..”. It was peaceful and very scenic. I was there for a couple of hours admiring the sculptures. I sort of lost in thought and all
the stuff I was going through for the past few days not to mention since my CC incident, all of that did not even matter anymore.
It was time for me to get back to
the hotel. It should be simple enough. Just walk back the way I came right? NOOOOOOOOPE ☹…
I was trying to find my way back. I saw a large store, which
looked like a fancy bakery. I went in to ask for directions. As soon as I stepped in 4 young ladies immediately came to me, formed a line, bowed towards me and started to say something in Japanese.
I was a bit baffled right at that moment. Are they thinking I am some sort of a ‘Princess’!! Oh…all right…okay…’Queen’. I think I have already passed the princess stage!
Then I thought, maybe there is someone behind me? I looked behind but there was no one! So I started to bow too. Ha! ha! ha! Then I realized based on what they said they were
greeting me as a customer. Well so much for my convoluted imagination thinking I was ‘A princess’!! Sorry… ‘A Queen’!!!
on my parent’s comments, I am still a princess in their eyes….so there!!!] Okay, enough of my self-admiration!
I started to tell them that I was lost
and need to go to my hotel. I gave them the name of the hotel. They talked amongst themselves to figure out what I said and became so excited to help me.
started to explain in Japanese and a few words of English. I couldn’t understand and showed my blank face with a puzzled look. The second lady jumped in started to explain a bit differently, I still showed my blank face but with a smile.
Another lady immediately said…”aaah…" and signaled me to wait, and then went to an older lady and explained my situation to her, and brought her to me. As soon
as I saw her I knew she would probably know how to explain in English.
She comes and bows to me. I reciprocated and explained again in English and she was so enthused
(that made me think these people are so special not like any others I have encountered) and immediately goes to one counter and gets me a card with a street map and in her own accent she shows me where I am on the map and how to get to the hotel. It would
take another 15 minutes to walk.
I thanked them all from the bottom of my heart saying 'arigato guzaimassu' to each one of them. Started to leave and once again they
bowed standing in a straight line. I bowed even more and left with a happy heart.
I kept the card that lady gave me. I will keep it with me forever with fond memories.
While walking I spoke to another lady on the way. She was an owner of one of the shops. She smiled at me and said something. I didn’t know what. It is funny because we both
did not know what the other person was saying but our faces were all full of ‘smiles’. People like that make our world a better place to live.
I reached my hotel relaxed and had coffee. Then went to the receptionist desk to get information about next day’s agenda, which is 21st, the only day left before I leave for LA on 22nd.
Wait...my story is not done yet. I have one more day left. You probably are guessing what might have happened...right?
On 21st, I wanted
to go to ‘Asakusa’. There are so many places to see there. Especially a shopping street called ‘Nakamise’ where you will find traditional Japanese stuff such as kimonos, and interesting souvenirs, etc… It is near another beautiful
Buddhist temple called Sensoji. Sensoji is the oldest temple there in Tokyo. When we went last year we visited that place and I really liked it. The lantern of that temple is used as their landmark in that town. The gate to that temple is called ‘Kaminari-Mon’.
This is also written on that huge lantern. Guess what…OoooooHoooo we are getting to that fun part where you have read in my writing before.
So I got all my plans
in place for the next day. Got ready.
By the way, remember I was mentioning about the lantern and what it has on it? It reads “Kaminari-mon”. There is
a meaning to that phrase and it played its part on that day.
All right already, don’t go google it now. I will tell you what it means. It means “Thunder Gate”!!
I opened the curtain and saw Crazy …windy… rainy… unbelievable weather. That is correct. Hmmmm!!!!
Anyway, I decided to go at that point and I sort
of did not care. I was about to step outside the hotel, receptionist runs towards me with an umbrella. I thought that was so sweet. I thanked her and looking at the umbrella to open.
That is when I heard the receptionist say “Oh Oh….”.
I looked at her and she was looking outside. So I followed my gaze towards
where she was looking at. Then, you wouldn’t believe what I saw. A lady walking with an umbrella that was all curled upside down and drenched in water.
I quietly gave the umbrella back to the receptionist and said, “No thanks I will just sit in my room and watch Japanese shows. ☹
Finally left for home on the
22nd morning. I must say it was an adventure or should I say “a missed adventure” …which I will remember forever.
Thank you all for patiently reading
my story. Although as it was happening (most of it anyway...) it might have been frustrating. But now looking back at it it was not that bad. I have collected some interesting memories to keep. Don't you think?