Arrival: Stress and Joy


My arrival has been eventful, to say the least. I arrived in Japan on 3/23 in Japan time. But I had to wake up early in California and go to LAX. I think I woke up around 5 AM. By coincidence, my Japanese friend was on the same flight as me as he was returning to Japan from his study abroad program at my university. So, it was his turn before to study in my country and now it is my turn to study in his.

The flight wasn’t too bad. However, I didn’t get to sleep well. I told myself beforehand that I would sleep during the flight to make up for my lack of sleep but I was only really able to phase in and out of sleep. Despite that, I was fine.

The real troubles came before and after the flight. The day before my flight, I tried to check in but was unable to. I kept getting an error message on my airline’s website saying that the ticket wasn’t valid. I called to see what was going on as I didn’t want to be locked out of my flight. It took a while but the issue was fixed and my flight was still on.

When I arrived, my friend and I were split up as I had to go through immigration. The line was ridiculously long. It reminded me of a Disney line, minus the cute mascots and music. I guess what they have in common was an exciting ride was in store for me. Before leaving for Japan, I ordered a SIM card to pick up at the airport. But when I arrived, I had no idea where to go to pick it up. I struggled so much to find out where it was as the map confused me. I was going through a crowded huge airport with no idea where to go.

However, there was joy in this stressful time as well. For around two years, I had been friends with a Japanese person for language exchange. I told him during one of our conversations that I was going to Japan. So, he came down to Narita airport to welcome me to Japan. It was surreal. I got to finally meet my friend from the other side of the world in person. He guided me around the airport and helped me pick up my sim card. Afterward, my other Japanese friend gave me a ride to a hotel I was staying at in Narita.

The flight was long but it surprisingly didn’t hit me as hard as I thought it would. I thought I was going to experience jet lag but I don’t think I did. The same can’t be said for my neighbor though. He came from New York City and had a 14-hour flight, a 3-hour layover, and another 3-hour flight. So, he collapsed on the bed and was asleep for most of the day. He woke up later in the night as I was about to go to sleep.

Okay, that’s it for now. Talk to you soon!