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On our last full day, we decided to do silly American things. We lunched at the McDonald's at the end of the street, and went to see Men in Black 3 at the closest theatre. Movies in Japan continue to cost about twice as much as in the US, and seeing it in 3D made it especially steep, but we did it anyway. The woman at the ticket counter made sure to confirm that we understood the 3D version was dubbed, but we really wanted to see Will Smith speaking Japanese. I also got a kick out of the villain's name sounding exactly like my last name when pronounced in Japanese.

The return trip probably had more stressful moments in it than the flight over, even though we knew there would be friendly faces to meet us on arrival.

First, there was simply the matter of getting back to the airport. If Kyōto Station made any sense to us, this wouldn't have been any cause for anxiety, but I was worried about finding the right train. Luckily we had spotted a promising ticket counter on one of our earlier fruitless efforts to find our own way, and in buying our tickets we were able to learn where the train left from and when. Expecting to be lost and confused for longer than we were, we had plenty of time before the train came, and the only trouble in getting on was figuring out which cars were non-reserved.

The train brought us directly to the airport, again in plenty of time. The place was also astonishingly empty. We bought some sweets from a souvenir shop, discovered green-tea-flavored Kit-Kats, and settled down to wait until we could board our plane.

This time, the entertainment system held out, and I watched no fewer than seven films on the flight to New York.

It was at JFK that we really had cause to worry. We had an hour and a half between flights, which would have been plenty of time had we just been transferring within the same country. However, we had to make it through US customs, which had nightmarishly long lines and ate up almost an entire hour. We scrambled to get our boarding passes for the flight home, and ran smack into another long line for security. I held our spot in line while Katie went up to one of the attendants and explained that our flight was boarding in about 5 minutes, and thankfully they let us through to the front of the line. We made it onto the plane, and my mom was there to meet us at the airport when we arrived.

After holding out until around 7 PM, I went to bed and managed to sleep until 4 PM the following afternoon.

December 2016

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