University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Planes, trains, and buses.

June 17, 2010

Well I made it to Japan in one piece.  The journey was not very pleasant, even though I did get to fly business class.  This sometimes happens when the borrowing institution wants you to be able to get some sleep on the plane, particularly when there isn’t much time to get over jet lag.  I slept a little, but I’m not a great flier and no amount of comfort will make the turbulence  go away.  I had a layover in Chicago and then had to fly from Narita Airport outside of Tokyo to Kansai Airport outside of Osaka.  This required some paperwork and headache as I didn’t go through customs in Narita and I was never sure if I needed to get my bags and recheck them.  Nevertheless, my bags showed up when they should have and I muddled my way through immigration and customs  on little sleep.

One highlight was the flight from Narita to Kansai airport.  The flight attendant was going through offering drinks to the passengers.   When she got my aisle  she asked the woman next to me if she wanted something to drink.  The woman didn’t respond because she was fixated on something outside her window.  The flight attendant leaned over and asked her again a little louder.  The woman  turned to her and they started talking about something and she pointed out the window.  I looked over and saw one of the most stunning sights I have ever seen.  Peaking through the clouds was a jet black mountain shimmering in the sun.   It was Mt. Fuji, or Fuji-san, as he is sometimes known.  I had never seen it this close before and without the snow on top.  It was at an incredible angle and the  clouds were back-lit and streched on for miles giving it a pearly gates of  heaven look.  It was surreal.  Like a Planet Earth special.    I couldn’t take a photo but this one online comes somewhat close, although there wasn’t any snow on top. The flight attendant even made an announcement for everyone to take a look.

I met up with an employee from NHK at the airport and he gave me my per diem and took a bus with me to my hotel.  I proceeded upstairs and passed out.  More to come.

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