November 11, 2019

Capstone Class of 2020: Departing PDX & Arriving in Japan (Tokyo & Hachinohe)

For an early morning flight (departure time: 6:35 AM), we had quite an early start- with parents and children arriving at the Delta counter at PDX between 3:30 and 4:00 AM. The Capstone participants were both excited and tired, with some of them running on just a few hours of sleep already.

We said our goodbyes to the parents and siblings staying behind, then chaperones with kids in tow proceeded on to stand in line for security.

After getting through security and grabbing a quick bite for breakfast we boarded our first flight, a short hop down to LAX, where we made the connection for our Tokyo-bound flight.

Our flight from LAX to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport was a doozy- about five and a half thousand miles and nearly twelve hours of flying time. From the West Coast of the US, we flew out across the Pacific, eventually following the Aleutian Island chain to its end, then swinging south following the coastline of the Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia), past Hokkaido, and finally to Tokyo.

It was hoped that the kids (and chaperones) would get some sleep on this leg of the trip- and some did- but for others, the level of excitement was just too high.

   

Some of us (at least, the parent chaperones) were eager for a nice hot shower at the Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu, where we would spend the night before flying out to Misawa in the morning. But on this particular day the hotel had no running water, so that would have to wait.

After dropping off our bags at the hotel we headed to dinner, a big bowl of shoyu ramen for everyone- then back to the hotel for some well-deserved rest.

At this point, not even the most excited or anxious among us could resist sleep. By 8:30 PM Japan Standard Time, most of us were on our way to dreamland, with only the impending 5:30 AM alarm in the back of our minds.

The next morning, feeling rested, we headed to breakfast at McDonald’s where the kids ordered their own meals, before heading through security and our gate to board the next flight to Misawa.

    

This last flight was mercifully short and offered some aerial views of the beauty of Japan. Taking off from Haneda, we spotted the Tokyo Sky Tree and Fuji-san (Mt. Fuji) from the air.

One of the parent chaperones (with obviously far too much free time on his hands) managed to spot the city of Hachinohe and Kabushima Shrine from the air, as our plane was descending to land in Misawa.

Misawa airport is small, and we were able to walk right out the door from the baggage claim to a waiting bus, which took us to the Hachinohe Yokamachi bus stop in front of the Daiwa Roynet Hotel, where we spotted a Fujii-san: Fujii Takanori, or as the kids know him, Taka Sensei.