Japan – A Day of Firsts

8 April 2017

QF 61 Brisbane to Narita, departure time 10:55, just 8 short hours later we are in Japan. JAPAN!

Our morning and flight is uneventful, the way all holidays should begin. But there are a couple of things to note.

Firstly, this in my FIRST EVER international flight with Qantas, and I’m not impressed with the self check-in to obtain a boarding pass and luggage tag, nor the huge line for the bag drop. Apparently they had 9 flights all scheduled to leave around the same time – that’s a lot of people wanting to check in together at the same time. Online check-in is now point-less as you need to do it again at the airport anyway to get a luggage tag. Emirates we miss you!

Secondly, the couple seated in front of us have a toddler. The toddler’s behavior was pretty good for a little fella stuck on a plane, but the parents! The got up, swapped seats, swapped baby, got things out of the locker, put things into the locker, lost items, found items, etc etc the whole bloody 8 hours. I estimate about 6 times each hour. Seriously, sit down and stop effing moving around, it was so hard to relax!

On the other end of the flight we were efficiently processed through immigration, baggage collection and customs with Japanese polite efficiency, 45 minutes later we are greeted by our driver who takes off like a scalded cat with my bag. We quickly scurry after him, its ok he’s heading to the Toyota Crown Royal. The cars interior is decked out in lace doilies, its so cute. And we have lots of time to admire it as it’s a hour drive to our hotel, the Akasuka View Hotel where we will spend the next four nights. Our room 1819 has a fantastic view across to the temple complex, Hanayashiki the fun park and hidden in the low cloud the Tokyo Skytree (it’s a drizzly night).

Asakasa View Hotel Room 1819
Asakasa View Hotel bathroom

Its now 9:00 pm on a Saturday night and we are hungry and thirsty so we grab our raincoats and head out onto the street in search of ramen and beer. After wandering the back streets near the Asakusa Temple complex, slightly daunted by the myriad of options available, we randomly settle on the Tiger Gyoza Hall (mainly because it one of the few signs we can read) and grab a seat at the kitchen counter. The menu has English subtitles, some items amuse and bewilder us (but I’m sure will be understood in time) “Hoppy set (black and white)”, “Cattle rose thick rice noodles” and “Shochu”.

Tiger Gyoza Hall
Banana shape dumplings
Dumpling Selection

We order cold sake for me, an Asahi beer for H (Asakusa is the home of Asahi), banana shape dumplings, ramen with BBQ pork and a deep fried prawn in chili mayonnaise (we get a sweet and sour prawn dish instead). The dumplings and ramen are delicious – it’s a good start.

Replenished we settle the bill and wander the back streets for a while, soaking in the atmosphere. Even though its Saturday night a lot of the restaurants and all the shops are closed.

Asakusa at night

Back to the hotel to retire to our room for the night.

Our bathroom has a very deep but small bathtub, which we fill up for a hot bath. Very relaxing, maybe too relaxing cause I fall asleep in the bath and am jolted awake when my face hits the water.   Good night Tokyo!

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