Mid-day on Saturday 23 November 2019 a group of twelve travelers (out of sixteen) met up at the new meeting point at Schiphol airport. We would meet four fellow travelers in Narita who made their own travel arrangements. Bag drop was a breeze, security took a bit of patience. Our KLM 777 flight departed on time and took us non-stop to Narita.
Arrival to a super-wet Narita (Sunday 24 November by now) was on-time, the customs formalities went efficient and soon after collecting our bags we met up in the arrivals hall with the four other participants that made the trip on their own to complete our group. Pick up of the three rental vans took a while, as rental car agencies always seem to take more time than expected, but all was good. The vans were loaded with our luggage and a stack of stepladders (many with 4Aviation stickers) that were stocked at the rental car premises. As all of the group were pretty tired, and the weather was rather rainy, no activities were planned for the remainder of this Sunday. The drive to the hotel in Tsukuba took us past Ushiku Daibutsu (a 120m tall Buddha statue). We arrived around 1600 at the hotel for the night. Some us decided to grab dinner that evening, others went straight to bed.