Our Trip to Japan… with Makoto

All in all this trip from Florida to Japan took 26 hours from door to door. Makoto did very well; better than I had hoped.

Getting to the airport was fine. Makoto enjoyed the many 18 wheelers, pickup trucks, and cars on the interstate. He likes machines that move, and there were a lot of them.

The first flight (the short one, 2:10 hours) was the worst and gave us a false premonition of the horrendous things to come. Makoto did alright until the last 15 minutes of the flight when I had to buckle him for landing. He did NOT want to be buckled and he let everyone know it.

Strangely, he soon gave up the struggle and fell fast asleep while we landed.

We woke him up after entering the Chicago airport to save his ‘energy’ for falling asleep on the big plane.

After a few hours we boarded the big 777 and took off for Narita. Makoto did wonderfully the entire trip.

Makoto spying his first ShinkansenNormally, after the first meal (about one hour in) the plane darkens and everyone closes their window shade. Unfortunately for us, the guy behind us decided to look for icebergs every few minutes. Folks, when the lights go dim and just about everyone is trying to get some sleep, don’t open your window to let light flood the cabin. That’s just rude. It is amazing how one little window can make the cabin look like high noon.

We brought a portable DVD player, an extra battery for the player, a Nintendo DS, and many new toys to keep Makoto’s attention, but we really didn’t need any of that. On the big plane I read to Makoto one Thomas the Train book several times, but most of the time he just played with his cars quietly.

We arrived in Tokyo, went through customs, and boarded the Narita Express to get to the Shinkansen (bullet train).

In Tokyo Makoto got to see his first (憧れ akogare) dream SHINKANSEN! (see picture left)

The first few minutes of the Shinkansen ride was spent with a speechless Makoto.  Only rarely did he even blink!

Makoto’s Rides on 5-27-08:

1) Car to Airport (Jacksonville)
2) Plane to Chicago
3) Plane to Tokyo
4) Train (Narita Express) to Tokyo
5) Shinkansen to Maebara
6) Regular train to Fukui
7) Car to parents-in-law’s house

All that in 26 hours!  Makoto finally fell asleep just a few minutes before arriving at the house.  It couldn’t have been planned better.  (Clay stayed up until Midnight trying to catch up with email–He didn’t finish…)

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6 thoughts on “Our Trip to Japan… with Makoto

  1. glad i could be a part of Makoto’s first leg of the trip in the car to Jacksonville. We miss you already and i hope i can hold The Japan Shop up to standards–i might have sent the super suiyoubi newsletter 3 times… i don’t know… 🙂

  2. Wow!!!! This is the greatest!!! For a few months now I have been anxious to hear that all of you were safely in Fukui at the Aoki’s home. Makoto is having such a good time!
    Love, Baba B.

  3. What a wonderful beginning to your trip! It sounds like Makoto is loving the entire experience. My wife & I are just starting our own family and were wondering what age would be the right time to take our “to-be-conceived” child to Japan. I went when I was young (my mom is Japanese), but I don’t remember too much from that first trip. What age is Makoto?

  4. Hi Michael,

    Sorry I took so long to reply!

    Well, if it is to visit relatives, probably early on (under 6 months) would be easiest. But if it is to just travel, I would wait until after the terrible twos if possible. Older children can be ‘bribed’ by Nintendo DSs, DVD players, Comic books, etc, but two year olds are more fickle. 🙂

    Makoto is two and a half now.

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