I landed at terminal 8 on the far right, I flew out of Tom Bradley International Terminal on the far left.
LAX in Los Angeles is not one of my favorite airports, and its layout is horrible. As usual, my connecting flight from San Diego landed at the very last gate in the very last terminal, and my flight to Tokyo was leaving from the gate as far away as you could get and still be in the same airport. According to my ever so smart watch, it was about a mile and a quarter, with nary a moving walkway in sight.
Now, it was possible to take a slightly shorter journey by actually leaving the airport and catching a shuttle bus to the International Terminal, but then you would have to go through TSA security again. And even with TSA Pre-Check and Trusted Traveler authorizations, that entailed more standing in line than I really wanted.
It was a long flight from Los Angeles, made longer by the fact that the flight was in sunlight the whole way, so – no nap. I hadn’t slept much the night before, so by the time I got to Tokyo I was pretty tired.
Once I landed in Tokyo, I had a connecting flight to Osaka. Now, Narita Airport in
Tokyo is a marvel of efficiency; I was off the plane and through Immigration and Custom in about twenty minutes. Everyone uses an automated kiosk, though there is a service rep standing at each one to help. Even here though, it was a long walk to move from the International Terminal to the Domestic Terminal staying airside.
Once in Osaka, I took a bus – a “luxury” bus, no less – to Namba Station where I could take a taxi to my hotel. Remember when I said I was pretty tired? I got off the bus and strode confidently over to the taxi stand. I had practiced how to say where I wanted to go in Japanese, and I had the directions to the hotel printed out in Japanese. I got a cab right away.
After we had gone about 100 feet, just onto the road in front of the station, I realized that I didn’t have my luggage. Damn! “Go back,” I shouted. “I don’t have my bag.”
Now at this point I had visions of having to wear the underwear I had on for the next seven days. Yes, I know I could buy everything
in front of the hotel
I needed here, but finding something that fit was going to be a challenge.
The very confused taxi driver took me back to the station, though he still charged me the full fare. I ran inside to talk to someone from the bus company. They found someone who spoke enough English to understand what I needed, and he called ahead to the next stop on the bus route and told them to look for my bag.
I found another taxi to take me to the next stop. When I got there, the bus I had been on had come and gone, and I resigned myself to the hassle of lost luggage. Then a man from the bus company came out of an office with my bag.
Relief! And this just showed me once again the difference between the US and Japan: everyone I dealt with seemed to actually care about whether I got my stuff back, and did everything they could to help me. In the US I’d be given an 800 number to call, and told there was nothing more they could do.
I hired another taxi to take me the short distance to my
pretty good chicken, right across from my hotel
hotel, where, after a hot shower and a cold beer, I called it a day.
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