Thursday, March 1, 2001
So like I was saying, we arrived at Tokyo-Narita Airport at about 5:00 p.m. We only knew it was 5:00 p.m. because the flight crew said so. Our brains said it was 3:00 a.m., the time in Knoxville, and our bodies didn't know what the heck was going on. I was able to catch some sleep on the plane, but Tom stood in the galley hanging out with the sky-waitresses and looking out the window for the entire flight. We flew over Siberia, so we actually caught some pretty dramatic scenery on the way.
We "deplaned," did the customs and immigration thing, then we went to find Tom's buddy Mark who lives in Japan and was to pick us up at the airport. The departure board had the wrong information about our arrival gate, so it took us a few minutes to find each other, but we finally did and were on our way to Mark and his family's house in Yokohama. We got to Mark's about two hours later and met up with his wife Traci and their kids Amanda, Eric, and Madeline.
Leaving the kids at the house, the rest of us went out to grab some dinner at a yakitori-ya. Yakitori is a popular after-work meal in Japan. It's not so much a meal as it is an accompaniment for beer. They grill the food over charcoal and you order it by the skewer. We ate bunches of skewers of chicken breast and beef and even had some some quail eggs. We also drank bunches of beer. We met Mark and Traci's friend Shinozaki at the restaurant, and the five of us drank 25 beers. Kampai!! (Cheers!!) The restroom at this restaurant was equipped with an ingenious device that would make the sound of a flushing toilet when you pushed a button, you know, to cover up any rude sounds you might be inclined to make in there. Ha!
We got back to Mark and Traci's about 11:30 or so, and while Traci and I wisely crashed, Mark and Tom stayed up most of the night drinking Australian rum. Good thinking. As if Tom didn't have enough jetlag.