by Kensatsukan Gaijin
I think I got my first clue that I was doing something crazy again when I tried to fill out the Immigration Card prior to getting off the plane.

Here's my address in Japan:

Kyoto-Shi Higashiyama-Ku
Sanjo Dori Shirakawa Bashi
Higashi Hairu 2 Chome
Nishi-Machi 151-11

Here's how much space they give you to write your address in Japan: { --------- }.

I think the idea is that your address is supposed to be: Hilton Hotel, Tokyo, Japan.
Or Marine Corps Base Echo-Delta, Okinawa, or something like that.

I burned through 2 cards trying to write the whole thing on the card before giving up and writing it out in Japanese (which, believe it or not, takes up half the space).

Then I got to the customs form (which asks, by the way, if I am bringing any swords into Japan. Why would I bring one with me? It would be like bringing my gun from England in case they didn't have any in Texas.) The customs form had 1/3 the space. So I gave up and used the polite-est verb form I know to get one of the stewardesses to write it for me. Man she could write small...I did feel bad, asking her to take a break from her 13 hour non-stop patrol of everyone in our section to make sure everyone had something to drink the entire freakin' time.

I should point out that our flight, on ANA (Japanese Airline), had FREE BOOZE. No joke. Free wine, free beer. And before you get any ideas of what this flight quickly turned into, they couldn't GIVE the stuff away. Not because it wasn't good - Annie liked the wine, and asked for it with a $10 bill in her hand expecting to pay. The stewardess didn?t even look at the money. But I guess there just wasn't an inherent desire to get f**c$ed up anywhere on our docile passenger manifest. God help us if Southwest tries this on the Dulles-to-Columbia, South Carolina jaunt I suffered through last month. I don't think they have enough handcuffs at the airport...

But I was left to marvel at a smiling uniformed ANA stewardess walking through the cabin with free wine and beer and being ignored like she was handing out tickets to an "Ace of Base" acoustic-only comeback concert in Camden, NJ.

It's fun showing someone else the country that blew you away once before - here at Narita Airport (where I am writing this) Annie is just now seeing the zen garden in the middle of the passenger concourse at Narita Airport, the massage chairs with customer wake-up calls so you don't miss your flight, the changing rooms in the immaculate restrooms that each have a place to leave your shoes before you change...

Meantime I can finally enjoy my Kochakaden Royal Milk Tea again - it's as good as I remember it. I really hope this tiny map to the bus from Osaka to Kyoto is right, because I have another tiny map written in mostly Japanese to follow to get to our house. I tried to explain where we were staying to the people at immigration and after we both realized neither of us was going to understand where this place really is, they waved me on.