Thanks for the nice comments, everyone! We are having a huge adventure.
After a short hop to a larger airport we dragged ourselves to a considerably larger plane and got settled in for the longest leg of our journey – a non-stop flight to Tokyo. We flew coach, of course, but we had seats right behind the bulkhead, so it wasn’t so bad. The boys had a rough time sitting still for so long, even though we let them out to stand up or get down or fidget whenever we could. We passed the time watching ‘Bee Movie’ multiple times (NOT because it was that good) and a little airplane moving across a little map of the world, marking our progress. It’s easy to forget, at times, that the rectangular worldmap we see so often is not actually representative of the earth we live on: while it might seem that the fastest way to get from the Midwest to Tokyo would be to fly straight west until you get there, we actually flew north. We went up, north over the US, over Canada (does that mean I can say that I’ve been there now?) and across Alaska. The worst turbulence we experienced the entire trip was when we flew over Juneau, by the way. Then we crossed the Bering Sea – we actually saw glaciers, out the windows – and flew south over a bit of Russia and over Japan.
Our seats were also right by one of the bathrooms which, though at times proved smelly, allowed us to meet several of the other passengers who were travelling to the same destination as we were. Everyone was so helpful to us! We met one man, in particular, who helped us drag our suitcases through two different airports, on and off of shuttle buses and to our hotel. Greg took him out to dinner while the kids and I collapsed in bed. We spent the night in Tokyo and took a short hop in the morning to our new home!
Woohoo! Welcome to Japan!