I forgot to write about this before, but here’s a short little side story about the adventure I had on my way back from Japan. I had a scheduled 3-hour layover in the Armpit of America, New Jersey, in-between Tokyo and St. Louis. And luckily, thanks to bad weather or something, this was more like a 3.5 hour layover before I could even get on my plane home. Please note as soon as I sat on the plane, I fell asleep.

But anyway, what did I do in the land known as Newark Airport? First I get off the plane, and head to immigration. Not too bad actually, lines weren’t as bad as they could have been. The worst part was having to wait at the carousel to get my luggage. Because of customs and declaring stuff (even though I had nothing to declare), I had to pick up my baggage, go through customs, then re-check my luggage. I completely understand why you have to do this, but when you wait 30 or 40 minutes to pick up two suitcases, roll them over to a disgruntled immigration office, hand him a form, then go no more than 50 feet to a baggage re-check station, you can’t help but feel like you just wasted a part of your life, never to be returned again. Formalities like this are a necessary evil, I suppose.

After a 14-hour plane ride from Tokyo, which included 2 meals, a “snack” of a hamburger (in name only; I can’t believe it was actually meat I was eating), several glasses of water and Sprite, and only 1 visit to the Lavatory, I am not embarrassed to say that after re-checking my bags, the first place I headed for was the can. And oh, let me tell you, you really feel like your life has hit a low point when you have to go use a public restroom in New Jersey. I will spare you the gory details, but let’s just say that it was absolutely revolting. I honestly don’t know if an Asian-style squat toilet would have made it better or worse. Yeeeeah.

With a few hours to kill, I had absolutely nothing to do but go wait near my gate and play DS. I suppose that this wasn’t too bad, and I really can’t judge New Jersey on much more than the airport or the airport bathroom, but either way, I am pretty sure that Jersey, as an entire state, sucks. Sorry Karen.