My time in America was well spent. While I was there, I restocked my pharmacy, bought new clothes, hung with my friends, and dug up some stuff to bring back. I attended my high school reunion one weekend and Otakon 2015 the next. I also got to do several things I hadn’t been able to do for eleven months: eat real hamburgers and pizza, as well as my mother’s cooking, and even cook out; drive both in the city and across state lines; sleep (soundly) in my old bed; and even watch my TV shows as they air. All too soon, though, it was time to go.
Despite having gone to a walk-in clinic there and taking the meds they prescribed, I still had a lingering cough the morning I had to catch my flight back to Japan. Going back with me were new work clothes, a huge stack of t-shirts I hadn’t been able to take before, medicines, some snacks (to eat and share), and a bunch of stuff I intended to sell in Akiba. On the way out of town, I added a pair of pepperoni rolls to my duffel bag so I didn’t have to overpay for food in Chicago.
While waiting in the TSA line in Pittsburgh, one of the agents started offering an alternate checkpoint, saying there was no wait time there. Many of us left the line and followed the guy upstairs, outside, across a road, and into what looked like a starship corridor before arriving at… an equally-long (if not longer) line. (We all had only ourselves to blame.) Before boarding at my gate, though, we were given the option to check a carry-on bag due to overhead space considerations. I gladly parted with one of mine. A short flight and a long wait later, I was minus one pepperoni roll and on a plane bound for Tokyo.
The flight back took twelve hours, which I mostly spent napping. I watched two movies: Focus (eh) and About Time (good). As usual, there was no special meal going back; in fact, I found the second meal to be fairly lacking.
Once I’d landed, I went through the standard procedures, collected my luggage, waited for the Keisei bus, and rode back to Tokyo Station. Getting a taxi was surprisingly easy — seconds after the bus left, I waved a hand at the first one I saw and it stopped. It was afternoon in Japan, and I felt a little frayed, so I was glad that my driver wasn’t in the mood to talk.
Once I was safely in my apartment, there was still plenty of work to be done. I plugged in and turned on most everything, then set to work unpacking. Getting everything to fit — and repacking things I wasn’t using, like seasonal clothes — took a few hours. I got a shower in there somewhere, watched some of my downloaded TV, and devored the other pepperoni roll before finally collapsing for the night. I had to work the next day.