Saturday, November 11, 2017

Osaka Adventure: Day 1- Travel to Osaka

Ohayoo from Osaka!  We made it!  After a LOOOOOOOOOOONG day, we are finally here.. but let me back up for a bit before I tell you about our trip.

So we started off the holiday by dumping trash (yes, we still dump our own trash in Hilo), and then picked up some okazu from Hilo Lunch Shop.  After our errands, Grandma Kat and (the real) Kiki dropped us off and we were on our way!  First stop was Honolulu, where we dropped off Akemi with Grandma Helen.  Castle High School was putting on Les Miserables and Akemi really wanted to watch it, so she will get to stay with Grandma for the weekend.

After we said our goodbyes, we still had to wait for our luggage.  Geez, it took at least 1/2 hour before we got our bags- that's unusual, but lucky we had a lot of time in between flights.  So then we headed to the Air Asia check in counter,  We almost passed it as we made our treck across the airport.  Luckily Paul saw the sign and the LOOOOOOOOOOONG line, so he stood in line while I grabbed a drink.

While in line, we saw Les's friend Kat with her family.  They were on our flight too.  I think she scared Paul by saying that Air Asia was very strict on the hand carry luggage, so he started looking stuff up to make sure we'd be able to bring all our bags.  LOL!  First time I saw him panic a little.  Eventually, we got through the line and then had to wait in the next LOOOOOOOOOOONG line for TSA.  Luckily the line moved pretty fast, but it went faster once they opened up the TSA Pre-Check line for the rest of us since they didn't have anyone to check.  So our three hour window became about 10 minutes to get from TSA to the gate.  I managed to buy a water and go bathroom before boarding.  Everyone had boarded already and they said you needed to board 1/2 hour before take off.  Geez, that was stressful.  So my plan to pick up lunch at the airport did not happen.  I was already hungry, should've bought something from Starbucks earlier. Oh well, at least we made it!

A word about Air Asia...  OK so we normally fly on Hawaiian Airlines but I just couldn't pass up the deals on Air Asia since they just started flying to Honolulu.  I think we got one way at $100 and return flight at $200, or something like that.  Then they upgrade you to death,  Additional costs for luggage (which is now standard on most airlines but Hawaiian gives us 2 free bags for international flights, so not used to paying per bag).  We opted to pay for one bag each, but a few days ago I ended up paying for one more bag coming home.  Let's face it, its me..... in Japan.  I need two bags at least!

So in addition to charging for bags, they also charge you for a meal (again routine nowadays but Hawaiian feeds you on some legs), and Reserve Seating.  I'm not sure how it would work if we didn't pay an extra $50 each for reserve seating, but since we barely made it to the gate in time, it was worth it for me!  We were assigned to the Quiet Zone, which was just behind the extra comfort seats (you can lie down in those). The seats were pretty snug and I was by the window, so getting out was difficult since it was a row of 3.  I was waiting for the guy on the end to go bathroom, but he never did... Then I found out from Paul that he did go, but while I was sleeping.

Getting back to the flight, after we settled in a bit, we found out there are no chargers on the plane.  I was already at 50% on my phone so I had to conserve.  We had a spare battery, but we had to share it and we were pretty low by the end of the flight.  I feel like that's a deal breaker for me Air Asia!

I found some snacks in my bag and started eating that.  It was enough to satisfy me until we would eat our dinner.  After a short nap, we ate our okazu.  I was so hungry for real food by then! It was still good.  I was worried since we had heard from others that had flown Air Asia before that they don't like you eating your own food on the plane... but they didn't say anything to us, even when we busted out the spam musubi and chicken!

Anyway, it was a long uncomfortable flight for me, but I managed to fall asleep.  It was really warm, which tends to make me tired.  I slept about 1/2 the flight, which I shouldn't have done.   That probably explains why I was up at 3:30 this morning.  Rookie move.

After we got off the plane, I headed to the restroom.  Yes, I managed to wait the whole flight!  I don't think I've done that before.  Hopefully that won't happen again.  I was just glad to be in a cooler area.

So after our rest stop, we boarded a tram to immigration where we waited in another LOOOOOONG line.  There was one line to take your photo and fingerprints, then they send you to another line to check in.  Note to self, don't let Paul write on the immigration slip again.  The guy couldn't read it, then we got sent away to input the phone number for the AirB&B.  Don't make the same mistake as us- fill out the form completely.  Several people got turned away for that, so the immigration guy was all irritated by the time I got to the window.  Once we filled it all out correctly we went to grab our bags.

Luckily everything else went smoothly.  Bags, customs, pocket wifi, train ticket all done with no problems.  I did like that the train station was right upstairs and it was the type where you can place your bags in a specific area and had assigned seats.  That was so much easier than when we land in Haneda.  I'm already liking Osaka!!

The train ride took about 40 min to our stop.  The AirB&B we rented is really close to the station too so its really convenient.  This neko greeted us when we arrived.  He was a friendly cat!

 After we dropped off our bags and charged our phones for a bit, we headed towards Namba Station to check out Dotonburi.  OMG, that place had so many shops and restaurants!!! You can get totally lost in there.  We managed to see some of the Winter Illumination stuff that was just put out that day!  This was inside the station.

You can't see how pretty it is with us in the picture though.

 We left the station and saw more lights!  Yay!  These trees were so pretty!

After a lot of walking around, we stumbled on the crab place!  We will definitely be going there soon.  They were sold out by the time we got there.  I hear their grilled crab is awesome!

 So after a lot of walking around and being indecisive, we found a little hole in the wall place that served a little of everything (Note, that is not common in Japan.  Normally its all ramen or all sushi, etc.)  Paul had a maguro don (bowl) and I had udon.  I couldn't finish it but Paul helped me "clean up".  He's the clean up crew.  Food was OK but by then we wanted to just eat anything.

Before we left the area, we went to Family Mart to check it out and Don K.  Paul needed an adapter and we got some snacks and drinks.

For some reason, our train had a long pit stop at the station.  When we go there it was empty, but when I woke up it was full.  Paul must've taken this picture when I fell asleep,  He assured me I wasn't snoring,  LOL!

We pretty much crashed out when we got back.  Special thanks to my tech support for helping me with post.  I think blogger and chrome hate me right now.  And they don't like my phone's pictures.  Hopefully we won't have as much tech issues the rest of the trip!