This is just a short report that I've decided to write after discovering the photos from the flight. You'll notice that it's more than half a year ago so the details may be a bit sparse, but I hope you enjoy the photos at least!
I had been staying in Tokyo for about a week, eating the excellent sushi far too many times and just generally having a look around, enjoying the city. Luckily, Kana - a friend from university - lives there so I was able to save on the hotel expenses, which basically went straight to paying for sushi instead :p
The very best highlight from the trip was going to Tsukiji fish market to a restaurant called Sushi-Dai, a name which should ring a bell in many sushi aficiando's ears. Yes, one of the two very famous restaurants in the Tokyo's main fish market which always have queues of up to 3 hours (I waited 2.5 hours) while all of the others around them are mostly empty. I went along at 10am expecting a late breakfast, and eventually went in around 12:30pm nearly dying of hunger and ready to devour the whole restaurant.
It might not look like a huge queue, but there are only 10 places inside!
Signage for this very famous restaurant
Watching enviously at the people (for the time being!) eating their sushi inside
Mind you, it was thoroughly worth the wait. Each and every piece of sushi was simply perfect. The fish would have to be still alive in order to be more fresh. And although everyone else eating there was Japanese, I could speak one or two phrases which seemed to amuse the chef - I did know the names of my favourite fish in Japanese so I could ask for those very easily!
The original plan was to take photos of each piece, but I basically got so hungry that I forgot to take any photos until right at the end, when I had two more pieces that I ordered extra on top of their set menu.
O-toro and Uni (Fattiest belly of tuna, and Sea-urchin)
I really just died and went to heaven while eating there. And having finished the sushi, I realised I was now spoilt - how on earth will I eat sushi back in England?!
The second best highlight from the trip was fulfilling a long-time ambition to go on the Shinkansen. Not just any old Shinkansen, but the very striking Nozomi Series-500 that mesmerised me when I saw the poster for it for the first time in Osaka, circa 1997.
However, the plan was to stay in Tokyo, since my flight to Korea will be departing from Tokyo too. And it was just a bit too much to go on a day-trip to Osaka when the roundtrip train fare would have costed around the US$250 mark. So, I found a solution - I would just travel to Yokohama which is barely 15 minutes away... for now. I will fulfill the dream properly another time, when I could book an open-jaw between KIX
Only it didn't quite turn out how I imagined it. I had forgotten that the train I really wanted to go on was the Nozomi 500
series, not the N700 series. N700 series is the latest one, but it looks a bit strange - like a duck's beak - and I didn't like it the same way as the 500 series. But I forgot the name, so I just booked the N700 without realising it wasn't what I wanted. I was therefore quite surprised when I went up to the platform and saw these:
When the train eventually departed though, I was seriously impressed. The ride comfort was simply amazing. It seriously made me think that Maglev was't such a big deal when you have this sort of quiet and still ride. Practically gliding.
Anyway, it only meant that I had to go to Yokohama again
, on my second attemt at finding the Nozomi 500. I got it right the second time, and here are just a few photos:
It looks more like a fighter jet than a train - everyone around me was busy taking photos too. I mean, just look at it. Tell me this is not the coolest train you've ever seen...
I quite liked this photo - makes the two trains look like two bouncers wearing sunglasses or something - do you agree?
The ride quality was not quite as good as the N700 - the noise and the shaking of the cabin was much more noticeable. Still, I finally fulfilled my wish!
Anyway... onto the flight itself.
OZ1015 / 30 June / HND
/ STD 1305 / STA
I had chosen Haneda-Gimpo instead of NRT
because - for this very short flight - it didn't make sense to trek all the way into NRT
, catch a flight, then trek all the way into Seoul from ICN
which is also a very long way. HND
, however, are both much closer to their respective cities and the airports are also smaller and less congested.
The day started uneventfully and I made my way to the airport on time. I took the subway to Haneda Airport station, then had to take another bus to the International terminal which looked like a war-time temporary airfield building from the 1970s. And that was only a slight exaggeration!
Once inside, though, things looked much more civilised (though absolutely nothing fancy, we're talking down to the absolute basics).
The very empty check-in area
I was duly checked-in by a polite ANA ground staff, and proceeded to say goodbye to Kana and Mina (her sister) and made my way to the x-ray. Things were going to be pretty boring, I thought - just another flight. But oh no.
