Saturday, 29 August 2015

Japanese Summer Adventure 2015 - Day 6 (Mizushima & the Gods of Karaoke)

Our plan for the day was to meet with Mizushima San. I'd met Mizu last year when he showed us around Yokohama, so I was looking forward to seeing him again. Kyle and I needed to think of somewhere nice to take Mizu, thinking of his interests, Kyle suggested Nakano. This also had the advantage of us being familiar with the area so we would be less likely to make fools of ourselves. Well, that was the theory anyway.
For someone who claims to have grown out of anime, to suggest Nakano Broadway no less, I started to wonder if Kyle was just putting on an act.
Anyway, we'd arranged to meet Mizu outside Minami-Nagareyama (南流山) station. By the time we were set to meet it would have been lunchtime. Assuming that Mizu already had lunch, we arrived early and set about finding something to eat at the konbini (コンビに - convenience store) near the station. It soon became apparent that we had made a significant miscalculation. The rush of morning commuters had ended so the shelves had been raided. The situation reminded me of the old story of Old Mother Hubbard. Only the smallest selection of sandwiches, rolls and onigiri (おにぎり- rice balls) remained. Picking over the remains, I found a BLT. I was a little disappointed that where were no katsu-sando (カツサンド - katsu sandwich) left, but in hindsight, this was probably better for my waistline.
Kyle and I's prior recon bore fruit early on. We had already worked out that taking the Tskuba Express to Akihabara would provide an easier (albeit slightly more costly) route.
Upon our arrival to Nakano, we proceeded to check out some of the second-hand games shops in the arcade leading up to Broadway. We still had a few, elusive, Yu-Gi-Oh! games to locate. Well, that was after Kyle tried to convince me to visit some of the seedier establishments near the station. Sometimes I worry about what goes on in that guy's head.
Our search for games proved futile so we headed over to Broadway. On the way, I noticed something unusual (that we somehow missed the previous day) - a shop named "Piccadilly Circus". That was an... interesting one to explain to Mizu.

I won't go in to too much detail about the various shops (considering this was a key part of the previous update). One noteworthy example was that Kyle thought it a good idea (for some reason) to suggest a crossplay shop. Exactly why Kyle wants me to do... that, I'd rather not know (once again, I worry about exactly what goes on in his head).
After browsing three floors of anime merchandise it was time to move on from Broadway. We debated a few possibilities, including a number of other places in Nakano, but Mizu suggested trying Kichijouji instead.
Kichijōji Station
This proved to be a particularly good recommendation. This was hardly surprising as Mizu had previously introduced us to the street food of Yokohama Chinatown. After leaving the station, we explored a fancy looking shopping street which also had a number of restaurants. The street led up to a lake. As this was a large lake in a popular area, it was hardly surprising that there was a boat house. Naturally, we thought it would be nice to go out on a boat.
A shop with a stormtrooper. Because, Japan
In hindsight, hiring a row boat for the three of us was probably not the best idea we ever had. Even with the best planning and help from the staff members, we encountered some "weight displacement" issues.
Mizu was first in the boat, he sat in the middle as he had more experience with rowing and wanted to demonstrate his skills. Next in was Kyle, taking the rear seat. At that point, the scene that unfolded in front of me was vaguely reminiscent of the Titanic. As Kyle stepped in to the boat, I noticed the bow start to lift out of the water. My unease grew (as did that of the staff) as the bow took a worryingly steep angle. The level of the stern in the water did not look encouraging either.
How the member of staff managed to help Kyle out of the boat without capsizing it is a complete mystery to me! At this point Kyle conceded defeat and suggested that Mizu and I take a (2 person) peddle boat instead.
Continuing the comparisons with the Titanic, Mizu (for some reason) allowed me to steer. After 2 collisions and getting the boat stuck under an overhanging branch, I began to realize that a nautical career would not be the best thing for me and becoming a developer was the right choice. After all, if my code crashes then it's no big deal. Crashing a ship, on the other hand...
Mizu's brush with death seemed to give him quite the appetite so a bite to eat was next on the agenda. Among the many options available to us, there was kushi katsu. I hadn't tried that before so I was keen to give it a go,

