I'm at home!! I'm sitting in my bed with a cup of tea in my favourite mug that my mum brought to me, listening to Radio 1, amazed that I'm here.
Five days ago I didn't think I'd see my home or family for another ten months, but here I am, just like I've never been in Japan!
I got up at 5am yesterday (it really doesn't feel like it was yesterday...) and had breakfast, put the very last things in my suitcase, and then headed up to the station. It was only 10 minutes or so to Kichijoji, where I was catching the bus to Narita airport. At first I couldn't find where the bus left from, so I asked at a police box and they took me just round the corner and I saw a long line of people waiting for the bus to arrive.
I saw the guy from ICU who I spoke to after getting my re-entry permit earlier in the week in the line and I chatted to him before joining the back. The bus came about five minutes later and it was exactly the same process as the Airport Limousine buses I got from Narita last year, show the man the ticket and tell him which terminal you're going to, get a receipt for the luggage and then get on and find a seat. It was actually an Odakyu bus, but it was doing the Airport service.
It was timetabled to take two hours, but it was more like an hour and a half, which was good. We went through Shinjuku and I saw the skyscaper district from a distance, which was an amazing view, seeing the buildings suddenly shoot up from the low-rise surroundings. Then we headed east to Ginza and I saw my old house from last year from the bridge over Sumida River!
At the airport, it was very easy to get through check-in and customs, and then I had a second breakfast in the same ramen restaurant near my gate that I ate at when I left Japan last August. It was very nostalgic!
My plane boarded at 10.30 and then left early at about 11am. I had checked-in online, so I'd chosen a seat near an emergency exit that didn't have a seat in front of it, so I had loads of legroom!
The flight went okay, and it didn't seem to take long, which was very welcome, as it was a 12 hour and 15 minute flight. I watched Independence Day, which I've seen about 15 times, but I can't resist watching it if I have the opportunity! And then I tried to sleep, but it didn't happen. I can never sleep on planes unless I'm really really tired.
There was a bit of turbulence over Europe, which wasn't very fun, but it only lasted about 25 minutes or so. And then I was back in Britain! I was staring out of the window with wide eyes at the British countryside, and then the Thames River and the Houses of Parliament as we came in to land.
There were no problems at Arrivals, but my baggage did take a while to come out onto the carousel. Apparently there was a security issue which delayed them, and I was praying it wasn't my bag, but thankfully it wasn't!
And then I came out and met my mum. It was wonderful! We had a long hug and then got some coffee and went to the car. I was really tired but it was a lovely drive home to Birmingham through the British countryside. It's so British!
We went straight to my old school for a quiz night where my youngest brother was doing a performance. I don't think I was any help with the answers, but it was fun. It was such a nice reunion with the rest of my family as well. People were staring at the many long hugs going on!
And then we went home and had a bit of dinner. I was so tired I couldn't really take in being in my home again, but it was so nice. So amazing to be back.
And then, after 26 hours of being awake, I could finally rest! And now here I am, in bed at home. Now I think I'll have some of my favourite cereal and watch some TV on our new sofas, before having fish and chips (so British) from our local chip shop for dinner and then going to my gran and grandad's house for the night with my dad.
The dream has begun!