series : my spring in Japan 2

14th May 2015…

Maybe this is a bad habit – or simply efficient, i often pack on the night before (if i take day flight) or on the day (if i take night flight). My essential packing items are clothes, personal unique amenities, and emergency kits (from band aid to aspirin). Simple, right? I think thats traveling should be.

Other than packing, i am still working and i need to meet some deadlines. Today. Yes, today, in public holiday. After struggling to find ideas and race with time, i finally finish it. Its not in the level of perfection i always pursue, but it has quality i like. Then, i rush to the airport. It is a long weekend in Indonesia. And, meaning for Jakarta, there is a lot of traffic. The worse one is in the airport itself.

I arrive just in time in the airport. I almost left my key in the taxi. The taxi driver finds it and give it to people nearby. Then, the people chase me near the gate, he calls, “Miss… Miss..” I do not realise it until he come close to me. I say thank you in Indonesian and enter the entrance gate. I am laughing along the way. I was called “Miss” by Indonesian. Please don’t get me wrong, it is an appropriate salutation. However, we usually use that for foreigner. Does i look like foreigner? Perhaps. I am wearing orange medium backpack that covers all my back. I may look tiny, compare to the big backpack. This kind of backpack usually wore by foreigners, not Indonesian.

As usual, i check in, pass the immigration, go to the waiting room, call my mom, and fly to Kuala Lumpur. When i arrive in the KL, i originally think that i will arrive in LCCT. Not until i enter the KLIA 2, i realise that this is not LCCT. KLIA 2 is great. It has plenty of shops – even though its midnight. The terminal is comfortable for waiting. And, it has free wifi. I can send message to my family and friends that i arrived in KL.

This is when i realise that I AM GOING ALONE TO JAPAN. A bit too late perhaps. I am thrilled and excited. Thrilled, because i am going alone. Excited, because Japan always on by dream list. I haven’t think much of this journey due to various reasons. I have no idea on what will i do first when i arrive in Japan. I have no idea on how i can reach my hostel. I have no idea on how i can communicate with people.

Of course, there is anxiety running in my head. But, this is not the first time i really travel alone. I did travel alone for business purposes. The difference is i always have people to meet in the destination along with meeting agenda. During the waiting and boarding time, i convince myself that things gonna be okay. There is always first time in everything.

I recheck my itinerary, browse a bit about Kansai International Airport and Kyoto, and take some snapshots of information into my phone’s photo directory. I don’t know and honestly can not picture how this journey gonna turn out. But, it just feels right.

It is midnight now. No, i won’t turn back to where i come from. The plane won’t turn into pumpkin. The pilots and cabin crews also won’t turn to ducks nor lizards. Even though this is midnight, this is not Cinderella story. This is one of my dream come true. I am boarding on the plane that fly me to Japan.

15th May 2015… 

I land in Kansai International Airport on 08.25 AM in the morning, as per scheduled. In the immigration arrival, there are one lady and one gentleman greeting the passenger. I notice that they are not only greet us with Good Morning, but also count the incoming passenger with a counter. There is no problem in the immigration, just a long long queue. This is because there are at least 3-4 flights arriving at the same time. But, don’t worry, there are few officers helping you by checking the arrival passenger card and also open/close queue to make sure all people is in order.

A bit of waiting in the immigration means that the baggages will be ready upon our exit. I find my orange backpack straight away. Next thing i realise is i am dragging my body to Information Desk to find direction to post office, KIX Lounge, and train station.

Why post office? Because i need to pick up my rental mobile wifi. Why don’t buy SIM card instead? My mobile is based on GSM while most of Japan network is using CDMA. Its also cheaper than activate international roaming. Of I want to call local number in Indonesia/Japan, i can use my Skype credit. Its cheap for both options. With no issue, I went to the post office and get the package. I only need to show my passport. Inside the envelope there are a black hard case prepared envelope to return the device (this is including the destination address). In the hard case, there are charging cable, charging port, and the mobile wifi device. I turn it on and it work beautifully. It cost me about 6,150 yen for 10 days rental. Great price for the travel convenience in foreign country.

Why KIX Lounge? I need to freshen up. I can not check in till 4pm and most likely can not arrive before 12.30. With my tired body and panda-eye, i need shower to wake me up. Its about 510 yen for shower plus around 500 on using the lounge for up to 2 hours. It was convenient to do some stretching and charging.

Why train station? Well, because i am going straight to Kyoto! It is easy to find the JR Ticket Office. Even tough they don’t have dedicated English officer, they print me the destination station in a paper (of course in English alphabet) to confirm it. The ticket price is 2,600 yen (non reserved). They give me two tickets. I don’t know what is the difference, but i assume one of them is to pass the gate, and the other one is for inside the train. In the platform, i meet a train officer and ask him which one is my train. Of course, i ask him first whether he can speak English or not. He answers, “A little.” With a “little” English he is able to explain which train and which carriage i should take. Thats plenty of useful English! Arigato!

When i board the train, there is a baggage area where we can put our bag. Then, we can find our seat. Since i bought non-reserved ticket, i can sit everywhere as long as it is non-reserved carriage. I directly find a seat close to the baggage area near the window. Not long after that, there is a beautiful lady wearing kimono greet me and ask me something in Japanese.

I don’t understand it, but giving the context, i think she ask me whether the seat beside me is empty or not. I don’t speak Japanese, so i give her a hand gesture that she can seat along with my nodding head. Once she sit, i can’t help to observe her. She dresses in nice kimono with elegant make up. She sit like a lady. I mean her spine posture is straight. She put her bag on top of her knee and her hand on top of her bag. Then, unconsciously, i do the same. At least to sit like my own version of lady. She maintain this posture along the journey, for about 1.5 hours. While for me, i am changing my posture at least every 15 minutes. And, as a result, i am impressed with the lady, even until the moment i write this story.

Taking about the story, i need to warn you that this day, 15th May will be long. If i peek into the future, I literally don’t sleep on this day. So, i think we need to stop here now. See you on next post!

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