Day 1: Actually, it was 3 days

April 8-10, 2017

Five thousand miles. And then some. That’s how far we had to travel from our home in Orem before we’d touchdown in Japan, many hours later. Our first stop was dropping off our kids at a friend’s house. Thankfully, the farewell wasn’t too tough, and Alicia and I soon found ourselves kid-free and heading to the airport.

Our first leg would be SLC > LAX on Saturday afternoon; a simple 1.5 hour flight. When you’re staring down a 12 hour flight, 90 minutes is child’s play – and it was. After the usual privacy violations by TSA and a short flight, we were at LAX before we knew it.

Since we bought our tickets to Los Angeles separate from our tickets to Tokyo, we had to get our luggage and heft it on over to the International Terminal—about a 15 minute walk away. It was a welcome walk on a chilly spring night after sitting on an airplane.

We were still several hours away from boarding our 12:50am flight, and after being unable to find the JAL check-in desk inside the very crowded and busy terminal, we set up shop outside to wait for an hour or so before trying again.

Looking in front of LAX International Terminal at night
Waiting outside the LAX International Terminal
A woman sits looking at her phone in front of LAX International Terminal
Alicia waiting outside the LAX International Terminal

After marching around the whole of the terminal, we finally found the JAL check-in area just a few minutes before they were going to be opening for our flight. We checked in without any difficulty and headed over to Round 2 with TSA. Surprisingly, it went much easier than Salt Lake.

This was the last stop before Tokyo! We were so excited. The international terminal at LAX is very nice inside, and was a pleasant place to wait for a few more hours before we would finally be boarding our flight. We both had some dinner from the over-priced food court, walked around the over-priced high-end retail stores, and just sat around and waited. Eventually it gets pretty boring.

Alicia waiting inside

Finally, around midnight Sunday morning, it was time to start boarding our flight. The line was long, and it took awhile to get on the plane.

Front view of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at night at a gate at the LAX International Terminal
The JAL 787 Dreamliner that took us to Tokyo; it was our home for 12 long hours

A peculiar note about JAL airplanes – they don’t have the vents for blowing air! Made it a little uncomfortable actually. Gets kinda stuffy on an airplane!

Stuffed somewhere in the middle of coach, we both did our best to sleep between bouts of watching movies. We took off at 12:50am Los Angeles time, which was 1:50am Utah time, so we were already quite tired. I can’t sleep on a plane, so I took some ZZZquil to knock me out. Spoiler alert – it didn’t knock me out, but made me really groggy. In the end I still barely slept. I did sweat a lot, though!

Finally, 12 long hours later, we were over land again.

Tokyo: 5:00am Monday

We touched down bright and early Monday morning at Haneda Airport – a very lovely place! Customs was pretty quick and easy. Upon exiting Customs we came across a shower facility in the airport. Since I was stinky and sweaty I quickly determined that spending $10 on a shower would be a great idea. And it certainly was a great idea.

Next, we hopped on the Monorail that would take us to Tokyo Station. Thankfully it was running by the time we got there so we weren’t stuck at the airport in the early early morning. The ride was nice–we had arrived on a very lovely day in Japan and the weather was perfect. I broadcasted an Instagram Live video (unfortunately, it wasn’t saved anywhere) and chatted with a few friends that happened to be available to watch.

The monorail took us to Hamamatsucho station, where we’d need to take a JR City train to Tokyo Station. Our first train transfer! How exciting and rather undramatic.

Our plan was to spend the morning wandering around Tokyo before getting on the Tokaido Shinakensen and head off to Nagoya. We dropped our big luggage off in a coin storage locker, and then ventured outside to grab breakfast at one of the many, many convenience stores all over Japan.

Inside of Tokyo Station
Inside Tokyo Station, looking into one of the domes

But, that didn’t happen. Tokyo Station is in the business/government district and… there weren’t any convenience stores. Just big buildings. So we went for a walk towards the Imperial Gardens just a short distance from Tokyo station. It was only 7:15am so we had a long, full day ahead of us!

A tall building in downtown Tokyo outside Tokyo station
One of the many, many buildings in Tokyo. This is in the Government District in front of Tokyo Station

This area of town was kind of empty as far as people, it was honestly kind of weird since we knew how many people were in Tokyo. It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. We soon made it to the grounds of the Imperial Palace, an area with a huge field covered with these really cool crazy trees. Hundreds of them.

