Day One:

The day began at about 6am when I woke up to get ready to meet the group at the Madison YMCA. After checking the students in and collecting their passports we were on our way to JFK airport. The drive went off without a hitch. Once we made it to the airport, we were able to fly through security and check our bags with ease. Once we reached the gate, the students went off on their own to find some lunch for themselves. Roughly 10 minutes before boarding time (2:30pm), a voice came over the loud speaker that there was a delay of about a half hour. We did what we had to do and waited patiently. Once we boarded the plane there was more maintenance to be had on the plane delaying us for another hour. Just as the plane was fixed, the rain came on in, delaying us another 45 minutes or so.

Finally, we were in the air around 5:00. The flight that seemed like and endless trip to no where was actually quite entertaining with many movies, games and tv shows to choose from. Of course after 10 or so hours in the plane, who wouldn’t start to get wrestless. The staff was quite accomodating to us, serving us two full meals and a “midnight” snack along with tea and coffee just about every hour.

Right around 8:30pm we landed in Osaka and were able to get through customs quickly to meet our fellow Japanese Rotarians in the lobby where they were waiting with open arms. A short 15 minutes ride and were were at the Bellevue Garden Hotel where there was a very American buffet with chicken fingers and pizza waiting for us. While it did comfort many of us, I could also feel some dissapointment in the room as we were all excited for some local chow.

Now I am in my hotel room, tasting my very first Japanese vending machine beer and very much enjoying it. Stay tuned for some more adventure…