Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A TASTE OF JAPAN- PART I (Our Journey To Japan) by Denise Vasquez

HEADING TO JAPAN: Randy's mom drove us from Ventura to LAX airport. For those of you not familiar with the distance, it was about an hour drive. Getting all of our luggage in Kay's car was quite a challenge, but Mama Kay was up to it...she was the master of measurements, and everything fit in the back of her car like a glove! We took the back route and drove along Highway 1. The morning fog was pretty thick at one point, but then it cleared away as if someone had opened the curtain & The ocean views were soooooo beautiful! The color of the ocean was AMAZING! Turquoise...ahhhh my favorite color!!! There were People camping on the beach, pitched tents & trailer homes...surfers dancing on the waves...seagulls sailing on the wind...the luggage was piled so high, it blocked my view a little, but I still was able to see & the views were magnificent! 

A milion thoughts went through my mind as we headed to the airport...What a way to start our journey...we're going to Japan...WOW...This is a day I've dreamed of & I'm going with the love of my life...I am grateful! 

Randy & I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. I decided to wear my bright red "Star Wars" jacket that I purchased at Celebration Europe in London last summer. I knew that wearing it would immediately identify others heading, like us to attend Star Wars Celebration Japan; and perhaps it would help strike up conversations. It worked! We were waiting on line to check in @ANA (All Nippon Airlines) and a gentleman says "Hey, you guys going to Japan for "Star Wars?" That opened up a WONDERFUL door...the man works for "G4" and they will be filming the entire event. Of course I told them that Randy (My partner/love of my life) is one of the licensed artists in "Artists Alley". We spoke a little more and then the guy says to me "We'll be looking to find YOU for an interview during the event" (They did find me for an interview...and I had a blast being interviewed!!!)...Very cool, I'll get back to that in another blog!!! 

You never know who you're talking to! 

So Randy and I check all of our bags in. Randy's Gator case was over the weight limit which jumped the over the limit price from $25 to $300??? How they figure out those numbers still blows my mind...but the girl at the counter was really helpful and told us that if we move a couple of items into one of the other bags, we would make it better. So we're pulling stuff out & moving things around and wha-la...we make it work...$25 and we were on our way! We cleared customs and made our way to our gate with plenty of time to kill, so we chilled out @A bar next to our gate. As we were walking towards our gate, we ran into artist/sculptor Lawrence Noble & his family who were also headed to Japan for the Celebration, only they were on a different airline..."last one there is a rotten egg", were my last words to them as we waved goodbye. Randy said running into them gave him a sense of "We are not alone on our wonderful journey" were his exact words. I ordered us drinks @the bar while Randy got our food from another cashier. I have to admit, there is something really fun & relaxing about having a spicy bloody mary in the morning before getting on an overnight flight! It's like the official start off to a vacation! Just before we were done, we ran into the G4 crew again! They sat at the bar & waved hello to us as they waved their glasses...they were on the same wavelength as us..."Cheers!" I noticed two ladies sitting at the table to our right, and some how I KNEW they were headed to Celebration as well (My instincts were right...that will also be in another blog). 

I was totally digging on all the syncronycity happening all around us & I felt totally at one with every part of it!!! 

We were on an overnight flight. Pretty cool airplane. I must admit, I felt pretty priveledged flying to Japan! We work really hard, but I felt blessed to be able to have this experience! The seats were comfortable for me, but for Randy being 6'4" got a little tight. He tried to move around & tried out different seats and then the man sitting next to me was kind enough to move so Randy could spread out. We had an entire row thanks to this kind man, which made the flight comfortable for us. I was shocked that we got fed...not once...two full meals! One meal I had was the codfish meal which was really delicious for airplane food! It came with a side dish of noodles, another side dish of veggies, potato salad, melon, carpacio, "Haagen Das" vanilla icecream (I know they went all designer label on the icecream-YUMMY!) green tea, FREE headphones (and they were pretty nice), and ALL YOU CAN DRINK FREE BEER & WINE...WHAT?!?! I know...not many airlines do this anymore!!! They also gave us snacks! Nowadays, most airlines only give you peanuts, if you're lucky! Each seat came equipped with your own tv, you have control of video games, music, movies & you can even pause it if you wanted to go to the bathroom! Pretty cool! During most of the flight, I listened to my ipod...I downloaded "Japanese For Dummies". I was so exhausted, I recall dosing off a few times while listening to it. 

The stewardess gave me a hot green tea that was HEAVENLY!!! Speaking of the stewardess...they were all sooo beautiful! Inside & out, they each had a beautiful, unique quality...there was something about their individuality...they each had a unique appeal. So kind! And they all resembled beautiful porcelain dolls with their perfect looking hair styles, fresh-glowing sin, and genuine, soft, sweet smiles! 

We crossed the "International Dateline"...It's where the day begins. Traveling through time zones was pretty cool...kind of confusing, but cool! 

Randy did sketches of the stewardesses, and gave each one of them a self portrait and they were truly grateful. One kept coming over to thank him again & again, she kept bowing to show her appreciation and happiness, and she said she was going to bring her family to Celebration (which she attended with her family all 3 days, that's another blog!)...Kindness pays!!!

So back to time we were in July 17 on the plane now, and back in CA it's yesterday...took me a few days to get accustomed to that! 

I LOVE traveling!!! There is something sacred about it to me. I certainly feel amongst the priveledged in that I've had the opportunity hands on to see & experience how other cultures live. I get to see and experience our likes and differences. My eyes are open. I've always loved the Japanese culture. The respect...the politeness...the language...the food....buddhism...kimonos....samurais...Japanese gardens...sushi...temples...shrines...Mt Fuji. I wish we had more time to travel and see more of Japan, but I am truly grateful for this moment! Somebody...Pinch me! I must say, this was one of the BEST flights I've ever had...and just so you know...I've been traveling my entire life...Our flight was pretty full. I couldn't help but wonder "Where is everyone on this flight going?" Well I knew one thing for certain, we were all heading in the same direction!

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to read about the rest of your journey..sigh, if only I was able to go. Oh time!