We departed at about 5 p.m. on October 27 and arrived at in Japan at 8 p.m. or so on October 28. It took almost until we left and the help of English language newspapers to figure out what day it was, though I did manage to remember that the time difference to the East Coast was 11 hours.
Mark gave us advice that improved on the gas buddy prices, which were still at least $0.60 more per gallon than in Connecticut.
We had a messy check-in because of bomb-sniffing dogs performing maneuvers, thus shutting one of the two TSA stations. Eventually we settled in the Japan Airlines Lounge where we caught the end of breakfast, which included some excellent fruit and a croissant, along with lunch options of soup.
I bought copies of Swing Time by Zadie Smith and Song of the Lion by Tony Hillerman’s daughter, Anne. Once again I followed my practice of choosing books about places at complete odds with my surroundings. Previous excursions included reading Angela’s Ashes on the beach in Hawaii and getting furious with The Feminine Mystique in Mexico.
The flight proved ideal – what air travel should be with a smooth takeoff and landing, no turbulence, and gracious crew members who acted as though they really cared and didn’t yak at the passengers. JAL should hold training sessions for American carriers.
Our seats featured individual pods that reclined into beds. Amenities included a blanket, pillow, slippers, a robe made for someone about half my size, a moisture mask, earplugs that didn’t work to drown out the crying baby, and headphones.
They served little glasses of champagne before takeoff and then brought hot towels to wash our hands. My vegan meal had small helpings of a peas, carrots, and beans dish with just the right amount of flavor, white rice with cashews, tofu with mushrooms in a slightly spicy sauce, salad that had been frozen from which I moused a few slices of tomato and cucumber but left the lettuce covered with ice crystals, and a mélange of cantaloupe, a half strawberry, a slice of orange, and a couple of dreadful grapes. Dessert was a slice of papaya with a lime wedge.
I didn’t think I slept, but it seemed we landed much sooner than expected.