The large, open garden outside the Imperial Garden in Tokyo, Japan
Outside the Imperial Palace is a huge garden, lots and lots of land surrounds the palace
Curvy pruned trees around the Imperial Garden in Tokyo, Japan
All the trees in the park were pruned to look like this. Really fun to see

For the next hour or so we wandered around the outside garden of the Imperial Palace. Cherry blossoms were blooming and there was scattered pink. It was very calm, peaceful, and very pretty. It was a good walk to stretch our legs after a long time sitting on an airplane.

Blooming Cherry Blossoms hang over the wall of the Imperial Garden in Tokyo, Japan
Cherry blossoms on the palace wall
Skyscrapers rise in the distance with the Imperial Garden grounds in the foreground in Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is a HUGE city, it was a little strange being in this large open space, practically by ourselves, surrounded by skyscrapers.
Two bridges at the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo, Japan, with the Imperial Palace visible in the backtround
This is a famous double bridge at the Imperial Gardens
Alicia has traveled to many countries, and this is her pose of choice when she’s in front of things.
A man stands in front of a gate at the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo, Japan
Me standing in front of a big gate in the wall of the Imperial Garden
A view of Tokyo from the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo, Japan
Another one of the amazing views from the Imperial Gardens; this was taken just outside the walls.

After about an hour wandering around Alicia and I were both hit with a pretty powerful feeling: hunger. We were starving. It had been several hours since we’d eaten on the airplane, and even then we didn’t really get full off of that, so our stomachs were pretty empty and starting to get pretty angry.

But there was no food in sight. I pulled up maps, and found a convenience store close-by, and we started to walk over to it. But it wasn’t there; at least not at street level. This was getting frustrating! The Japan I remembered had convenience stores EVERYWHERE, and I couldn’t find one ANYWHERE. We decided to hop on the Subway for a few stops and get out in a different part of town, maybe we’d find luck away from all the government buildings.

Passengers ride and look at their smartphones on a Tokyo Metro Subway in Tokyo, Japan
Even though it should have been a busy morning, this subway car wasn’t nearly as packed as you’d think it would be for Tokyo.

We got off after a stop or two, and started to look for food in the Subway shopping network. A lot of stations will have little shops and restaurants that are filled with all sorts of goodies. We first found a little teeny sandwich shop that had lots of prepared sandwiches for purchase. We grabbed one and a drink. Then, a few minutes later we found a delicious bread shop and decided we needed more breakfast and had some food there too. It was SO GOOD. It always is. I love these little bread shops.

A woman looks at an assortment of Japanese pastries and breads inside a Pan shop in Tokyo, Japan
This is the little bread shop inside the Subway station where we got the 2nd part of our breakfast. It was so good. So very good.

After getting some food in our stomachs we decided that our traveling was finally catching up to us and we were tired, and ready to head to Nagoya a few hours earlier than we’d planned. We were only about 1/2 mile from Tokyo Station so we popped up to ground level for a walk through the city. It was very clean, and not very busy. It really was a gorgeous morning in Tokyo.

A woman is surrounded by goods in a pharmacy in Tokyo, Japan
Along the way we hopped into a little pharmacy and grabbed a few more snacks. This was Alicia’s first can of many potato chips.
Just a neat little garden below street level, I think there was a cafe close by but it wasn’t open yet or people weren’t eating outside
Not sure if we were by an important building or not, but I was a little curious about the several video cameras positioned here.
A taxi makes a turn in front of Tokyo Station
The area in front of Tokyo Station was under construction, so I wasn’t able to get a really great shot of it.

When we arrived back at the station, it was now time for us to activate our JR Rail Passes. We found the redemption center inside one of the domes, and had to wait in a line to get our passes checked and make sure we had everything valid, and to fill out our application. From there, we went to an office inside the station and stood in another line to actually activate our pass and get our tickets. This took less than an hour so it wasn’t a terrible wait; the staff was pretty efficient at taking care of us. They do this every single day.

Collage of JR Rail Pass cover, inside, and back cover
This pass allows you to ride any JR Train, Bus, or Ferry and is a must-have for people wanting to explore all over the country.

