(Reading time: 25 - 49 minutes)

Japan Spotting Tour 2008

Where? Japan - Kyushu and Okinawa
When? December 2008

Somehow I had to go back to Japan, despite some of the experiences during my first trip. All these exotic aircraft and and the strange, but very interesting country and the nice people finally made me to go back again. This journey to the "Land of the Rising Sun" was organized around the airshows in Nyutabaru and Naha, thus concentrating on the warmer south at that time of the year.
With a better preparation and the knowledge from the first trip this trip made me want to go back again sometime in the future.
This is the story why:

 YOKOSO Japan - Welcome to JAPAN!

With good and Japanese style food the flight to start this trip was already an excellent preparation fort he next two weeks. The food and some drinks shortened the time of the  blackforest cake on sticks...12h flight on-board a Lufthansa A340 considerably and we touched down in a good spirit at Tokyo's Narita airport. After picking up our luggage the customs officer looked kind of confused at the two stepladders that we brought over from Germany, but let us pass without any hassle.

The transfer to Haneda by the Airport Limousine bus was also smooth and shortly after arriving there we got rid of our luggage again and the tickets for the late afternoon flight to Fukuoka on our hand. Only getting used to the Japanese way of checking in for the flight took some time as for the Japanese domestic flights are more like bus driving and they can even check in with their mobile phones and travel nearly without any luggage.

"European spotter style" at HND

 christmas tree

The time until the departure was spend on Haneda's visitor deck, but the cloudy weather didn't lift our spirits, though with 13°C it was a lot warmer than we have expected. Unfortunately the wind got stronger and stronger and we were banish as the deck had to be closed "for our own safety". Photography through the windows did not make any sense and we thus decided to check in and have a sushi before getting on-board the ANA B767 to Fukuoka.

some photos taken at Haneda

click to open ---- click to open ---- click to open ---- click to open

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 below the clouds

 and some minutes later above

The departure was delayed for around 3/4h due to severe storms and heavy rain, and we used this time to get some sleep as after our arrival we still had 2-3h of driving to our first stop. At Fukuoka we did not find the counter for the rental cars, as it is not obvious that you look for a Toyota dealer opposite of the terminal building when you have booked the car with Hertz...

The hand-over of the car flew smoothly with the typical Japanese thoroughness and we packed all of our stuff (camera bags, suitcases, stepladders) in the car. Fortunately we did not choose a smaller one than the Toyata Prius that we got! Getting used to the car was kind of a problem, as after 'starting' the engine we did not hear or feel anything, though it started to move. Only after some miles we found out that it was a hybrid car and started silently using its electric motor.

When we left Fukuoka it was already dark and Japan look like we knew it from our last trip: a black landscape seen from the motorway. And we had our first Schnitzel with rice on the motorway restaurant, bringing back a lot of memories from 2005!

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