I got to the airport about two hours too early because there was nothing left to do at home. Getting there went smoothly. The airport was awfully crowded because all the flights to China were delayed. I had a small lunch, exchanged some money, and got on the computer.
The weather was grey and somewhat rainy, so I wondered whether the air traffic delays were due to bad weather passing into China. At least one announcement said that one flight to China was canceled due to bad weather. Anyway, people were practically camping out at the airport, and tempers were starting to flare as I waited. It appears as though some of the restaurants were running out of food by lunchtime, no doubt because it is Monday and the week’s deliveries have not all arrived to the retailers, but also probably because the storms delayed business over the weekend. I checked the late afternoon timetable, and it looked as though flights to and from Japan were going on normally. Bad weather is predicted for the day of the Hiroshima action on Wednesday the 6.
An activist sent me pictures of the actions in Cheongdo this morning, and one of the nuclear power plant taken later in the day. Well, they survived the night, it seems. I reposted some pictures to related events and group pages on Facebook.
I went into the duty free shop and actually made a purchase. Sometimes I pick up a gift in a place like that. This time, I bought two travel vanity cases for myself to replace old ones. I have been eying them for years each time I go through the airport, browsing, fondling but not buying until now. I feel more justified to spend the money on vanity items now as I have never liked the ones I am replacing even though I vowed to keep them for a while because they are useful. One is actually a plastic satchel that enclosed a set of lotions given to me as a gift. I have been using it for travel and the gym shower room for seven to eight years. The other was a gift sent to me five or six years ago and it is gaudy and too small. I have tolerated these two items enough. I feel I can liberate myself from them. I feel it is justifiable to pay Shinsaegae Department store prices –well sale prices, not full prices. I do not want to say how much I spent on such things. I can explain that I have been browsing “dollar stores” for a couple of years in the hope of finding something suitable to no avail. I bought a large flat one at one of those discount stores for less than five dollars to go into the carry-on suitcase. I spent 15 times that amount on the new things I got today. Enough said.
The journey to Osaka, which is only about an hour of flight time, seemed exhausting. The take-off was delayed by an hour without any notice or explanation given. I suppose that waiting around bearing bags on arm and back, and going through all the surveillance and questioning, can be wearing. By the time I got to Osaka, I felt as though it were about three in the morning after a great intercontinental journey when it was only near seven after a short hop across the Sea of Japan. My mind got dull and weak, and I did not have enough presence of mind to think through the trip from the airport to the hotel. I found the terminal-to-terminal shuttle line without a hitch because people disembarking are corralled and forced that way. I made it to the line-up ahead of most of the other passengers on my flight but there was still a long queue at immigration. It took about half an hour to get through it. The officers went slowly, taking finger prints and eye photos of every visitor. To me it was all hum-drum routine. I understand the job of the immigration officer and the procedures, so I feel bland about it. Maybe the officers noticed but the immi guy had no excuse to hold me up. The Customs Officer asked dumb questions. Maybe he had orders to check for illegal teachers or something; he didn’t seem to clue into the fact that my residence and work are in Korea. “You don’t have anything to declare?” he asked, incredulously. I told him that I just got here. Why would visitors arriving have anything to declare? He looked at my passport: why would he think I was working in Japan when all the information on the card I gave him indicated that I live in Korea. He examined the address on the luggage label. Jeesh! That’s dumb. Anyone could write anything on a label, and it could mean a lot of possibilities.
Having been to Osaka just one-and-a-half years ago, I was still familiar with the airport and transit system. I knew the station I should go to and found a train, though my lame brain probably walked into a little ambush for I bought the reservation ticket for an express train that the ticketer recommended, but neither a reservation or an express train were necessary. For one thing, I had to wait half an hour for the express train while the regular train departed ahead of it. For another, it was not crowded at that hour on a Monday night. Anyway, I got here, and figured out my way around the train station to find the exit. Someone pointed me in the right direction to find the pedestrian underpass and get under and across the streets to access the sidewalk that I had to take to get to the hotel. My mind kind of blitzed, I thought I had better eat. In fact, I think that is why I was so out of it. I had only had a granola bar and oranges for breakfast, a hot dog and ice tea for lunch, and all they gave us on the plane was juice and a small burrito. I therefore went to a little fast-serve restaurant that I remembered being to before. This time, though, there is a vending machine where one must by a ticket. Both the automatic door and the machine gave me trouble, but I managed to choose a noodle soup with the help of a patron. After having the soup, I found a convenience store. Lawson stores sell a lot of healthy food to go, so I picked up a dessert, water and some breakfast food there.
Now I am wrapping up the blog and intending on going right to sleep as soon as it is posted. It is 10:30 and I must close my eyes soon.