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From Friendly Cambodia To Incomprehensible Japan  
User currently offlineHenkybaby From Netherlands, joined May 2008, 593 posts, RR: 4
Posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 9621 times:

.

Lost in Translation


REP-SGN
VN828
A321
Economy
Seat 10A
Flight time: 1:00


It was time to leave Siem Reap. Cambodia was a very interesting adventure. I was lucky with the weather but it still was very hot and humid. I did not mind moving to Japan where the weather would be cooler. I got a late check out from the hotel and their car took me to the airport 2 hours before the flight. I did not have any status on VN and I was traveling economy so no lounge this time. VN does have quite a nice lounge at the REP airport. I tried but could not talk myself in there. I will post some pictures of the airport instead.





People are very friendly and relaxed here. Want to take a group picture on the tarmac? Sure!



The flight to SGN will be on an Airbus 321. VN is more or less the carrier for Cambodia as well. Although the two countries do not like each other they are highly interdependent. Here some pictures of 'my' aircraft. There was one other A321 there.







Besides VN there was this colorful bird at the airport. Any thoughts?

http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22155117/366809842.jpg

We boarded via the stairs. The flight was only 50% full this time in Y and maybe 20% in J. I had chosen the exit seat again but since that one has no window I moved to seat 10A before take off. A Korean couple behind me decided to each take three seats and lie down.

The cabin


Row10


The airport taxiway
http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22155117/366809859.jpg

The in flight safety video


Halfway during the flight we were in between thunderstorms but taking pictures of it failed completely. The plane got tossed around quite a bit and the captain put on the fasten seatbelt sign. The Korean dude behind me kept lying down without his belt on. I told him that he should and he said he was not worried. “No dude, but if you get hurled to the sealing and fall on me it is my ass!” (he was sort of heavy). All of a sudden he spoke no more English. I called the FA and had her sort it out.

The flight remained bumpy to the very end but I am confident that the pilots are used to this weather over there. We landed safely at SGN and were taxied to a remote stand. Even though there were only 4 J pax on board VN showed a greater understanding than BA (for instance) by having a separate bus for them enabling them to get to customs early.

By now it was 7:20pm and my JL flight was not scheduled for another 6,5 hours. I had (surprisingly since I was traveling on a paper ticket!) checked in online for this flight. That could not be right... When I reached the transit desk there was a VN employee holding a sign with my name.

“Yes sir, we could not find your reservation for your JL flight!”
“But how did you know I would be here then?” I asked pointing at the sign
“...”
“So what do we do next?”
“We wait for JL employee to check you in”

I was a bit taken aback by the apparent illogic of the situation. In the end I was checked in to the same seat I had checked in for online and handed a boarding pass by a very non communicative JL employee and escorted to the lounge by the charming VN employee. I first had to make a round past the flue check camera though.

The VN employee was rather new to her job. I knew where the lounge was but she didn't. She walked me and my luggage all around the airport steadily refusing to follow my lead. When we finally ended up where I said we would she was very apologetic and we laughed it off.

SGN-NRT
JL750
B767-300
Business
Seat 3K
Flight time: 5:45


I had about 5,5 hours to spend in the lounge and I had no idea what to expect. I must say: not bad. The food was reasonable but certainly not great.







Vietnamese spring rolls: bland and cold.


My seat


The lounge does have a view of part of the airport. Nothing major though.



I also spend about 1 hour in the massage chair


Several movies and spring rolls later I boarded my flight to NRT. It was an overnight flight that left at 23:45 and landed at 07:30. Due to the time difference the actual flying time is 5:45. Way too short to get a good night sleep. I could only hope that my hotel in Tokyo would allow an early check in.

The flight is operated by JALways, meaning that you fly the old business class: the Skybed Deluxe or something. Not the nicest seat in the world.





My seat. I once again managed to convince the check in to keep the seat next to me empty. I have a great success rate with that. About 100%  Smile



The ancient seat controls


The cabin was pretty full. Except for the seat next to me there was just one other seat empty.


I don't even know if they served dinner (don't believe they did) but I immediately tried to get into sleep mode with limited success. I slept for about 4 hours. Sleeping is done like this.



Not much of a recline. When I woke up most people had the blinds already open and breakfast was being served. I liked the breakfast. Catering on JALways has been positive so far.



Their amenity kit is a joke however. A plastic bag with few goodies.


Cabin before landing


Descent into Tokyo









JALways has nose cams. Interesting to watch. Here is the view just before touchdown.


We got through customs pretty quickly. It was not busy and the process was efficient like expected. I booked a room at the Tokyo Hilton and the best way to get there (or any hotel) is by bus from the airport.



When I got to my hotel they had a room ready. It was on the lowest floor and had no view. I was moved per my request to the 33rd floor a couple of hours later. This is the view from my room.



The room itself


Japan was a unique experience. I am still debating whether I love it or not. It is hard to understand the society. I will refrain from comment just yet. I did decide I needed to get out the city too so the next day I took a train ride to Kami-Suwa, about 2,5 hours west of Tokyo Shinjuku.

