Country #101 - Japan Day 1

The Crazy Round Trip Flight

I’ve reached a point in my travels where, I guess thankfully, I have started to run out of easy countries to visit. But this has also become a bit of a hassle. According to the rules set in place by Guinness, every two weeks I must travel to another country. I’ve hit a time in my trip where I need a little more time to plan things out and raise money, and I unfortunately no longer have any countries that I can easily visit to reset the clock. So today I went to Japan, passed through immigration, found witnesses, had my picture taken, and then got right back on a direct flight home. This sounds absolutely insane; trust me, I am aware. But I really have no other options. Flying to Japan on a cheap round trip same day flight allows me to buy myself two more weeks of planning for my next (very long) trip, and will definitely be worth it in the long run. I also had to make this decision once my original plans fell through. I was supposed to be visiting Venezuela right now but ran into problems securing my visa. As a result I had not choice but to make a last minute visit to Japan.

This was definitely the easiest trip to pack for so far! With just my backpack in tow I headed to DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) Airport and made my way to my gate. I enjoyed checking out the lounge in the international terminal (terminal D) for the first time before my flight. I then boarded and found my place in premium economy. I flew on an American Airlines family pass so I was lucky enough to be seated in a premium economy seat. This was the first time I have ever had premium economy so it was quite interesting to see all of the differences. I really did enjoy it overall but it has its limitations as well.

I had a second row window seat and spent most of the outgoing flight trying to work on my blog and to continue to catch up on things from my last long trip. I watched a few movies as well, and really enjoyed the food in premium economy. It was much more similar to that of business and included free drinks as well. The flight actually went by quite quickly! I tried to use the international in flight wifi but it worked so poorly that I requested (and was granted) a refund. I have found wifi to usually work pretty well on American domestic flights to I thought it was worth a shot! I was still able to get plenty done without it.

When I landed in Japan (approximately 13 hours later) it was now in the wee hours of the morning back home. I called my brother, who was somehow still awake, and talked to him on the very long walk from the plane to immigration. I was so excited to be in Japan, even if just for a few hours, as it is where I will be going on my next actual trip and my brother will be joining then as well! After the very long walk I went through immigration very quickly (they had cool machines that I had never seen before that would scan your fingers and take your picture) and then I headed out to try and find some witnesses to prove that I had visited.

Luckily, they found me! They were two very kind young Japanese men who were actually doing surveys of foreign tourists. I unfortunately was no help to them (they were specifically looking for Europeans) but they were very helpful in being my witnesses. I ran into them a bit later (after I checked in for my flight back and walked around the departures hall for a bit) and had one of them take my picture. They were so very kind and interested in my trip, and I really enjoyed meeting them!

After about an hour outside of the airside area I then went back through immigration and wandered through the duty free shops. I loved all of the cute Japanese products and can already tell that it is going to be so hard to restrain myself from buying tons of souvenirs when I’m back in two weeks. My one purchase on this short trip seemed pretty appropriate, though. A Tokyo 2020 shirt! I am a huge fan of the Olympics and since the winter games are on right now it only seemed fitting. I also am really hoping to visit Japan again in 2020 to go to the Olympics so now I’m prepared!

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After shopping around I then made the long walk back towards my gate. I stopped in a shop that had some crazy Japanese flavored Kit Kats (like green tea!) that I will definitely have to try when I’m back in a few weeks. When I got to my gate I continued to stand and walk around to help keep the blood flowing in my legs. I wanted to help myself out as much as possible before getting on another incredibly long flight! Eventually, it was time to board and I received another premium economy seat. This time I was in the front row of the section, which actually makes a huge difference! The front row has leg rests that actually extend from the chair itself and are super comfortable. I was able to sleep for about six hours and watched a few more movies.

I landed back in Dallas only a little over twenty-four hours after leaving. This was, without a doubt, one of the most bizarre days of my travels so far. But thanks to some fun rules that I have to follow it had to be done. I’m just glad that I had a fun time doing it, and that I got a glimpse into how great Japan will be in two weeks. I’m happy to now have a little time to plan before setting out again, and am very excited for my next trip to come. Six weeks in Asia, here I come!

101 countries down, 94 to go