Welcome to Day 8 of Janet and Randy's Japan Adventure 2017
Thursday, April 13th, 2017
Woke up to sunny skies again, but the temperature was just a little bit cooler than the previous day. But, still very pleasant out. Randy decided to go for a run, so I packed up some things and showered up while he was gone. It's not every day that you get to go for a run around the Imperial Palace, with a sidewalk that is flanked by in bloom cherry trees. Once we got back, he got ready and we headed to Starbucks around 9:00am.
Had our breakfast, then wandered over to Bic Camera as I wanted to pick up some more cleaning cloths that you use for camera lenses. It was supposed to be a quick in and out trip, but we ended up buying a few other things (rain protector for the camera, some iPhone screen protectors, contact lens case, keyboard wrist support and a mouse wrist support). On the way back to the hotel, we stopped into Sushi Zanmai (aka: Tuna-rific !) one last time. We had the tuna special (huge surprise) and a bowl of miso soup again. It was delicious, as usual.
After lunch, we went back to our room and finalized our packing, before heading down to the lobby around 12:30pm. We checked out, and then waited for our 1:00pm bus to the airport. The ride to the airport was uneventful, and we arrived around 2:30pm. We checked one of our bags, then proceeded through security.
Narita airport has a Star Alliance Gold fast track lane (for business class passengers and elite flyers), so it didn't take very long to go through security. Then we proceeded to the Japanese exit immigration. When we entered the immigration hall, there were absolutely NO lines (Wha??). We were able to walk right up to an immigration officer, and were through within 30 seconds. Nice!
We had some time before our 5:00pm flight, so we headed to the ANA business class lounge. This is a really nice lounge, with a good selection of food. They even make noodle soup dishes to order. We sampled some of the food from the 'buffet' area, and we also ordered some dishes from the kitchen. Randy got a curry udon soup, and I got a curry chicken and rice dish. Both were really good.
We went up to the gate a little before the boarding time and watched our plane being loaded with freight, and shortly afterwards they started boarding. Got settled into our seats with a glass of sparkling wine, and we pushed back from the gate on time.
We had a choice of a beef fillet, grilled chicken breast, sautéed flounder or a Japanese meal for the dinner meal on the plane. The flight attendant recommended the beef fillet, so we both went with that. It was pretty good. This was followed by a cheese/fruit course and a raspberry chocolate cake.
During and after the meal, I ended up watching 2 movies (Nocturnal Animals and Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them). After that, I put on a documentary and fell asleep for a couple of hours - waking when they started the breakfast service.
For breakfast, there was a choice between the usual omelette and sausage meal, or a pork cutlet over rice. As I am a little tired of the omelette dish, I decided to go with the pork cutlet. However, it wasn't that good, so I just had the croissant and yogurt that came with it.
Shortly after, our flight landed in Vancouver. We pulled up to the gate, and it looked like the bridge was going to be lined up to the forward door of the plane. However, when the bridge started to move, it moved towards the forward door, and was fairly close to the plane, but then it slowly inched its way sideways along the plane until it reached the second door. Very bizarre - I have never seen something that that before. Not sure if there was jet bridge training this morning or what was going on.
So, finally the bridge was in place, and we headed off the plane. Waiting at the top of the bridge was another Air Canada concierge that Randy knew from his travels (Betty). We had a bit of a chat with her, and then we headed off to customs. We went through the Nexus line, but as we had declared food (we brought back some cookies and KitKats), we had to also go see a customs agent. While we waited I was able to watch two the customs agents chatting and laughing away... meanwhile, some of us are queued up waiting for you two to finish your gab session and actually do real work !
We headed to the luggage carousel, and shortly after we got there, the luggage started coming out. And to our surprise, our one checked bag was the first one out! Sweet! We grabbed the bag and exited customs to head to the domestic gates.
It was just after 9:00am, and our next flight wasn't until 12:00pm. We noticed that there was a 10:35am flight to Edmonton, so we stopped by an Air Canada desk to see if there was any chance of getting on that flight. We were told that flight was fully booked (with a standby list of 15 people), so that wasn't going to happen. So, we just continued to the Air Canada lounge and hung out there until it was time for our flight.
While in the lounge, I got a notification on my phone saying that our Edmonton flight was going to be delayed 30 minutes. Then a while later, the flight time was changed back to our original 12:05pm time. Around 11:15am, we left the lounge to head to our gate (and get Randy a latte at Starbucks on the way).
Once at the gate, we hear an announcement for our flight saying that the flight will be leaving at 12:05pm, and that boarding will start at 11:30am, so passengers are to head to the gate for boarding (this is usually the announcement to "get your ass in gear"). However, we don't see an actual plane there - even though we were supposedly going to be boarding in 15 minutes. And there wasn't even a gate agent at the desk yet. Chances for boarding shortly didn't seem likely.
A gate agent finally did show up, and he announced that the inbound plane was late, and so we would be leaving about half an hour late (as my original phone notification had identified). Oh well. We finally boarded the flight and were on our final leg home.
The flight to Edmonton was on a regional jet, so we were served a cold meal of sesame beef over lettuce. It was pretty decent. Randy was really tired and dozed off for part of the flight. I was feeling okay, so ended up just watching a couple TV show episodes.
We arrived to cold and wet snow (welcome to spring in Alberta). Our flight arrived at the far end of the terminal, so we had a long walk to the luggage carousel. It was such a long walk, that we figured our luggage would already be there by the time we got there. We were wrong. It took quite a while for the luggage to come out, and when it finally did come out, all the priority-tagged bags ended up coming out last. Randy was not impressed. But we finally had our bag and we were ready to head home after a nice little break in Tokyo.
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