The train (I bought a green car ticket – First Class)


The interior


The seats


View from the train


The train leaving me at Kami-Suwa station


It took about an hour before we left Tokyo and the suburbs and saw anything remotely resembling countryside. Kami-Suwa is a nice small town by a lake. It has birds too...



Actually this is the head of a tourist boat. They all looked like this. It felt typically Japanese. Don't ask me why.



The also had an old locomotive I thought some of you might appreciate





I spend about 4 hours in Kami-Suwa. That was 2 hours too much but I had tea in a nice Starbucks ripoff. The waitresses (none of whom spoke English) found it all very amusing. The ride back was less interesting since it was dark by now.

Lady waiting at Kami-Suwa station


Back in Tokyo I went out and took some pictures of Tokyo by night.









Two days was not enough time to get to know anything about Japan but I doubt if any time would be enough. I am hesitant to go back.

From Tokyo I went to DPS. The trip report for that flight can be found here - Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F) (by Henkybaby May 28 2009 in Trip Reports)

As always: I hoped you enjoyed the read and the pictures. Feedback is always appreciated.

Thanks for reading!


Wherever you go, there you are!
9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineArdian From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 544 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 9443 times:

Great trip report and beautiful pictures. I love the picture where the train officer is looking outside the window

User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4269 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 9435 times:

Hi Henkybaby,

another wonderful report! Thanks for that...

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
Besides VN there was this colorful bird at the airport. Any thoughts?

Bangkok Airways, ATR72. This airline also operates B717 and A320.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
The flight is operated by JALways, meaning that you fly the old business class: the Skybed Deluxe or something. Not the nicest seat in the world.

JALways does not mean that you get this seat. You actually fly on a normal JL aircraft. But, JALways is a group company with staff working for lower salaries etc. Also cabin supplies are cheaper, as well might catering be. Mainline JL cabincrew will not work on JALways flights. But, cockpitcrew is normal JL.
This type of seat can also still be found on several B744's (e.g. the ones serving NRT-FCO and NRT-MXP, also NRT-YVR, as well random other routes).

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
JALways has nose cams.

All widebody JL aircraft have this feature.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
The room itself

That's a suite for Tokyo terms. I never got a room that big, even not in 4* hotels.
May I ask your hotel in Tokyo? Might be an idea for my next visit.

btw, when you visit Japan again, you might consider JL AMS-NRT nonstop. Some interesting fares are currently put on the market. The B772's operate in 3-class layout (C/Y+/Y).

Regards,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineBurj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 901 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 9276 times:

Great pictures! Thanks!

User currently offlineHenkybaby From Netherlands, joined May 2008, 593 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 8703 times:

Thanks guys!

Quoting Ardian (Reply 1):
I love the picture where the train officer is looking outside the window

It my favorite too.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 2):
JALways does not mean that you get this seat.

I understood that JALways always flies the old style J class and not the newer cabins. It is however not so that only JALways has the old style J seat. You can be unlucky with JL too. I could be wrong of course.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 2):
May I ask your hotel in Tokyo?

You may. It was the Tokyo Hilton. It is a Jr Suite I booked for around E100 per night in a Hilton sale. You really have to keep an eye on the hotel section of Flyertalk. That saves me thousands a year.



Wherever you go, there you are!
User currently offlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4697 posts, RR: 50
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 8655 times:



Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
Two days was not enough time to get to know anything about Japan but I doubt if any time would be enough. I am hesitant to go back.

That's a shame, although understandable. I spend a little over a week there and I fell in love with the country. It's all so different it's nice to see  Smile. However, I guess that if you are there alone (I was with 2 others) it would be a 'lost in translation thing. Actually, I recommend watching that movie as I think it portrays Japan quite well.



For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8546 posts, RR: 54
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 8654 times:
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Hi Mr H,

Great report and pictures as always.

Liked the story about the VN agent who did not know where the lounge was, very amusing  Smile

The Hilton room is huge, never had a room that big in Tokyo.

I like Japan, though I need to see more of it, too much time spent at airports!

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineTriple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 743 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 8499 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I enjoyed the pics of your TR in Tokyo namely because I lived there for 4 years. It does take you a while to get used to it, but once you get accustomed to the way things are done, you'll like it. I loved living there....except I didn't like the earthquakes.


Have you kissed a 777 today?
User currently offlineHenkybaby From Netherlands, joined May 2008, 593 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 8110 times:



Quoting JRadier (Reply 5):
That's a shame, although understandable

Mind you, I am not sure yet. I will be back in Japan in March (KIX this time) and am still in doubt if I should just transit (to Hawaii by the way) or spend a week or so there. Not quite sure where to go and what to see. Not much of a city person but outside of the city Japanese seems almost mandatory if you want to get anything done.

Suggestions are always welcome of course!  Smile



Wherever you go, there you are!
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4269 posts, RR: 51
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 7893 times:

Hi again,

Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 4):

I understood that JALways always flies the old style J class and not the newer cabins

Then that info you got is incorrect. JAL mainline aircraft, including the newer J class, operate on JALways flights also. So you can be 'lucky' also  Wink

Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 4):
You may. It was the Tokyo Hilton. It is a Jr Suite I booked for around E100 per night in a Hilton sale.

Thanks for this advise. That's a bargain for Tokyo and a room of this size!

Regards,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
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