I arrived at the airport the required number of hours early. The place was vacant, so I got through security with no trouble at all. It turns out this was probably because everyone else had checked the flight status and found that the plane was going to be hours late. (I would have, but our internet died that morning, so I didn't bother.) The supposed 1pm flight didn't wind up taking off until nearly 5pm.
We made up some of the time during the flight, but we still didn't get into KIX until nearly 8pm. Then began the long trek back.
Part II: The Osaka Station Shuffle
You know those mind game things? The kind like, you have three pegs with donut-shaped rings on them and you have to try to get them all on the middle ring in order of size? Well, transferring at Osaka Station with 100 pounds of luggage is kind of like that.
The mission: Get from Platform 1 to Platform 9...without taking any stairs. This involves maneuvering up and down three floors, the Platform floor (where the trains are), the Concourse floor (where people walk between platforms) and the Ticket Gate floor (where the exits are). My journey went something like this...
1. Locate and take the elevator on Platform 1 down to the Concourse.
2. Walk a few yards, to be confronted by stairs. Follow the wheelchair signs to an elevator down to the Ticket Gate floor.
3. Walk some more. Find another elevator back up to the Concourse.
4. Walk down to Platform 9...only to be confronted with nothing but stairs.
5. Walk to nearest elevator and ride up to the Platform floor, only to discover that it leads to Platform 8. This is separated from Platform 9 by train tracks.
6. Stand on Platform 8 and gaze longingly at the train sitting at Platform 9 that I would like to take, if only there were a way to get my luggage there.
7. Ask passing uniformed train guy how to get my luggage to Platform 9. While doing so, desired train departs.
8. Following his directions, walk down the length of Platform 8 to the escalator and take it (carefully) down to the Concourse.
9. Walk to Platform 9 and take escalator up. Wait in line for next available train.
I tried to use the restroom TWICE during this journey through the station. However, both times the restrooms had stairs leading up from the doorway to the stall area, so I couldn't get in. I had to wait another hour until I got home.
Part III: Home Sweet...what the heck?!
I took a taxi back from Moriyama Station...only to find when I got home that someone had stolen a five-gallon tank of kerosene from beside my front door. I suspect it was one of my neighbors. It wouldn't have much value to a random passing thief, particularly considering how heavy it is. But one of my neighbors might have seen my mail all piled up in my mail slot and thought, "Well, she doesn't need it..." Luckily, I had filled up the tank in my stove the morning I left, so I still have a few days' leeway in which to buy more.
I got inside my apartment to see the lights flashing on the microwave, rice cooker, etc., indicating that there had been a blackout in my absence. I haven't yet checked the VCR to see if it recorded what I set it for.
Now, the challenge is to go to work and sit at my desk all day, trying desperately not to fall asleep and hoping that I didn't catch any illnesses on the plane.