I wake up to the sound of Jonathan on the phone making arrangements - it turns out that there's no way we can get home out of Osaka, since there are only a limited number of American Airlines code-share flights on JAL. Jonathan heads to the lobby so the hotel staff can help him with options, and I get dressed and prepare myself for the day.
Our plan is to take a bus to Itami, Osaka's regional airport, then fly on ANA to Toyko, where we'll catch an American Airlines flight to Dallas, and eventually back to Austin. We manage to get bus tickets easily, and the ride goes well. It seems like everything is perfect when we reach the ANA counter at Itami, but we soon discover that our ANA connection is reserved to take us to Haneda, Tokyo's regional airport, but we need to go to Narita International Airport! The ANA staff checks their schedule, and the last flight to Narita is leaving in 20 minutes! It seems impossible to make it, but the staff really kicks in - they immediately take Jonathan's credit card and run away with it, while one of the staff escorts us (runs with us) all the way to the gate! At the gate, the credit card girl meets us so Jonathan can sign (everyone worked so hard that they were sweating!), and we make the flight! I can't tell you how incredible the service is - it seems like something like that could never happen in America!
Soon we're at Narita and the American Airlines ticket counter - they have our situation printed out and ready to go, and we're able to get new tickets with a minimal fee. Previously Jonathan thought he was going to have to spend thousands of dollars for another ticket, but the American Airlines Japanese staff is incredible - not only do they only charge the small fee, but they adjust for the exchange rate so our cost will be even cheaper!
We find our gate and have a quick bite to eat while we wait for our flight. Just before boarding, we get our seat assignments and see that we have been put in business class! It was incredible - truly a fantastic reward for our perilous day! We sink back in those huge plush seats, drink three glasses of champagne before we even leave the gate, and enjoy our entire flight home with great food, movies, and plenty of free booze.
When we get off the plane in Dallas, it almost seems strange to see Americans again - the first thing I notice is overweight people, since I don't think I saw anyone with an ounce of fat for the past week! Still, it feels great to be almost home, and after another quick flight, we're in Austin. It was a truly fantastic trip - it was fun to share it with a good friend as a fellow traveler, nice to see a faraway friend again, and fun to make new Japanese friends while I was there. I don't think Japan has seen the last of me.