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Welcome to Day 1 of Janet and Randy's Japan Adventure 2017

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Woke up earlier than we wanted to (5:00am) and couldn't get back to sleep, so we just got up and took our time getting ready to head to the airport.  This time, our cat Matsu clued into what was going on, so just as Randy's parents arrived at 8:00am to pick us up - he decided to go hide under the bed.  I managed to get him from under one bed, but he eluded my grasp and ran to another bedroom and hid under another bed.  I chased him out from under the bed with a pole from the vacuum, and Randy was able to grab him and shove him into his carrier.  He (Matsu) was not happy about that.  He was pretty much pissed off with us the entire way out to the kitty kennel.  Oh, well, I'm sure that once there he'll have fun with his other friends and being able to wander around the enclosed outdoor area.

We dropped Matsu off at the kitty kennel and then continued to the airport.  We arrived at the airport around 9:00am, which gave us plenty of time for our 10:20am flight.  We were just taking carry-on luggage, so we headed straight through security and then to the Maple Leaf lounge.  Our Air Canada concierge friend Akemi was working in the lounge, so we had a nice chat with her, then nibbled on a muffin before heading to the gate.

Breakfast on flight from Edmonton to VancouverThe flight from Edmonton to Vancouver was unremarkable.  We were served the same omelette, sausage and potatoes that Air Canada has served as the business class breakfast for pretty much the past decade (this is definitely part of the menu that needs a refresh).  The food was fine, but nothing overly exciting.

We arrived in Vancouver and proceeded to head to the International Departures terminal.  The Maple Leaf lounge in Vancouver is under renovation, so they have a temporary lounge a floor up from the original lounge.  This lounge was actually on the small side, and the food selection was very disappointing compared to the original lounge.  Last time we were in the Vancouver international Maple Leaf lounge, the food selection included ravioli, fried noodles, two types of soup, pretzel bun sandwiches, beef yorkshire pudding sandwiches, as well as several salads and raw veggies.  This time, they had one salad, some raw veggies, one type of soup (chicken noodle), fried noodles, and two types of mac and cheese (one jalapeno and one regular - ok so I'm going to be very critical about the mac & cheese - Seriously ??  International lounge, most of the international flights are going to Asia, mac & cheese... really ??  Miso soup would have been a solid choice here).  They later brought out out some small pizza things (that did not look very appetizing).  None of the food really appealed to us (plus we just had breakfast on the plane), so I ended up just having a couple of cookies, and a beer that she didn't like and someone else had to finish.

Flight from Vancouver to NaritaWe left the lounge early to wander around the duty free shops a bit, and then headed to our gate.  Another Air Canada concierge friend (Sherri) came to meet up with us for a chat.  Then it was time to board the flight and settle into our business class pods for the next 10 hours.  Sherri even came onto the plane to chat with us.

As the plane was being boarded, the flight attendant came around a selection of water, orange juice and sparkling wine.  I asked if I could get both the orange juice and sparkling wine, and the attendant asked if I was planning to make a mimosa.  I said yes, and she said she would go mix one up for me and come back.  Sweet! I did my own mixing, but happened to have a small spill.  The FA saw this and said it happens all the time.

The flight was a little delayed leaving Vancouver as they had to pull luggage off the plane for someone.  But, as I was all snuggled into my pod watching a movie, it didn't really bother me.  Randy set up the GoPro camera and took a timelapse movie of our plane leaving YVR airport.  Check it out here.

We finally got into the air, and once we levelled out, the flight attendants came by with hot towels.  However, these towels were neither hot, nor wet.  It was like being handed a dry facecloth that had come out of the dryer about 10 minutes ago.  But, shortly after that, they came around with drinks and mixed nuts (with drinks who cares about hot wet towels).  I had a vodka & cranberry juice, and all was right in my world again (Right ?!?!?).

For the meal service, there was an option of hoisin glazed duck, applewood smoked salmon, beef tenderloin or a Japanese meal.  Last time we flew to Japan I had the Japanese meal, so I decided to have something different this time, and went with the salmon (Randy had the same). 

The appetizer and salad were served first.  The appetizer was seared ahi tuna with black beans.  It was quite tasty.  Our main course was served next.  The salmon flavour was good, but the fish was quite dry, unfortunately.  But, a cheese course and a dessert of dark chocolate fondant was served next - so I didn't go hungry or anything (or thirsty)

After the meal service was over, I watched some movies (Bad Moms, Arrival) and then managed to fall asleep for about an hour or so.  About 90 minutes before landing, we were served another light meal.  This time I had the chicken parmesan, which was fine.

We were a little late landing at Narita as a runway was shut down for maintenance for a while, so we had to circle for a while.  Then once on the ground, we seemed to taxi at a seemingly 5 miles an hour for a long time before finally arriving at the gate, and officially being in Japan.


over to Day 2 back


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