The best way to describe Kushi Katsu is various types of katsu with a specific dipping sauce. The katsu included meat, vegetables (such as lotus root) and even egg.
After eating, it was time for us to indulge in our hobby of brutally murdering popular music.By this, I mean that Kyle suggested we go to Karaoke. Even though he knows how awful I sound, he suggests it anyway. Clearly, he is an acoustic masochist.
I'll spare the (horrific) details but I managed to butcher Queen, Pink Floyd and Foreigner - I really must stop singing songs that I like, I'm ruining them!
That wraps up another day. Next time: Nikko, off to the countryside.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Japanese Summer Adventure 2015 - Day 5 (Nakano)

With Kyle still not feeling 100% (running around showing me all the new places so far this trip hadn’t given him the chance to recover) our original plan for the day was for me to go out and explore somewhere like Omiya (in Saitama) or Tokyo while Kyle took the day to rest and regain his strength. Kyle, in keeping with his ganbatte spirit, later suggested that he show me Kashiwa (in Chiba). The reason for this was that there are lots of old retro-game shops around so I would have a good chance of locating some Yu-Gi-Oh games I was hoping to play.
For those who are interested, here is a little information:
Since we were travelling from Saitama prefecture to Chiba prefecture, this was a fairly long train journey requiring switching lines. Normally, this is something that wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, we had to switch at the dreaded Nishi-Funabashi station. This wasn’t a problem on the way out, but it would be a serious problem on the way back. For the uninitiated, we had to switch between the Musashino and Chuuou Soubu lines and the signs for the Musashino line at Nishi Funabashi are… wrong. The Musashino line branches in a few places and Nishi Funabashi is one of the stations where this happens. Helpfully, there are different platforms for different destinations (4 in total). Less than helpfully, they are all labelled with the same destination. Returning to Misato would not be an easy mission!
After arriving at Nakano, Kyle and I surveyed the surrounding area to get our bearings. By this, I mean we lost track of which exit we needed and had to have a quick look around. After identifying the correct exit, we proceeded to our objective – Nakano Broadway. Located at the end of a long shopping arcade, Nakano Broadway is a shopping centre filled with all manner of game, anime and generally geeky shops. Think Akihabara in a single building!
With three floors of anime and gaming goodness, I was in geek heaven! Having already maxed out my capacity for anime character figures, I focussed on smaller trinkets. Among the various items available for a number of earphone jack accessories (characters that dangle from your phones earphone socket) and some themed folders (featuring some Macross Frontier characters). Kyle, on the other hand, was on a mission to find a Bakura figure (Yu-Gi-Oh).
Macross Frontier Character Folders
One of the other interesting items I came across was a Yu-Gi-Oh! themed T-Shirt, featuring the phrase: "Ore no turn!" (It's my turn!). I saw that and had to buy it! (lucky for me I'm starting to lose weight - recently I've been able to fit in to Japanese M size T-Shirts, or maybe they're designed for portly otaku?)

After a complete anime overload, we were in need of food to keep us going on our epic journey. Sadly, Kyles favourite Indian curry restaurant wasn’t open (I was looking forward to seeing what Indian curry in Japan was like) so we had a look around for somewhere to get Japanese curry. I was satisfied with the result although Kyle, who had become quite the connoisseur of curry, a little less impressed (not a bad curry but not the best he’s ever had).

At that point we decided to start our journey back. The night was still young so we needed something to do in the evening. Our first train back passed Akihabara so we decided to stop off there. This actually had an unintended bonus – we could catch the Tsukuba Express and therefore avoid the need to change at the dreaded Nishi-Funabashi. I still had a game I was looking for and Kyle still needed his Bakura figure so we still had a mission.
Yu-Gi-Oh! - Popular again

Sometimes, it seems like the Gods are against us as we were both unsuccessful in our missions.

No matter, it was still an enjoyable day.

Japanese Summer Adventure 2015 - Day 4 (Kashiwa)

After going over familiar terrain yesterday, it was time to visit somewhere new. This time round it was Kashiwa in Chiba prefecture.
Kashiwa city has a bustling shopping district, in fact, the train station is built in to a large shopping mall. This did present us with a challenge when we were trying to navigate the area. There was a North exit and a South exit to the station, it did take a few surveys of the areas surrounding the exit to determine the area Kyle was familiar with.
Once we had familiarized ourselves with the area we started a little exploration. We came across an interesting looking shrine. Upon further investigation (namely when I was looking at expanding my omomori collection) we found an “out to lunch” sign. This we took to be a sign from the kami that we, ourselves, should get lunch. This might also have had something to do with my stomach producing the kind of rumbles that register on earthquake monitoring equipment.