With our passes activated, it was time to catch a ride to Nagoya. Thankfully, we were able to find the coin lockers where we’d stashed our luggage. Alicia had to go to the bathroom, so I sat on the floor and just observed the busyness of Tokyo Station.

People walk in every direction inside Tokyo Station in Tokyo, Japan
People hustling and bustling left and right as they make their trains and head off to their locations.
 

Sorry it’s shaky. I’m super tired.

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Soon we made it to the train platform, excited for our first ride on the Shinkansen and excited for some time to take a break and relax and sleep. The Shinkansen platform is such a cool place, these things come and go so quickly and so efficiently. Tokyo Station has over 400 Shinkansen arrivals and departures every single day! That is moving so many people.

A view of the outside of a Shinkasen train in Tokyo, Japan
These trains are long, have 8 cars that can hold 100 people each, and go so fast. Such a rad marvel
Alicia excitedly waiting for her first ride on the bullet train.

Suddenly we were off! We ended up on the Kodama train to Nagoya which takes the longest to arrive since it makes all stops, and sometimes has to wait at stations for the faster Hikari and Nozomi trains to pass. It took us a little less than 3 hours to make the trip, which is about an hour+ longer than it could have taken had we taken a faster train. But that’s okay, we both needed a rest. Shinkansen are very spacious inside, so stretching out and taking a nap was no problem.

A view out the window of the Shinkansen as it speeds along to Nagoya, Japan
The country passes by very quickly when you’re going 180mph, but it’s so smooth and quiet on the Shinkansen.
A map showing the route of the Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan
This is the route we took from Tokyo to Nagoya along the Tokaido Shinkansen. We passed Mt Fuji on the way. Total time on the Kodama was 2hr 52min.

We pulled into Nagoya in the early afternoon and then headed for the Subway to catch a short ride to the Sakae District where our hotel was. A few weeks before our trip, I had to re-arrange our schedule and change my AirBNB’s, and ended up needing a hotel on our first night. I picked a cheap one and… it delivered as expected. It was clean, but the mattress was hard as a rock. Good thing we were both exhausted!

Once checked in, we took a nap for an hour or so and then got up and got ready to go meet my dear friend Taka for dinner. He met us at our hotel and we walked about 5 minutes away to a little restaurant that had Gyoza – and it was so good! Taka was great company, we had a great conversation and ate yummy food until we finally had happy tummies.

A restaurant in Nagoya, Japan
This is the restaurant we ate at on our first night
A plate of hot, delicious Gyoza served at a restaurant in Nagoya, Japan
Gyoza and more Gyoza. I LOVE this stuff so much. I wish we had Gyoza restaurants in the states, not just a place that has them as an appetizer. They can be a meal, dangit!
This is Taka. He points his finger at me a lot because I say ridiculous things that require chastisement

In 1999 I lived in a city north of Nagoya called Inuyama. Taka lived there at the same time too. Taka met the missionaries shortly after I left so I did not meet him while I lived there, but he became good friends with one of my good friends who served in Inuyama after I did, and I met him that way.

Taka totally saved my butt on my first trip back to Japan in 2007 when he took me in after I completely failed to book a hotel for myself. His little apartment became my headquarters for that trip. Taka is a kind, generous man and one of my favorite people! It was so good to see him again in Japan.

Alicia, Taka, and Joel after a great dinner.

After dinner, Taka dropped us off at our hotel. Alicia was more than ready for bed, but I wasn’t quite ready to go to sleep. I was finally in Japan after a 10 year break and I was gonna make the most of every day! So I grabbed my new neat Fuji X-T20 and went out for a walk around Sakae. It was a fun way to end a very, very long day.

Cars parked on a street in Sakae, in Nagoya Japan
Bikes parked on the sidewalk in Nagoya, Japan
A streetside ferris wheel in Sakae
A black and white photograph of a street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan
A street scene in Sakae, Nagoya Japan

Day 2: Nagoya in the rain

April 11, 2017

When we woke up Monday morning, Day 2, it was raining. Not like it rains back home in Utah where you might get a steady downpour for 20 or 30 minutes, but an island rainstorm where it’s gonna pour all day. And it did.

