Considering that the last time I had been on an airplane was early January 1991 (the day before my birthday if memory serves), I was plenty nervous about literally diving into the deep end by flying nearly seven thousand miles to Tokyo to see Pink Lady. However, since Mie and Kei weren't going to come to me, I would have to go to them. I had spent several weeks trying to land the cheapest possible airfare and hotel accomodations that I could since I wasn't exactly flush with cash, so I had to make every penny count. After getting a round trip flight on American for $845.00 and a hotel room for what was then $83.00 a night (explanations later) for my stay, I went about the business of planning the entire itinerary.

It wasn't enough just to get to Japan, Lord knows that was the easy part. I had to know where my hotel was, what it looked like, then, once I got to Japan, I had to get to my hotel. I also had to figure out how to get to the concert venue in Yokohama, even though I spent a fair amount of time there during my brief stay in the late 70's, twenty-five years had passed, and memories dim. I had to know how to get there, and what the palce looked like once I found it. Then there was the matter of sightseeing. While the primary purpose of the trip was to see Pink Lady, I wanted to see as much of what Tokyo and its vast and exciting environs had to offer. I spent three solid months plotting and planning for the trip, practically every night I was going over strategy, almost until my head hurt. After all, when you're flying to a city halfway around the world that you haven't set foot in for a quarter century, you can't afford to leave anything to chance! So, with that in mind, check out this first page of the Pilgrimage!


0545 (Philadelphia): Left home to begin the Pilgramage after making sure everything's secure. The sun wasn't up, and yet it was already sticky and humid, which made carrying my luggage more of a chore than it should have been!

0655 (Philadelphia): At the airport, I experienced first hand the stringent level of post 9/11 security after I forgot to remove my keys and loose change before going through the metal detector. So I had to be scanned and remove my shoes. Just one word for that----DUMMY!

0820 (Philadelphia): Airborne for the first time in over 12 years! Needlessly to say I was more than a bit nervous. As the plane lifted off, I found myself wondering just what the hell was I doing! Once in the air, I calmed down, for the most part, but was still just a tad jittery!

0930 (Chicago): Touchdown at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. 678 miles down, 6274 miles to go as the crow flies. Oy vey! While waiting for the connecting flight to Japan, it occured to me when I made my reservations with American Airlines back in mid-June that I should've asked if I got frequent flier miles for this little jaunt!

1116 (Chicago): First time on a Boeing 777 (see picture below)! In a word: WOW! Is this bird ever big! Only the legendary 747 is bigger! And it's really state of the art as each seat has it's own personal video screen where you can watch your choice of movies (Saw "X-2" and "Die Another Day"), TV, music, you can een see real time progress of the trip on a map display. Awesome!! The trip from Chicago to Tokyo would take a shade under 13 hours!

LEFT: A view from the waiting area at O'Hare of the American Airlines Boeing 777 I would fly on to Japan
RIGHT: Yours truly in Coach (Like I can afford First Class? Puh-leeze!) shortly after landing at Narita Airport


1410 (Japan): To paraphrase The Rock: At last! The Philly Flash (my high school nickname) has come back to Japan!!! Hard to say if anything's changed since I left 25 years ago, other than landing at an airport that hadn't existed in 1978. Even indoors, I could tell it was just as hot here as it was in Philly the previous day (time zone change)!

1530 (Japan): Seemingly took forever and a day (along with loads of other people) to get through customs and immigration before getting my luggage. Ahh, the price we pay for increased airport security.

1830 (Japan): Arrived at the train station near the hotel I would be staying at, The Shinagawa Prince. The ride there was quite comfortable, taking little over an hour from the airport which is some fifty miles outside Tokyo proper. At the registration desk, I learned, much to my surprise (and mild disgust) that the room rate I had been quoted when I made my reservation two months ago had gone up from $83.00 to $98.00 due to the ever fluctuating currency exchange rate. However, I brought along enough money to compensate for the increased price. Still annoying though. My room, on the 12th floor wasn't exactly the last word in luxury as you can see in picture number 5, but as long as it had a bed and a bath, I was a happy camper!

1945 (Japan): After I unpacked and put everything away, I wandered around the hotel where, much to my delight, I found something familiar just outside the building----McDonalds! After enjoying a Big Mac, I got the lay of the hotel, a truly fabulous place, chock full of restaurants, shops, an IMAX theater, a two floor, 80 lane bowling alley and, much to my delight, a Yahoo Internet Cafe where I was able to go online and let everyone know that I arrived safe and sound. So far, so good. I'm really liking this place!

LEFT: The Shinagawa train station, literally right across the street from the hotel where I'd be staying
RIGHT: The Shinagawa Prince Hotel. Quite impressive looking, eh?


0124 (Japan): I guess my body must still be on Philadelphia time because I had a devil of a time getting to sleep, despite the lengthy flight. No doubt that will catch up to me eventually.

0540 (Japan): Finally managed to get some sleep, though I woke up plenty groggy, something that rarely, if ever happens. No doubt I'll acclimate in time.

1328 (Japan): Did a dry run to Kanagawa Kenmin Hall in Yokohama, the venue where Pink Lady would be performing. The train ride from the hotel took about thirty minutes, the from there, another twenty minutes on foot to KKH. No problem! It was easier than I thought to get to the place which was quite impressive indeed. Can't wait for Tuesday!

1756 (Japan): Arrived at the Yokosuka Naval Base where I had been stationed a quarter century ago. Fading daylight (Daylight Savings Time isn't observed in Japan) kept me from seeing as much as I could. After a couple of wrong turns here and there, I found the exchange where I bought souvenirs for family and friends back home. It had been fun to see all the sights on the base which had been so familiar to me 25 years ago.

2031 (Japan): Day 2 complete. Still have around $600.00 in spending money left, AND found a Pink Lady album on CD ("Magical Music Tour") at Tower Records in downtown Yokohama. All in all, a good day, with more fun to come, especially on Tuesday! However, I have to remind myself to take more pictures!!

LEFT: My room at the hotel. Not much, huh? Well, what can you expect for "only" $98.00 a night?
RIGHT: I took this pic of the sign outside Kanagawa Kenmin Hall on the 24th.


0540 (Japan): The weather forecast for the big day is looking somewhat iffy, might even see a t-storm. But that doesn't matter one lick to me. After having come this far, I'm not gonna let a little bad weather stop me from finally seeing Pink Lady!

1635: Got in a considerable amount of sightseeing today, going to places like Shinjuku and Shibuya where an armada of teenage girls (called "Ko-gals") in sailor suit school uniforms, complete with those incredible bulky socks and camera flip phones hang out. They looked rather cool! Makes me wish I'd taken some pictures of them!

2154: Even though I'm not a night person, but I couldn't resist taking in some of Tokyo's nightlife. The way the city is lit up so colorfully and spectacularly puts New York City to shame. It's literally a different world here. I could've stayed out longer, but I wanted to get a good night's sleep in preparation for the concert.


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