The longest March 24th of our lives.

We had a fairly normal morning except that Tak and I took the kids to the playground while Jill did a final sweep and pack. There was a high school event at the park this morning, and I have never seen so many short skirts in one place at the same time! The kicker was when three of them got on the swings. I talked to Tak about it later, and apparently one of them was saying, “When I swing like this, my underwear show!”

We left the house at around 11:15 and walked to Yasaka Eki. We boarded a train, changed at Hagiyama, Takadananobaba and Nippori before finally getting to the airport at 1:48. That was the express route. If we had taken the cheaper way that Mitzi always advocates for, it would have taken another 45 minutes.

We had a last meal of Tonkatsu and did a little gift shopping before we collected the bags and boxes we had shipped out yesterday. We got lucky when we checked in, and didn’t have to pay extra even though one of our bags was a little overweight (23.5kg vs 23kg max) Mitzi was very concerned that we would have to pay extra for some reason. She even ran up as we were just finishing checking and told us (loudly) that we were going to have to pay extra.

That’s about when Tomoko-obachan showed up and we headed off for another cafe where I had the biggest cream puff I’ve ever seen. The reason that Tomoko-obachan showed up is that she thinks she will probably die before we come to Japan again, and she thinks it is too much work to come and visit us. Kind of a morbid send off, but nice in a way too.

Then it was good byes at security and the usual rigamarole getting to the gate.

Since we left Japan at 6pm on March 24th, it seems odd that we arrived in Vancouver at 10am, March 24th, but that’s what the international date line does. Ru-Chan was asleep before the seatbelt sign turned off. We seem to be seated in the “travelling with children” section, so here’s hoping the crying is kept to a minimum. Also, seated next to us is what I initially thought was an older business man taking his teenage daughter on a trip, but when they started french kissing just before take-off I realized it was something else entirely. The whole thing was extra creepified because she has a little Mickey Mouse doll she kept playing with, and I kind of think he is taking her to Disney Land. Jill was extremely disturbed about the whole thing.

Miwa fell asleep about an hour into the flight, and both girls slept until about an hour before we landed. Of course, this required constant vigilance from Jill and I so we did not sleep.

We made good speed on our way out of the airport, so we were pleased to see that the clock in the car said 11:30 and it looked like we could make the 12:30 ferry from Horseshoe bay to Nanaimo. Traffic was good, and it was 12:15 when we pulled in to the ticket booth. The Ticket Agent gave us our ticket and said, “You’ll be on the 3pm sailing.” I said, “But it is only 12:15, is the 12:30 an overload? She looked at me strangely and said, “It is 1:15, did you forget about the time change?” Ooops. The time change happened while we were in Japan and Japan does not do daylight savings time, so of course we had forgotten, and neither of us had checked our phones when we got in the car, even though Jill looked up the ferry schedule on hers. I am blaming the jet lag.

We had a late lunch on the ferry and got irritated by the rude behavior of the people in the cafeteria. The single ones who sit at a table for four and use their laptops while not even eating. We had to sit outside the cafeteria for a while and wait for a seat to open up. Japan kind of sets the bar high for considerate public behavior.

Of course it is not possible to make the 6:15 Quadra ferry from the 3pm Nanaimo ferry, we got into Campbell river at about 6:30. So we did a bit of grocery shopping the sat in the ferry line-up trying to stay awake.

We finally got home at 8pm and then had to un-pack. All of the furniture we shipped survived unscathed!

The kids, who had a good sleep on the plane and several naps along the way, were full of energy and wouldn’t go to bed anyway, so Jill and I stayed up and unpacked. Jill separated all the omiyage into gift bags and labeled them. I wandered around like a zombie moving one sock at a time from the luggage to the laundry.

All in it was 25 hours door to door, and as I finish this blog, I am approaching 32 hours of being awake. No wonder I feel like the living dead.

Too much effort to attach pictures right now. Hopefully will be able to update the posts with photos soon.