I was super excited to just get out and walk around, so I put on my raincoat, grabbed my umbrella, and went out for a walk. It was still pretty early, and since it was raining not many people were on the streets. I felt like it was another good time for a Live broadcast, and this time I went to Facebook instead of Instagram. My cousin Roshell (who also served her mission in Nagoya) saw that I was online and kept me company as I wandered around aimlessly in the rain. If you’ve got 20 minutes to spare, feel free to watch my broadcast.

After my walk I messaged Taka and asked him if he wanted to meet for breakfast – and he did! So we both got ready, and walked the short distance to Oasis 21 to meet him. It was still raining.

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We arrived a little bit early and had a few moments to walk around the open-air underground shopping plaza. Most stores were still closed but a few restaurants were open. We met up with Taka and had breakfast in a cute little deli.

The front entrance to Cafe de Crie in Nagoya, Japan at Oasis 21
The delightful little cafe we had breakfast at in Nagoya

A darn good egg salad sandwich.

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After breakfast Taka headed off to work, and Alicia and I headed back to our hotel to pack up our bags. For the rest of our stay in Nagoya we were going to be in an AirBNB a little ways out in the suburbs.

Unfortunately the rain put a damper on our Nagoya plans; I had wanted to go see the castle, maybe head down to the Port and see the Aquarium and other things to do down there. Instead, we spent most of it inside the massive Nagoya Station.

We left the hotel and headed for the Subway so we wouldn’t have to be hauling our stuff around in the rain. We were only a few stops away. When we arrived we found some more lockers and dropped off our big luggage, and then started exploring.

Nagoya Station is the largest train station in the world by square footage. It has 2 towers as well as underground shops and restaurants. It was the perfect destination for a rainy, dreary day. Our first stop was the Marriott Hotel Observation Deck on the 15th floor. It had a good view of the surrounding area. The towers ultimately go up about 52 floors.

Rainy day here in #nagoya! But that’s okay lots of things to see indoors.

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A view of train tracks in Nagoya Japan
A view of the local and bullet train tracks.

Before too long it was time for lunch, and Taka was able and willing to come meet us. We ended up at this all-you-can-eat buffet in one of the Towers that had a good mix of familiar food and unfamiliar Japanese food. The plates were cool. Take a square, and then put a 3×3 grid of indented squares. Perfect for a buffet, honestly. The food was really good. Happy tummies all around!

All you can eat buffet. The plate is fantastic!

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After lunch we visited Bic Camera and the Takeshita Department store, both huge and covering many floors of the station. Bic Camera has just about everything electronic imaginable inside. Take Best Buy and multiply the inventory by 10,000. It was awesome. The department store was fun, too. I really love Japanese stationary, so many types of paper and writing things and envelopes and folders and things. So many cool things.

They had this kitchenware made from very flexible yet durable tin, called NOUSAKU. It allowed you to shape it any manner you wanted, from a flat plate to a tall vase. Really cool stuff, and kind of expensive. It was quite a temptation for Alicia.

In the basement of all this is a grocery store that we spent some time wandering around as well. Taka treated us to a smoothie that was pretty darn good. It was fun to see all the different foods and how they display food. Being in the basement of Nagoya Station it was definitely a higher end grocery store, with fancier foods.

$15 for 100g of Beef… really, really good beef though!
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$250 melons.

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Soon, we had to part with Taka for the second time that day, and it was time for us to head to the suburbs to our first AirBNB of our trip. We collected out luggage, and then hopped on the Higashiyama Subway line heading for Fujigaoka.

Can you find Nagoya Station and follow the line to our stop at Issha? (Click to enlarge)

Our AirBNB was a small little apartment near the Issha subway stop. It was still raining when we arrived, so we had to find it in the rain. It took a minute, but we did find it, and were on the top floor. Opening it up was just like going in to one of the apartments I lived in on my mission – nearly identical layout and room size. Perfect place for us to stay for a few days. I love that we were on the top floor because that allowed me to get some city shots from the balcony.

After getting settled in, Alicia wanted to stay in for dinner, so we headed down to the corner drugstore and asked for directions to a grocery store. I couldn’t remember the word for it, so it took a few minutes to get the question across. The store was just a few hundred yards up the street, no big to walk!

Our Shopping Basket
Cute little basket filled with fresh food.

