Japan – I don’t wanna go!

Leaving Wakayama

I woke up around 6am allowing me enough time to have a shower, grab a coffee and slowly get ready for setting of to Kansai Airport.  I was at Wakayama station for 7am and hopped on the train, I was sad to see Wakayama pass by out the train window as it had given me such a wonderful time.

Leaving Japan was incredibly sad for me as it’s a country I love being in, I would love to stay here if I could.  If anyone knows a way that a 30 year old with no degree can get a work visa / permanent stay visa for Japan then please I beg of you to let me know!!  I may be eligible to get a 1 year working holiday visa this year, but for next year when I’m 31 that’s no longer an option.  So please any visa loopholes or tricks you know of for Japan please, please, please tell me!

Kansai International Airport

After a change of trains at Hineno I was on my last leg of the journey to the airport.  I arrived at Kansai station and as I go up the escalator to the station terminal area I realised I was back where my adventure had started all those months ago.  Looking toward a sign near the pay machines I could almost see myself standing there waving my phone around trying to get WiFi when I’d arrived!

Deciding to try and not get myself depressed about leaving I headed into the airport to check my bags, a process which didn’t take long to do as the que was fairly minimal, however the lady that checked my bags in told me to clear security now as it was very busy.  She wasn’t kidding! The line for security actually zig zaged across the whole back area of the airport terminal building!  It took me around an hour to que and get through security, at Heathrow it had taken me about 10 minutes.

Once through the gates it was a case of finding some breakfast, I had exactly 1100 yen left in my pocket and so I decided to try and spend what I had left, this got me a rather tasty breakfast of rice, udon and tempura! With unlimited refills of green tea.

IMAG4755 With breakfast done it was time to head to the gate, where I found my flight home to be a jet run by KLM, I thought I’d booked with Air France, but I guess the two have a partnership.  Either way it didn’t bother me as I had no doubts they’d be just as good.

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I boarded the plane and got ready for wheels up.  The flight would take me as far as Amsterdam where I would have to get a connection to London.

A shout out to Air France & KLM

A quick note on the actual flights, I would just like to praise both airlines for being fantastic here.  My initial flight to Japan with Air France was great, and if you follow me on Twitter then you will have seen that I’ve even been praising how good their actual customer service and support is as well.

And flying back with KLM was great as well, I was only in economy but the seats were still comfy and had plenty of room (I’m of reasonably large build to!), the food was great, the service was great and the flight was smooth.  So both airlines get the thumbs up from me, I’ll use them again in the future and recommend them to others as well.

Home, the long way around

I was actually glad for a short layover in Amsterdam as it meant I could delay getting back to London just that little bit longer.  I was still not really wanting to return as at this stage (and still today as I type this) it feels like my heart and home belong in Japan, I’ve always felt out of place and lost in England, being in Japan I actually felt like I found somewhere I belonged.

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Arriving in Amsterdam I had couple of hours to spare, I cleared security (again) and was once again nominated for the random security body scan booth thing (which I think has happened to me at all airports now).  The airport was nice and modern, I grabbed a quick drink before heading to the gate and jumping on my next plane.

I was actually hoping that at the gate I would run into a lot of Japanese people flying to England as I was up for offering to be a guide or give my details as a point of contact if they ever needed any help, advice or support while in England.  Everyone in Japan had been so great to me I wanted to return the favor.  As it turns out though the gate was generally full of English people returning home from Holland instead.

About an hour later I was circling around London while we waited for a runway at Heathrow.

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