I woke up at 5:30 and got Lisa up 15 minutes later. I had suggested that we leave for the airport at 6:30, in order to be there 90 minutes before her flight left. We filled an empty suitcase that she had brought with our deflated air mattress as well as the mattress pad that Trudy had bought, figuring that this was our one chance of getting them home if we could make it for the final month without them. We also sent our own suitcase filled with our summer clothes, which we would apparently no longer be needing. We left the house closer to 6:45, me pulling two large suitcases, with Lisa and the kids lugging the rest of their gear down the street to Shibahara.
Luckily, the line to check the luggage all the way to Chicago was not a long one; I made it a point to explain that Lisa’s suitcase contained a small sword, as I figured that luggage screeners didn’t like to be surprised by such things. They didn’t seem to mind much, though- I imagined that it would have been a much bigger deal it was in one of the carry-ons. It was 7:40 when they finished checking their luggage, which left time for a quick breakfast before they had to board at 8:10. We went to a Bagel Café in the airport but, after the kids had finally decided what they wanted and then the staff had explained to us that the bagel sets only came with a specific type of bagel and not your choice of them, it was 8 am by the time the food arrived. We all ate quickly and then went to the security checkpoint right at 8:10.
While arriving this late to security at almost any airport in America would have surely meant a missed flight, the situation was totally different in Japan. There were no lines to go through the 4-5 security checkpoints that had been set up, despite the fact that about 5 planes were boarding simultaneously. Lisa and the kids were whisked through the station, and were presumably soon on board their plane. After waiting for a little while just to make sure, I took the monorail from the airport directly to the medical school. I prepared the samples that I needed to submit to IPR for analysis and then walked them over to Sakari-san. Since I really didn’t have anything else pressing to do that day, I decided to board the bus for home directly afterwards from the engineering campus.
I arrived home in time to eat lunch with Trudy, during which I succeeded in finishing off all the leftover glass noodles. I had wanted to visit one last shrine in Osaka before we left Japan- Sumiyoshi Taisha, known for its purely Japanese architecture, since it pre-dated much of the Chinese influences that were adopted in Japan, and Trudy had agreed to go with me. However, after traveling to south Osaka, near where we had eaten Thanksgiving dinner, I couldn’t find the station where we needed to switch to another train. I asked a few people and eventually figured out that we needed to get on a trolley car at that point, something I had not yet done in Osaka. Trudy, however, still tired from the craziness of the proceeding week, was in no mood to search any longer, and wanted to return home. We arrived there in time to greet the kids as they returned home from school.
I then walked to Server to get drinks, along with various household items which we were out of. I was soon met there by Justin, who helped me carry it all back. We decided to order pizza for dinner, so I walked with Justin to Chicago Delighta and placed our order, and then returned to Server to exchange two of the items which were not the kind that Trudy had asked for. We finally returned home, pizza in hand. Since Brennan needed some hardware for a project that he was doing at school, the two of us set out for Kohnan after we finished eating (I had looked for the materials he needed at Server when I had first gone, hoping in vain that they would be there). We made the trip a little more enjoyable by cutting through campus past an area we had never been before, and then wandering around unfamiliar neighborhoods before arriving at the store and obtaining the desired parts.
When we finally arrived home, I took it easy the rest of the evening- figuring that I had walked for about 2 hours that day, all told.