That wrapped up our day! Unlike the first night, I didn’t go exploring after Alicia went to bed; there wouldn’t have been much to explore. But, I did get a night photo from the balcony.

Long exposure night view of Japan suburbs
A long exposure night view taken from the balcony of our AirBNB in Issha, Japan.

Day 3: The Toyota Factory Tour

April 12, 2017

The email reservation from Toyota for our plant tour

Toyota Tuesday! This day was one I was super excited for. When I was a missionary living in Meito, Nagoya in summer of 2000, we were lucky to get a pass to go tour the Toyota Factory. When I returned to Japan with my dad in 2005, we weren’t so lucky. This time, I made sure to plan around and get reservations. Toyota suggest getting them 3 months in advance!

Side story: When I went to book this tour 3 months in advance, the day I had planned on going was already booked out solid! I ended up having to rearrange our entire trip to make our tour happen, as the only available day was at the beginning instead of the end as I was originally planning.

Looking off the balcony of our AirBNB in the morning
This is city life in Japan. Power lines, narrow streets and roads, lots of trees and plants, and oddly all the signs are in Kanji.

Anyway! Wake up, get ready, and walk the short trip to the Subway station. It was 8:00-something in the morning, and the rush was on to Nagoya. Thankfully a new train arrives every 3-5 minutes, so there is never much of a wait. But I will say this – every train is packed! PACKED! And we were still about 20 minutes and several stops away from downtown.

Waiting at a crosswalk in Japan
Waiting at the crosswalk to go to Issha Station of the Higashiyama Subway Line. The station doesn’t look like much across the street because it’s all underground!
The train platform at Issha Station
The platform at Issha Station for trains heading to Nagoya

Eventually Alicia and I are stuffed face to face at the door end of the car, getting nice and cozy. As we got closer to town, the trains were getting a little backed up and we had to stop once or twice before we actually got to the station. When you’re humming along down the tracks there’s a lot of ambient noise, and when you stop at a station there’s doors opening, chimes ringing, people bustling in and out – it’s plenty noisy. But, when you stop between all the noise… wow it was quiet. It was crazy quiet. No sounds from phones, nobody talking on the phone, nobody playing music, it was really crazy quiet. I almost felt like I was yelling by just breathing! Crazy!

Alicia
See. Face to face. Literally.

A few minutes later we arrive at the hustle and bustle of Nagoya Station. We rode in on the subway and needed to transfer to a JR Express train bound for Toyohashi. I scanned the Train platform signs and about put us on the JR Local, which would have added too much to our commute to arrive to the tour on time – thankfully Alicia managed to catch my mistake and we hopped on the Express. We got off the train at Okazaki and hopped on the Aichi Loop Railway bound for Mikawa-Toyota station. 

When buying our tickets, I bought the wrong ones and overpaid the fare that we should have spent. As Alicia and I sat and enjoyed the view of the local area, I sat there wondering how to ask the station master how to get a refund and was stuck because I would need words I didn’t know. So, it was time to get a little outgoing. There was a college-age girl sitting across from me, so I busted out my Japanese and tried a conversation. She quickly helped me learn the right phrase to say, and then we spent the next 20 minutes or so chit-chatting. That was the longest conversation in Japanese I’d had in a long, long time. It was so much fun! 

Soon we arrived at Mikawa-Toyota station and I managed to get the refund without a hiccup. Woohoo! Once there, we had about a 10-15 minute walk to Toyota HQ to begin our tour. The weather was so perfect, an absolutely fantastic spring day. Clear skies, perfect temperature.

We arrived at Toyota HQ with a little bit to spare, and spent some time looking at all the cars in the showroom. The main area has several of their newest models on display to look into and climb around. Naturally I drifted to the Land Cruiser on display. The showroom has a few rooms off from it with different displays of old and new Toyota tech. A pretty cool place to hang out, but we were both excited for what was next.

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Welcome to Toyota.

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A Toyota van covered in fake dog fur with ears
I have no idea what this is, but it was front and center at the entrance. #dumbanddumber
A Lexus LFA on display at Toyota HQ in Toyota, Japan
The Lexus LFA. Jeremy Clarkson’s favorite supercar. Sure wish I could’ve taken this for a drive…
Alicia peeking inside a car
A Lexus racecar
Toyota Land Cruiser
Yes please
Inside the Land Cruiser
Steering wheel is on the wrong side.

