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allrite
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Posts: 2617
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:12 am

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Most of us probably have a favourite holiday location they regularly return to. Maybe it's the house of your grandparents or a caravan park near the beach. Mine is Japan. I've lost count of the number of times I've been back since our first visit in 2003. I've been to many other countries since, but there is something that always draws me back.

I have a list of things I want to do in Japan. It's a long list, open ended in fact, full of train lines, tiny towns and simple experiences. Many of them are things that most would consider boring, but that's okay, I'm a pretty boring person really. I like independence, simplicity, peacefulness, solitude and beauty.

Japan has the convenience and safety of a civilised country. No needing to be constantly on your ball for rip offs, no haggling, struggling to get from A to B unless you are somewhere obscure. Yet it's exotic enough that you don't feel like you might has well have stayed home. It is not a perfect country, I don't believe they exist, and there are plenty of underlying issues, but that is not for most visitors to concern themselves with. It is somewhere I can relax.

My wife and son love Japan too, but mostly for different reasons. An increasing number of others seem to as well. I wish they wouldn't. It was quite difficult to book hotels in some areas due to the hordes of overseas visitors descending on my favourite other country. Go away, it's mine!

Constrained to school holidays for family travel the best fares we could find was a special work deal through Qantas, who currently fly direct from Sydney to Tokyo Narita. This will change in August, if memory serves me correctly, to Tokyo Haneda. But Narita is where we first entered Japan and I have no problem with it.

I've written several trip reports on Qantas between Sydney and Narita. Last year we flew the same route and I was not in a happy place for the flights. This year I was determined to get my renewed fear of turbulence under control and enjoy the trip.

I once pondered on another of these flights about the romance of being the last departure from the airport late at night. With the cessation of daylight savings QF21 is no longer the last out into the skies, but its 9.30 pm departure is still pretty late.

I checked in online, but could see no baggage drop off point so we went to the regular Qantas desk. The were quite a few school groups around the terminal, including a number on our flight. Fortunately, not ahead of us when it came to lining up at immigration and security, where staff wanted me to unpack my electronic bag.

Going airside was quite a shock. Despite passing through there a month ago it had greatly changed. Hoardings were up alongside the former duty free maze and the central ellipse had been replaced by open sided boxes of Heinemann, the new duty free operator, stalls. I hope that it's only temporary.

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The Sony shop was gone, as were the Dick Smith uniforms. Now a more bland selection of electronics, which distracted Alex for a while, and no cheap cameras, which I was considering to buy for Alex.

Hoardings also blocked the interior view from the upstairs passageway in front of the Qantas lounges. It's really not that long ago that lounges felt like a special thing but I guess I'm getting a little jaded. At least we weren't wearing thongs (flip-flops, jandals, etc).

We met a colleague and her family booked on the same flight as us, had a chat. Alex was disappointed to discover that the family area, with its PS3, had disappeared, to be replaced by a side room near the lounge entrance decorated with Nickolodeon characters and toys for very young children. Too young for him, so he just played on the iMacs in the main area. This necessitated an emergency muting when music and sound effects from one of his online maths games suddenly blared out from the computer.

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Lounge


I still had a palpable sense of anxiety about the flight, though nothing like last year's when I physically sick. Also, I had not overindulged in chocolate, despite it being Easter. With this in mind I ate sparingly at the lounge. The offerings were of high quality, though somewhat limited to single choices except in the case of the salads.

Thai beef curry and rice, creamy soup, rich chocolate cake and brownies. The hot chocolates were near perfect, but sadly the gelato bar closed early. We used the shower facilities, knowing that there would be no more bathing until late the next day. They are doing yet more construction outside the lounge. The view isn't the best and I didn't really spend much time looking outside.

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Nice hot chocolate


Time to go to the gate.

The 747 may no longer be the flagship of the Qantas fleet, but I have a lot of fondness for the old Queen of the skies. The interior of Lord Howe Island, VH-OJU, was refurbished with the newer A380 style economy seats and had the more modern rounded Boeing interior rather than the classic boxy luggage compartments that have a special place in my memory from our first journeys overseas.

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Our flight


B insisted on the window seat and I was banished to the aisle, with Alex in the middle. She did let me setup my action camera at the window.