Kyle had clearly recovered from the year that I subjected him to the “ramen diet” as his suggestion was ramen. In this instance it was a type of ramen that I had not previously tried: cold ramen. This is a summer dish, sometimes visiting Japan in one of its hottest months has its advantages. The say it’s served can vary. Sometimes it’s served as a typical ramen (all in one bowl), in this restaurant it was served in two bowls. The soup base was in one bowl while the noodles and toppings were in the second. Dipping the rice/toppings in the soup was an interesting change and overall was something I’d certainly have again. After trying it I could understand the popularity of cold ramen and the way it made for a refreshing dish in summer.

As to be expected, there was a fairly large amount of window shopping (partially due to the large amount of shopping I had previously done in Akihabara). There were a wide variety of shops, so it’s safe to say that we were both kept on our feet for quite a while. Because Kyle was not feeling 100% I was particularly appreciative of the effort he was going to.
As luck would have it, we stumbled across the “chibi” dark magician girl figure I saw last summer but didn’t buy. I looked all over at new year but to no avail. Recognising that I would probably not have this opportunity again I leaped at the chance to buy it. Somehow, I think my suitcases will be a little crowded!
No more figures - I'll have no room in my suitcase!

After plenty of browsing and walking the equivalent of a marathon, it was time to head back to Misato. Upon our return to Misato, Kyle offered to buy me dinner at Burger King as we wouldn’t be able to go out to a restaurant for dinner that evening. This seemed like an unusually generous gesture so I was a little suspicious. My suspicions were confirmed when Kyle returned from the counter, with a particularly evil grin on his face! He had ordered me aka samauri burgers. For those who are not familiar with these, here’s a link:
These burgers feature a sauce based on Chinese chilli bean paste and the red buns are marinaded in chilli. I iwas warned by Kyle that these were pretty powerful, in fact, he could only manage a few bites last time he tried one and it played hell with his… digestive system. He had presented me with 2, the chicken version and the beef version - This was his revenge!
Caution - not for 猫舌

Being a brave Yorkshireman who lives for curry, I had no choice but to rise to the occasion.
With trepidation, I took my first bite. So far so good, but I’d eaten enough curries to know that this could be a trap. I’d had plenty of curries that seemed mild at first but took a few seconds for the heat to register – I call this the “afterburner”. A few more bites and I’d managed to eat half the beef burger. Other than some heat from the sauce and from the bun, it all seemed okay. In fact, it was rather nice. Kyle could only look on with horror as I finished the beef burger and moved on to the chicken burger. Kyle’s revenge had turned in to his humiliation, it seems he’s lost his ability to handle chilli. From now on, he will be known as 猫舌 (cat tongue) – for the inability to handle hot/spicy food.
Here goes nothing!

My victory sure was a good way to round off the day. Until next time!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Japanese Summer Adventure 2015 - Day 3 (Shopping Malls and Pizza)

We started the morning off with a trip to Koshigaya Lake Town, specifically, the large Aeon shopping mall just outside Koshigaya. We were running a little low on ideas and Koshigaya was just a few stops on the Musashino line so it seemed like a good way to start the day.
I’d been to Laketown before and had found that the size alone meant that there’s plenty to do.
First things first, neither of us had eaten so lunch was the first order of the day. As a large mall it’s to be expected that there’s a large food court. My choice of lunch was Barayaki: a relatively simple dish consisting of fried beef and onions served with rice. It was served up in a nice bento style box.