Finally it was time for the tour to start. After a quick welcome and introduction we were instructed to put our bags into some lockers since cameras are quite forbidden inside the factory. Sad. Face. After that we boarded a bus for a trip across town to the Tsutsumi plant.

Toyota offers tours at 3 different final assembly plants and rotates through them. Each one has a pathway elevated above the assembly line where you walk along and watch what’s happening down below. It’s really, really cool. The tour guide stops every few minutes and lets us know what’s happening down below us. We got to see the parts arrival area where you get to see the Just in Time methodology that Toyota developed in play. That was pretty cool. This plant is the final assembly, so it’s where all the parts made at the other factories around Toyota (engine, transmission, axles, etc) arrive and are put on the assembly line to be built. At the beginning we saw chassis and suspension hitting the ground and at the end we saw finished cars driving off. Crazy! They put an entire car together faster that it takes me to change my oil at home. I wish I had photos to show. It’s a really cool experience and you should definitely give it a go if you can make it work.

After the tour was over we took a bus ride back to HQ. We grabbed our stuff and then went out for more walking. We walked past the original headquarters building that had the original Toyota logo on the outside, so I had to stop and take a photo with my matching logo shirt. Right around the corner was the Motomachi plant – the very first Toyota factory where my 1972 Land Cruiser was born (I think). It was so cool!

The Toyota Motomachi Plant
Me in front of the original Toyota HQ Building
Pose like a idiot! Notice the logo at the top of the building matches my shirt. Thanks to my cool wife for making me the shirt.

From there we continued our walk through Toyota winding and weaving our way around the little streets on our way to a mall with a food court inside where we could finally grab some lunch. I ended up going with some authentic McDonald’s cuisine. 😂On the way out we noticed a Mr. Donut’s so we had to indulge with one of those.

This is a Toyota 86, in Toyota Japan, with a Toyota License Plate that says 86 on it. IT’S SO META I CAN’T HANDLE IT.
This is a Volkswagen dealership in Toyota Japan. An abomination!

Right down the street from the mall was a salon and it was finally time for me to get a haircut. I’d purposefully been letting my hair grow out longer than I like because getting your haircut in Japan is quite an experience! And I was not disappointed! It was fun.

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Finally got my haircut in Japan!

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It was getting later in the afternoon and was becoming time to head on back to Nagoya and – you guessed it – we walked back to the station. We got there and had a little bit of a wait before our train arrived and so I wandered around the platform taking some photos and just enjoying the weather.

I love this. This is Japan scenery that gives me a flood of memory and emotions.
Alllllll the working dudes wear suits. All of ’em.

At some point you transfer off the local line (Aichi Loop Line) back to the JR Tokaido line at Okazaki that runs up to Nagoya. About halfway to Nagoya we realized we were quite hungry again so we got off and went for some Gyudon. I love Gyudon.

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Beef Bowl

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On the final leg back to Nagoya we discussed what to do that night, and decided on hitting up Eikaiwa (English Class) that the missionaries teach every week. I sent a message to my friend Taka seeing if he’d want to join us, and he sounded a little reluctant but said he’d try.

We pulled into Nagoya station and it was starting to get dark. Eikaiwa starts at 7 and we were gonna be cutting it close as we still had a ~30 minute subway ride to go, and then a good 10 or 15 minutes of more walking to the church. But, that didn’t stop us! We hopped on the Chikatetsu Higashiyama line and zipped on out to Issha station. We were headed to the Meito ward building where the Nagoya Mission Home and Office is, an area that I served in for 5 months as a missionary.

It’d been at least a decade since I had last been there, but I still remembered where to go. About 15 minutes of walking later in the dark we found the chapel, and my heart skipped a beat. I was home. We went inside and joined a Sister missionary teaching english. It was fun. Taka showed up as class was wrapping up and we all hung out with the missionaries for a few moments.

A sister missionary teaching kids English in Meito Ku, Japan.
English Class was something we’d do week in and week out as missionaries, and I was happy to see it was still being done today. It was always fun.

After Eikaiwa we were beat, it had been a long day with a lot of walking. Thankfully, we only had 1 stop back to where our place was, so we were home pretty quickly. Bedtime came soon after and Day 3 was over!