Welcome to Day 15 of Janet, Randy and Family Japan Adventure 2016
Thursday, April 21st, 2016
We both slept in until 7:30am - which was late compared to most mornings. Especially when we had our continental breakfast ordered for 8:30am. Randy decided to go out for a run, and I showed up and then started working on the journal for yesterday. The breakfast arrived before Randy got back, so I started eating breakfast without him (and trying to update the journal at the same time). I mapped out a run to go around the Tokyo Imperial Palace. I was around and was thinking I was going around Hibiya park as well... obviously my sense of direction wasn't as good as I thought it was as I was about 1/4 way around the Imperial Palace and realized I hadn't gone around Hibiya. So I turned around and headed back to the room.
I was about halfway through breakfast when Randy came back. We finished the meal together and he quickly showered up and got ready. We then headed over to Bic Camera to do some last minute shopping before heading to the airport. We ended up buying some bags of KitKats (some were green tea flavour and some were strawberry flavour) and a few other odds and ends that we can't find at home. We went to the camera department to look for a new camera bag, and ended up buying two! (we just don't get this sort of selection of camera bags at home). Then it was back to the hotel to stuff (or rearrange everything in our already packed suitcases) our latest purchases into our bags before heading to the lobby to check out.
Randy's parents and aunts were already there and had checked out half an hour ago. Not sure if they were eager to get home or what. Our bus to the airport wasn't for another half hour, so we just hung out in the lobby. We tried to go outside and wait there, but we were shooed back inside by the bell boy - who said he would come get us when the bus arrived. Apparently guests of the Imperial Hotel just don't stand outside waiting for their ride like common peasants. The Japanese are very good at directing where you should go. This guy was definitely an expert !
The bus stopped at a couple other hotels, then headed straight to the airport, arriving around 1:30pm. We were dropped right at the doors to the Air Canada check-in, so we didn't have far to go. We had barely walked into the terminal when the Air Canada concierge came running up to welcome us. She guided the 6 of us over to the priority counter and got us all checked in. As we hadn't been able to check in Randy's aunts online the night before, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that she had managed to get them seated together on their flight to Vancouver. She then told us that we could use the Gold Lane (for Star Alliance elite members) to go through security. We made it through security quickly (as there was no one in front of us), and then we had to go through exit immigration. There was a bit of a line for immigration, but we were through fairly quickly. There were only about 10-15 people ahead of us, instead of the several thousand
Because there is no Maple Leaf lounge in Narita (only Star Alliance ANA lounge), we were unable to get Randy's aunts into the lounge with us. But they said they were fine - and they went to grab some lunch and hang out at their gate. Meanwhile, we got to go into the swanky ANA lounge and grab some lunch (as we hadn't eaten since breakfast - so we were quite hungry when we hit the lounge). The lounge had a noodle bar - where you could order noodle soups (like ramen), plus a large variety of other hot and cold food. I had some fried noodles, tofu stew, onigiri, inari and a bit of pumpkin soup. Randy ordered a curry soba stew - which was very tasty as well.
We headed to the nearby gate for the 3:20pm boarding. Kay and Bea were sitting near the gate having lunch, so we said goodbye to them. We lined up for the zone 1 boarding, and as the gate agent was checking passports, she saw the name Smandych and asked if Randy's parents were the ones celebrating their 50th anniversary. So, apparently everyone at Narita knew about it as well!
When we boarded the plane, Randy's mom found a note and a present from Air Canada on her seat (it was some green tea from Kyoto). So, that was nice! Boy, they were sure getting the preferential treatment on this trip! They better not get used to it (ha ha)! The AC Concierge had placed the tea on the plane. So nice of them to be so thoughtful.
There was a little turbulence on the flight, so the flight attendants weren't able to start the drink service until about 45 minutes after take-off. The came around offering drinks and nuts, and took our orders for our dinner meal. We were served a prawn and scallop appetizer with salad and bread. Both Randy and I had the beef tenderloin for our main course, which was actually really good. I ended up eating absolutely everything on my plate. They came around with some cheese and port, and then a pear cake for dessert. My slice was frozen... not sure if that's the way it was supposed to be or not. Regardless it was tasty.
After the meal service, they turned off the lights. I tried to sleep, but only got in about 20 minutes or so. I ended up watching movies instead. About 90 minutes before landing, they came around with a brunch service. Randy got the omelette and sausages, and I decided to go with some fried noodles. Also on the plate was some yogurt, fruit and a danish. After eating those, I was pretty much full, so only ate a few mouthfuls of the noodles. The omelette was pretty average, but it was 'breakfast' on some timezone. But I'm pretty sure it wasn't my timezone.
We landed in Calgary, went through customs and then headed to our next gate. As our flight to Edmonton only had economy seats, we weren't able to take Randy's parents through the priority line - so they had to wait in a long line to get through security. The Nexus line wasn't overly quick either. His parents made it to the gate about 10 minutes before boarding. We got on the little Bombardier Q400 for the short flight to Edmonton.
When we got off the plane in Edmonton, we were greeted by one of the Air Canada concierges (Akemi) - who walked us from the gate to the luggage carousel and asked us how our trip was. Akemi and my mom were chatting away and after 2 weeks my mom finally remembers her Japanese with Akemi and the two start talking. Sure, where was the over the past 2 weeks when Janet, the blonde of the group could speak more Japanese than the 3 sisters ? Oh well. Our driver was waiting for us, so as soon as all the luggage came out, we got in the vehicle and headed home - ending a great trip.
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