Aircraft Spotting in Japan - Hyakuri_2
Page 19 of 22
Day 18, Hyakuri, 16/11
Unbelievable. After a cold night with temperatures around 5°C once again a splendid morning with slight clouds, but nevertheless a nice blue sky welcomed us at Hyakuri. Nevertheless Florian felt quite cold because the evening before he was of the opinion that he would not need his sleeping bag... It was just before seven when we drove to our morning photo spot, but not before I got two cans of hot coffee. The wind had also the right direction that day, and around 10 minutes after being at the fence a dark green camouflaged RF-4EJ taxied to the last chance. We captured this moment that we have been waiting for since more than two weeks ago at the same place in a beautiful morning light and at that time we had everything we wanted to photograph in Japan:
Green, gray and blue Phantoms, F-2s, F-1s, a T-1, the Shin Meiwa… Everything else that day would be an extra give-away. And these were marvellous! We stayed at the spot until the first take-off after the lunch break and photographed several Recce-Phantoms, F-15 single- and doubles-seaters, all of them in different configurations and in perfect light. If got really busy there that Florian once again did not manage to write down all the numbers and photograph at the same time. The security people, that passed inside the fence with their cars, even greeted us friendly. Life can be so good…
Phantom Paradise: RF-4E and RF-4J Kai of 501 SQN "Woody Woodpeckers"
Shortly after the afternoon take-offs we rushed to the other side of the airfield with a short stop at the 7/11 to get lunch (fried noodles and Spaghetti Bolognaise, which are very exotic in Japan) and went once again to the fence near the bamboo forest. Photography there was difficult that day because they took-off from the other direction than during our last visit and appeared suddenly from behind the trees at different heights. Fortunately the take-offs were numerous and we also got some nice photos there, even from the formation take-offs and another RF-4E during a fly-by which they did also in the morning. Whereas the morning was really nice and refreshed our sunburn it got chilly at that place in the shadows of the trees. Sometimes it was too easy to forget that it was already November..
So the last day of our trip was very forgiving, giving us the chance to complete and expand our collection of JASDF aircraft, reconsidering the last weeks and forgiving all the troubles we had during this trip.
Being quite late it really made no sense to photograph anymore. Florian and Patrick forced me into the car and I made my last photo at this base. Before we left Patrick said good-bye to his faithful ladder and left it in the forest. So if you see one standing near the airbase Hyakuri, it is his! You can use it, but please leave it there if we come back the next time ;)
The airport hotel at Narita was our next stop, and while we drove towards our last destination we listened once again to the Top Gun soundtrack. When "Take my breath away" was playing, we saw one of the missing Recce Phantoms from the afternoon returning, passing through the sunset. What a way to finish this trip.
Good bye JASDF, and thanks for all the nice moments during our trip!
But all off a sudden this romantic mood was interrupted, because we discovered a praying mantis inside our car and got quite scared because it was walking along the roof of our car. Patrick fortunately put away this danger after a chaotic stop along the road.
The further trip back to the airport was quiet, we reminiscenced about the past days and weeks. At the arrival at the hotel at Narita we earned once again strange views, because with all the luggage that we had to get completely out of the car, and probably also because we also looked a bit strange because of our last night. Adding to this came the fact that we had only booked a double room for the three of us, but we got our prebooked room without problems. Out of the window we could watch some nice take-offs of Jumbo Jets, but now it was time to say good-bye to car and return it. After a bit more than 6729 kilometres - around 420km per driving day - we handed over the key. They did not say anything, because we left the car clean, however we do not think that this car will have a long and prospering future afterwards *g*.
Once again the service was excellent, because after returning the car they drove us with our own car directly to the Airport Terminal. The drive was strange, because we nearly spent most of the time during the last 18 days together in this car and were happy to finally go back home, but on the other side we had a really great time in the Far East that was over. We even could not realize it that we did it, everything that we had planned half a year in advance.
But we did not have a lot of time for reflections, because we wanted to buy some souvenirs for our girlfriends and have at least once Sushi in Japan. I preferred to have a Chicken Yakitori, but took a Sushi take-away and a beer back to the hotel, were we arrived really tired at half past 8.
In the room we extensively used the dustbin to get rid of dirty and worn stuff and everything unnecessary that we did not have to take back. Then we took a nice shower and slept in real beds…