We browsed for a while but unfortunately weren’t able to locate the Starbucks in the outdoor area that I’d commented on in previous blog posts. I suspect this was in the second of the two mall structures “Mori”, we spent the whole time in “Kaze” (The mall consists of 2 main structures linked by a walkway). Disappointingly, we also found that the arcade had closed down. The cinema was still there but there didn’t look like there was much worth watching.
With time marching on, it was time to return to Misato. We stopped by LaLaPort on the way back where we noticed a rather creepy inflatable Anpanman as an attraction. Kyle tells me that Anpanman is the ultimate zombie as he (in the cartoon) rips off bits of his head (including jam, which appears to be his brain) and offers them to friends as a snack. Weird! I was more worried about where the entrance/exit was…

After LaLaPort we returned to the apartment, giving me a little time to catch up on the copious amounts of writing I needed to do and work out potential arrangements for meeting friends who were near the area at the time. Between this and needing to take a little time for Kyle to regain his strength (the poor guy was feeling quite worn down and a little unwell) it was pretty late by the time we thought about getting dinner. Kyle’s suggestion was a local Pizza restaurant with an eat all you want option. Once again, I hadn’t experienced much of the Japanese adaptation of western dishes so this was a useful opportunity. They operated a similar system to Brazilian steakhouses where you turn a card over to indicate whether you want more pizza or not.
The pizza base was definitely in the Italian style, by that I mean thin crust. This was great because it’s my preferred way of having pizza. Pizza was brought out by the slice so we could try a variety of toppings, some standard and some a little more unusual. Probably the most unusual was teriyaki chicken, it was strange but it worked pretty well!

After the “main” pizzas there were also a number of “desert pizzas”. This was a mind blowing concept for me. All in all, it gets the thumbs up from me!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Japanese Summer Adventure 2015 - Day 2 (Anime and Karaoke)

At the start of day 2, Kyle had a few things to attend to so it seemed like a good opportunity to make the trip to Akihabara. The visit to Akihabara is something I do once each trip and it’s interesting to see the changes in the area.

While I was out, I was hoping that I’d get time to stop by Kanda while I was on my way out and visit the Kanda Myojin – a shrine in the area that I saw on my very first trip to Japan. For anyone who wants to read a little more about that excursion, Kyle and I’s blog entry is available here:

So, back to Akihabara.

As always, I was looking for some new figures to add to the collection. Stopping by the usual shop, I had a little browse around. A little browse turned in to an extended period of agonizing over which figures to buy. It didn’t take me long to narrow down my choices to some Macross Frontier and Bakemonogatari figures. By far the biggest problem was that there were too many to choose from, the second and third problems were working out which combinations I could budget for and what I could actually carry back with me (I did see a huge Sheryl Nome figure – that would just about fit in my large suitcase but without leaving room for much else!)
After much to-ing and fro-ing I settled on a Senjogahara Hitagi (Bakemonogatari) Figma and a Sheryl Nome (Macross Frontier) figure.

While paying for the second figure (with these shops it’s common to pay for purchases on each floor) I noticed that they now took cards (I didn’t remember this before) so thought I’d try a little experiment and pay for it on the Amex card. I’d already notified my card provider that I’d be in Japan at this point so in theory it should work. Sure enough, the transaction went through without any issue. I was a little surprised as a travel guide I’d read a few years ago warned that cards aren’t widely accepted in Japan and foreign issues cards were not likely to be accepted. Over the past 4 years I’ve seen more and more card machines appearing and it seems credit card use is on the rise (in fact, the previous day I noticed someone paying at a restaurant with a Japan Airlines frequent flyer credit card) and foreign cards are more widely accepted than before (come to think about it, when buying a Shinkansen ticket a few years ago, I was asked if I wanted to pay by card).
After making my purchases it was time to grab a (slightly late) lunch. While looking around for restaurants, I stumbled across a rather unusual form of promotion. Samples being held up by a mannequin of Ruri from the series Nadesico (old 90’s anime series)

Tempura Restaurant
The eventual choice was a Tempura restaurant on the main street. The restaurant was next to the Komori Soba I had visited a few years earlier. From memory, the Komori Soba had nice curry noodles but I’d already had noodles recently so fancied Tempura as a change.

