Sayonara, Japan.

It looks like the 25th of March is my lucky day.

Following the crash of a FedEx plane on Narita’s airport on Monday that effectively closed to the airport to jumbo jets, I’ve been stuck in Tokyo. There are, indeed, worse places in the world to get stuck.

Still, I hadn’t planned on spending this much extra time here.

The fiasco began on Monday when it became clear that many flights would be canceled. My carrier, Korean Air, simply turned everyone away telling them to call their travel agent. That would be okay if 1) I knew the travel agent’s phone number; 2) I spoke Japanese; 3) I had a cell phone that both WORKED and had a charged battery.

I immediately skyped Delta since the ticket had been purchased as a codeshare flight. Delta informed me that I was already confirmed on the next flight out on Northwest.

After standing in line to check in for the Northwest flight for an hour or two, I was pulled to the front — thank you Elite Plus status. After a long, long time on the phone coordinating Delta, Northwest, and the booking agency, it was determined that the ticket couldn’t be issued since Korean Air hadn’t released the itinerary. Options: buy a new ticket and get credited for the first. Great.

Back to the Korean Air counter. WTF? Rebooked on standby for Tuesday with unlikely odds of getting a seat. By then, Northwest had set up direct rebooking courtesy phones – a nice touch. Until this point, I’ve found the degree of integration between Delta and Northwest to be mostly in name, but I thought I’d test the system anyways. Sure enough, the Northwest international rep was able to fetch my itinerary and then give me the great news: first confirmed seat out would be Saturday! Saturday? Saturday. Five more nights in Tokyo. More Yen needed. Much more Yen. Buckets of Yen.

Tuesday: attempted to fly. No seat.
Wednesday: good to go.

With that out of the way, here are some quick reflections on Japan.

Fresh Air. I thought that the Dutch were the only people who didn’t like open windows, but apparently this extends to the Japanese as well. Ugh. Open some windows! It’s so hot and stuffy!

Gyoza. Yes. My new quest.

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