7/23/19 (Part 1) – En route to Japan

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

Waking up early is one of my biggest weaknesses. Clearly I am able to do it since I survived 12 years of primary and secondary schooling, but 6AM flights are on a whole new level. Thankfully excitement fueled my internal alarm clock and I was able to wake up at 4:15AM without a hitch, but looking back at how efficiently my family and I made it out of the house and to the airport, I have to say that the morning of July 22, 2019 is one of my proudest all summer.

We used the great magic of Uber to go to the airport. I always find that Uber drivers are so interesting. This Uber driver in particular was extremely nice, and I greatly appreciated his music taste. He played You’re Welcome from Moana initially and then we got a little bit into Janet Jackson and then some music from the Bodyguard soundtrack. Very tasteful. He told us about how he used to flip houses and do all the painting and floor renovation himself. I couldn’t imagine doing that as a one-man job! He also told us about how he has been a waiter for 35 years, moving around from job to job. He recently got a job at a café across the street from our local theater, so maybe I’ll see him there again. Maybe it was my mind trying to be creative at 5AM, but I had the idea that it would be interesting to start a blog (strangely I started by own blog today but for different reasons) that shares the life stories of the Uber drivers I encounter because every single driver I’ve had has had so many amazing things to share about themselves. It’s something I’ll think about. Maybe. Depends how lazy I feel.

We had a layover in San Francisco, which was super exciting because I got to step foot in the airport that I’ll be departing to and from for the next four years! I even wore my Stanford shirt for the occasion 😉 No flex intended, I’m sorry. Moving on.

The San Francisco airport transcends everything else when it comes to food. The second we stepped off the plane (I slept through the whole 2 hour flight. Are you surprised? I WOKE UP AT 4AM.) we saw a Peruvian restaurant right next to a Vietnamese sandwich place and I think we got a little too excited because we bought a five-spice chicken Vietnamese banh-mi sandwich to share as our breakfast. My mom wasn’t super impressed, but I think I was so hungry that I just appreciated anything at that point.

Afterwards, we hung around the United airlines lounge a bit where I STRUGGLED to start this blog! I have experience making blogs through Blogger back when I thought I was cool and blogged about my crochet and knitting projects (those will never see the light of day) and I also created a website through WordPress for my organization but that was a paid plan where I had more flexibility. Maybe WordPress changed, but I found that it is a lot harder to work around the theme that you select when it comes to color palette, fonts, widgets, and editing html in general. I forgot how much I loved blogging though. There’s something so special in finding those extensions and adding the small bits of code to your website and screwing it all up but eventually making it work.

I’m sitting on the plane right now completely devoid of any and all internet since they make you pay for WiFi and I’m a broke almost-college student. Writing this blog post on a Word document makes me realize how talkative I am virtually, so I really appreciate that you read this much. I think I’ll split this post into two parts and finish the rest when I land because when we arrive, it’s going to be 2:35PM in Tokyo. I’m so ready for a full afternoon of immersing myself in the city life and Japanese culture and not to mention the FOOD and JAPANESE VENDING MACHINES.

Wait, before I close out I want to talk about how much I have been looking forward to Japanese vending machines and convenience stores. My neighbor and I share this common love for Japanese convenience stores because they have the best snack food and musubi!! If you don’t know what musubi is, it’s a box (Rectangle? Prism? 3D quadrilateral? I need to take geometry again wow I’m way too tired) of rice with something on top (normally a slice of spam) and a small slice of seaweed wrapped around. They sometimes have onigiri too which is a triangle of rice stuffed with tuna or salmon or pickled plum wrapped in seaweed. But the thing I look most forward to, and almost the top reason why I’m returning to Japan, is the MATCHA ICE CREAM. Yes. Matcha. My beloved grass snack. I’m addicted to matcha and I can’t explain why but the matcha ice cream at the Japanese convenience stores are the best things I’ve ever had and I’m so excited to try them again. The Japanese vending machines are also so magical because who can refuse Calpis or Pocari Sweat? I find that I enjoy the lightness of Japanese soft drinks better than the heavy, sugary carbonation of American sodas.

Anyway, I should probably close this out because I rambled for too long but I’m really happy that I’m starting this travel (among other things) blog. I’ll check back in later 🙂

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