Price of a set meal
This particular restaurant used an upgraded version of the pre-ordering machines I’d seen before. The idea is that you select and pay for your order and the machine provides a token which you provide to the staff. The upgraded version here used a touchscreen in place of the conventional “push button”. What made this really useful was the inclusion of an English language option. With a sizable queue behind me (always a good sign – clearly a popular place) I decided the safest option would be to use the English option rather than take a while with translating the on screen options (and annoying the hungry people behind me). From the many available options I chose a set meal. This basically meant that I also got rice and miso soup – miso soup is one of the things I miss whenever I get back to England.
In the evening our plan was to meet with Abe San (Kyle’s dentist and a keen student of English). We met Abe after he had finished work and proceeded Minami Koshigaya for dinner and drinks. There were a variety of bars, restaurants and eateries in the area. Kyle’s suggestion was an outdoor bar we had been to on a previous occasion. That particular bar served outstanding yakitori last time we were there. Unfortunately we had made a slight miscalculation, we were going out on a Sunday and was the day that the bar was closed. Unperturbed by our initial setback, we once again deferred to Kyle’s extensive knowledge of the food available in Koshigaya. In the end, we opted for a European style restaurant called Pangea.
On previous visits I’d stuck to Japanese food so it was interesting to try the Japanese take on European style dishes. Because this was my first time (and we have a tendency to do this anyway), the three of us picked some dishes “for the table” so we could all try a little. The food was enjoyable, some of the dishes seemed familiar (ones I recognise) but with hints of Japanese flavourings, the “fusion” worked well. The one disk that Kyle couldn’t resist ordering was grilled lamb. Lamb being the meat he can’t get regularly. I’m partial to a little bit of Spring lamb and even I was impressed with the lightly spiced lamb served up to us.
In addition, Pangea has a wide selection of international beers. Rather than focus on the beers, Abe recommended that I try out the Shochu (焼酎). Some people drink it “neat”, I opted for trying it with a mixer (being the Japanese equivalent of vodka, this seemed like a wise approach).
With a sufficient amount of food in our bellies, Abe recommended spending a little time at Karaoke before heading back. Clearly Kyle had never told Abe the horror stories of my singing! He had, on the other hand, told me about Abe’s amazing singing voice.
At Karaoke, I (for some reason) let Kyle pick my first song. This was a decision that I immediately regretted, for Kyle had chosen none other than Barbie Girl (I can tell you, that gave me flashbacks to the 90’s!). As I was made to endure the humiliation of singing that song, I made sure to subject Kyle and Abe to the most unemotional (with hints of anger and bitterness on top of that) singing voice ever hears. Imagine if Will Self released an album – this is what that would have sounded like! Some of the other contributions I ended up making were “Fat Bottomed Girls”
Abe amazed us with various renditions through from ABB48 through to various anime songs. It’s safe to say that his singing more than made up for my crimes against music.
Amazingly Kyle managed to resist the temptation to sing “Sit on My Face” from Monty Python.

After karaoke it was getting pretty late so Kyle and I headed back to Misato to get some rest. Koshigaya was a great spot to finish off the day.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Japanese Summer Adventure 2015 - Day 1 (Arrival)

There wasn’t much to write about for day 1, Kyle had recently gotten back from a trip and jetlag started to hit me just after lunch. Jetlag can be a sneaky beast, I initially felt okay in the morning when I arrived at Kyle’s. As usual, we needed no greetings and picked up where we left off last time. Not long after, we got a call from Yamashita San who was planning on stopping by.
Unfortunately, Yamashita wasn’t able to stay for long but was able to stop by for a quick chat and work out a few ideas for things to do in the following week.
Later on, just before lunch, we needed to venture out to pick up some fresh bedding from the homeware store at LaLaPort. Having learned from previous experience, I made sure to apply sun block beforehand (given how pale I generally am).
After making our purchases it was time to get lunch. Because we were already in LaLaPort, the food court was the obvious choice (that being said, I still haven’t tried station kitchen yet). Kyle opted for some strange rice dish with an egg on it. I opted for ramen, because I haven’t had the real thing in quite a long time!
Things were pretty quiet after we got back so Kyle decided to demonstrate the new game he’s recently started playing: Splatoon
The idea is simple, the players are evolved squid who “mark” their territory with ink. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what it looks like:
After a playing a little Splatoon, the jetlag started to kick in. Kyle was still feeling a little worn down so we decided to rest for a little bit. Like I say, this was a pretty slow day.
Later that evening, it was time to go out for food. Kyle’s recommendation was yakiniku (焼肉). I was introduced to yakiniku last summer and developed quite a liking for it, so I was happy with this suggestion.
I should point out that where Kyle and I are involved, yakiniku can be quite a dangerous business. I have virtually no hand-eye coordination and Kyle can’t see particularly well – so not a good combination. When ordering drinks, my improved katakana started to come in handy. We had a choice between the blind man and the man with no coordination to put the meat on the charcoal. With hindsight, wearing a long sleeved T-Shirt was probably not my best idea. Fortunately I (somehow) managed to avoid burning myself or the food I guess that makes it a good evening.
On the way back to the apartment I came across 2 interesting drinks. The first is a new version of “Grand Hop”, based on India Pale Ale. It was okay, maybe a first step. Hopefully Kirin will experiment with a few more ale styles.

