It seems the only thing that went right when departing Japan was being at the bus station on time on Sunday night! Man! From there it went pretty much downhill pretty quickly. Bloody fantastic!!
Upon arrival at the airport, there seemed to occur a number of brain exploisions. The first one being the lack of ability to read any signs- although they were in plain English. This resulted in us waiting at the wrong check in counter, and being shuffled along. When we eventually found the correct one (just next door- yes you read it right!) we were the first in line. Wo-hoo!! Once we were all checked in so began our mad dash to get some brekkie, change some money and cancel our cellfones. Begin as you mean to go on the say, and so began our "Keystone Cops" mini-adventure!
After changing the money (which took some time as the powers that be made sure 1) that we had the amount of yen on us that we were changing (hello? dah!!) and 2) that we were sure that we were changing the yen into the correct currency (again... hello? dah!)), we then proceeded to cancel the cellfones. Which we had been informed earlier couldn't be done until 10am although the shop opened at 9am- a note here: Vodafone is the only shop that opens at 9am, the others are all open by 830am- obviously we thought this was complete bollocks and so it turned out to be. The lovely lady cancelled our phones in 10mins and bid us adieu.
Did I forget to mention that we had to board our flight by 930am? And we still had not gone through immigration?
First I had to make it through the x-ray machine. Usually no big deal. Wrong. My bag was put through the machine twice. Someone was called over to scrutinise the images. They let it go. Wrong. A woman came hurtling towards me in a very Japanese panic (really very mild, almost like an agitated state for others) and asked if I had nail clippers in my bag. Well! Yep I did and had plum forgot about them. She asked politely to see them and explained under regulations blah, blah, blah. Yeah take them I said. Just let me get on my plane!!
So making our way down to the immigration counter we (not me) proceeded through with little fanfare. Not me. Upon my gaijin card being demanded back (ID card for all foreigners in Japan) I politely told her I had checked it. Stupid. She promptly picked up the phone and I was escorted to a room with other "undesirables". Of course I hadn't checked it I just wanted it as a souvenir. Stupid. It was in my wallet. Which I had misplaced. And couldn't find. Anywhere. Paying little attention to the officer, jumping to all the worst case scenarios possible, all of my belongings were being unceremoniously dumped on their table in a very cartoon-esque fashion. My main thought being making the flight, nothing else mattered. With absolute relief the offending item was retrieved and surrended to the very polite official, who then made me sign something (I don't know what) then pointed out that such-in-such was cancelled and blah, blah, blah... She then lead me through a door and let me go on my merry way. My mate was standing outside cracking up laughing. Yes it was a helluva joke apparently.
And still we are not finished...
Having JPY4000 to spend we decided to get some food and bits n bobs to spend all of our last yen. It was now 920am and we were nowhere near our departure gate. In a sort of a hurried amble we bought our goodies and boarded the shuttle tram thingy to the gate. There was a big line at what we assumed was our gate. Brain exploision. That whole reading signs thing again. It seemed our entire flight was on the plane. Except us. The ground staff appeared unconcerned at our tardiness, there was one more passenger behind us. As soon as we three were on board take off procedures began. But were just as quickly stopped. Rain I think. Something. I don't know. I woke up when we took off. About an hour later than scheduled.
It was over. Finished. Kaput. We had officially left Japan.