You see, I had bought some Japanese noodles and the accompanying soy sauce as a present. I didn't want to put it into the luggage because I was afraid the noodles will all break, so I stuffed it into my hand luggage. When the x-ray lady said "do you have any liquids in your bag?" I suddenly had that very bad feeling of having done something wrong, and realised the two 250ml bottles of soy sauce with the noodles in the very nicely packaged wooden box.
A-ha, but this can be very easily solved, I thought. I would just ask to retrieve my checked bag and put the whole thing into the bag, check it in, job's done. Only it was now too late and they were unable to retrieve my bag anymore, so I had to take the noodles without the soy sauce, or find some way of checking the soy sauce without it breaking (and presumably soaking everyone else's clothes).
Cue much panic and hurry, trying to find suitable packing materials. The lady who proceeded to help me (airport staff) was very helpful and we managed to locate the ANA ground staff to find a shopping bag and lots of bubble wrap. By the time we were done, the finished product could safely be dropped from a great height and it would have been fine. A short flight was no longer going to pose a problem for those precious two bottles of soy sauce (I know, they're only soy sauce, but they completed the package for the noodles and it would look strange without them!)
After all this ordeal, I then went through x-ray again, proceeded upstairs, and plopped myself down in the lounge. No photos from the lounge as I was still, recovering from the traumatic ordeal, but it was basically just a pleasant waiting room with enough sofas but very minimal other amenities. Some drinks (soft and alcoholic) were available, but I wouldn't want to spend much more than an hour in there.
The boarding was called on time at 1235 and I made my way to the gate. Then I went to the aircraft that would be taking us to GMP
, the Asiana Airlines A330-300.
I had flown OZ
C before so I was familiar with the seats - they're the angled lie-flat seats with 58 inches of pitch, and pretty decent even for some hours of sleep.
I was not in any danger of running out of space...
Shot across the cabin, showing the seat pitch
We pushed back on time roughly around 1300, and the airport ground crew were waving us goodbye - normally only seen around Asia I think.
The ANA B737-700 - looks cute!
View of the industrial complex near the airport
View of the wing once at full cruising altitude
There was a full meal service on this rather short 2-hour flight. I can no longer remember if there was a beverage service before the meal service, however - unlikely, considering the length of flight.
Here is the menu:
Smoked Salmon with Seasonal Salad
Beef Tenderloin Steak
Served with Red Wine Sauce
Accompanied by Asparagus, Carrot and Potato
Steamed Seabream and Sauteed Shrimp
Served with Black Vinegar Sauce
Accompanied by Mushroom, Pumpkin and Yam
Seasonal Fresh Fruits
Delicate Flavor of "Bae-Sujunggwa"
Coffee & Tea
Mixing and Harmonising
A Famous Korean Cuisine "Bi-Bim-Bab"
Steamed rice, Various kinds of vegetables and minced beef
Accompanied by Hot Pepper Paste, Sesame Oil, Assorted Side Dishes and Soup
Seasonal Fresh Fruits
Delicate Flavor of "Bae-Sujunggwa"
Coffee & Tea
There was also a very comprehensive beverage/wine list consisting of:
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve
Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim 2004
HESS Monterey Chardonnay 2006
Chateau Bel-Orme Tronquoy-de-Lalande 2000
Givry 1er cru, Cellier aux Moines 2004
Artesa Elements 2003
Blandy's 10 Years Old Malmsey Madeira
Port Sandeman 20 Years Old Porto
and other spirits, liquers, beers, non-alcoholic beverages, coffee (including espresso/cappuccino/cafe latte) and tea.
The table with the table cloth
You can never go wrong with bibimbap!
The bibimbap was really good as always, and light enough that you don't feel like you've eaten a large animal at the end of the meal. The rest of this short flight was spent mostly listening to music and just watching the world go by, and before long it was time for landing.
Somewhere in Korea near the end of our flight - a very generic scenery
We landed a little early and actually arrived at our gate by 1510.
I hadn't been to Gimpo at all ever since Incheon opened its doors in 2002, so it was something of a trip down memory lane to see it again. I don't think I'll miss it much, though... My bags were one of the first batch to come out, and I was on my way to the airport bus in no time at all.
All in all, it was a nice, (save for the soy sauce saga) uneventful short flight. OZ
obviously tries hard on this highly competitive route where KE
all compete for the large volume of business and leisure traffic between Seoul and Tokyo. I was quite impressed by how much they managed to fit into this short flight.
Check out my other trip reports on A-Net:
A Lucky Trip On SQ's 777-300ER In First Class
Three Flights In One Day (LHR-ARN-LHR-NRT, ANA First Class)
[Edited 2009-02-01 13:22:28]