The second was a new tomato flavoured water. I've tried a few of these flavoured water types and they’re generally pretty good. Tomato flavoured water didn't sound very appetizing, I’ll admit I only tried it “in the interests of science”. The result: wouldn't have again.
Tomato water - Just because we can do a thing, does not necessarily mean we should do it

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Japanese Summer Adventure 2015 - Day 0 (Journey)

Well reader, it’s that time once again – the annual trip to Japan. I suspect this may be a little more than annual. With the recent (last minute) New Year trip it’s sometimes twice a year (I’m really not going to be able to do this for much longer!).
As with previous trips, this was booked almost a year ago. It’s sometimes said that you should start planning your next holiday as soon as you get back from your last one, so this is no exception. There are some reunions that I'm looking forward to this trip: Yoshi (the teaching assistant from University in one of my previous years of study), Masami (one of the Japanese students from the University and a member of the study group), Graham (who we met in Nikko) and several of Kyle’s friends in Japan. The trip is under way, so here’s how the day has been going on:
The day started off in Manchester Airport. Okay, that’s not quite true. The day started off at home but I think I’ll skip over the details of waking up and getting washed and dressed. Believe me, a detailed description of what I'm like in the morning (both appearance and temperament) is something nobody should have to read.
Anyway, back to Manchester. The first stop on my epic journey was Helsinki. I’d travelled a few different routes by this trip and found that travelling via Helsinki was a particularly convenient option. It’s no surprise that in their advertising Finnair promote themselves as Europe’s “Gateway to Asia”. There isn't much more I can say about Manchester. The queues at Departures were much longer than last time (flying on Boxing Day has its advantages!) but the queue moved pretty quickly so this wasn't a problem. Seasoned traveller that I am, going through security was a pretty quick process. This left me with over an hour and a half before boarding so it was time to grab a cup of tea and start some writing.

The journey to Helsinki was pretty uneventful. The only noteworthy thing about that leg was that we saw the bags being unloaded before we exited the plane at Helsinki – a few of us laughed when the “bagsmashers” (baggage handlers) lived up to their name. It became a little less amusing when I recognised on of my bags being casually tossed around.
Upon my arrival to Helsinki, however, I was disappointed to find that the restaurant that I went to last year had been replaced with a Burger King. That, I did not consider to be an improvement. As luck would have it, a new place had popped up nearby (at least I think it was new, I don’t remember seeing it last year) called “Two Tigers”. Sushi and noodles were their speciality so I thought it worth a try. Besides, when in Rome… Or on the way to Rome? Anyway, after a bowl of Korean style ramen (the Korean twist being the addition of kimchi) it was almost time for boarding (layover was only 2 hours this time – Helsinki is great for fast transfers).
Add caption

For the flight to Tokyo I had received a few pleasant surprises. When making arrangements with Finnair to bring a second suitcase, I threw caution to the wind and payed the extra €50 for an “Economy Comfort” seat. This offered an extra ~5” of legroom, I remembered from last year that the legroom wasn't fantastic so an upgrade would be useful. The seat I selected was a bulkhead seat so I wouldn't have a reclining seat in front of me, the trade off being that my bag would have to be stowed in the overhead locker for take off and landing. It turned out that the bulkhead seats in Economy Comfort have an insane amount of legroom – even my toes won’t reach the bulkhead! (downside is that I needed to take off my seatbelt to get to the storage pouch – a small price to pay). Furthermore, the extras included a small amenity kit and some noise cancelling headphones in place of the regular kind. The headphones seemed to be good quality and were of an over ear design that completely covers the ears. While not 100% effective (I’m not sure if any are), they blocked out enough background noise. I never used the in flight entertainment system during the flight (had a laptop full of anime and a power socket) but found myself using the headphones to block out noise when resting. Alas, my ability to sleep in an economy class seat is limited at best but this was a pretty comfortable journey.
Now that's what I call legroom!
After arriving in Tokyo, it was time for the holiday to begin!