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Cabin
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Leg room
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My legroom
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Action camera
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Seat backs






We lifted off into overcast skies and I could see the lights of the city across through the window. I couldn't track our progress on the flight map, however, as I had accidentally opened the help mode of my touch screen and the spot where you press the "X" to close it was dead. Not the rest of the screen, just that spot. Infuriating and it took a reset to resolve.

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Bickford's grapefruit cordial welcome drink - nice!


The screen itself was not as nice as the Jetstar 787's that I had flown on a couple of weeks earlier, lower resolution and covered with the touch screen grid.

The vision outside disappeared as we penetrated the cloud layer, then we finally saw clear skies again. Clear enough to see the flashes of lightning from the clouds below. As the seatbelt lights switched off, B offered to let me swap for the window seat and immediately I felt a sense of relief. I like being able to see the source of the bumps in the sky.

Alex played with his screen, was laughing away at the start to Paddington, which we had missed due to long queues at the cinema during our session. I just left it on the flight map and listened to music, staring outside into the blackness of a moonlit night sky.

Both Alex and B fell asleep before we were served supper. I had used the new preordering system to take a look at what was available, and it looked like pretty conservative food. I selected roast pork with apple, potatoes and cabbage, another option online was roast chicken, the Japanese option miso fish and rice. The meal was served on the new small trays with no salad. I enjoyed what I ate of mine, again not wishing to feel overly full. However, when I opened my tub of chocolate mousse with salted caramel, some of the pressurised mousse exploded outwards over my shirt.



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Pork and apple

We were each given a bottle of water for hydration during the flight.

Two hours into the flight and the lights were extinguished and we travelled in darkness. Queensland cities and towns sparkled like jewels below, punctuating the black land and cloud scapes. We crossed the coastline over the Whitsunday Islands, flying over the sea until Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea.

I had studied the turbulence forecast maps and, along with experience, had identified potential storm clouds over PNG and a cloudmass around typhoon Haishen near Guam as sources of rough air. The truth was that neither was particularly bumpy and I found that my mental preparations meant that I was largely untroubled by the myriad of small bumps along the way. The Moon helped, lighting the scenery outside.

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Flying over high cloud


Indeed I enjoyed the view as we skirted past some big tropical storm masses, bursts of lightning flashing yellow within. Despite the highly convective air within the storm cells themselves it was remarkable how smooth the air was just a little away from them. It's been a while since I viewed such a scene without dread, now I recalled how often I had enjoyed it before.

I watched another aircraft fly in the opposite directions, wondered if it had left the contrails I saw soon afterwards, white-grey in the moonlight.

Finally I gained the confidence to tear my eyes away from the window and switched on the movie Interstellar, which I had wanted to watch but missed at the cinema, with the hope that it would make this ten hour flight pass faster. Almost three hours of entertainment certainly did help, but the flight felt long and I felt doubts about my commitment to aviation.

Am I becoming like so many other travellers, for whom the flight is the inconvenient part of the trip instead of one of the most memorable?

With Alex sleeping on my lap it was difficult to move and my left buttock was feeling very painful. I'm not sure if it was due to him, or a lack of padding on a seat I've had no issues with before or some other injury. Nevertheless, it didn't make for the most comfortable of experiences and I was glad when, with two hours left in the flight, the lights were switched back on and woke both Alex and B up so I could stretch.

Alex ate very little of his child's breakfast, a piece of hamburger patty, mushrooms, egg fritters and baked beans, mainly crunching on the apple and ignoring the delicious mini muffin and Greek yoghurt. Our service came later. B had the scrambled eggs option, but I was delighted to find a fruit salad on the menu. Of all the meals served on board I find fruit the nicest and really enjoyed the serving. Except for one very dodgy looking strawberry half. Hmmmm.

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Breakfast
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Alex just ate the apple
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B's hot breakfast
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Dodgy strawberry


The sun was rising and we skimmed high over a carpet of clouds, one of my favourite times for flying. There were a few bumps now and then was the cloudscape below us changed, but nothing major. I was a bit concerned though that we would have to penetrated that thick cloud layer in order to reach the airport.

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Good morning!
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First light
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Cruising


There were a few twists along the way as Narita traffic control delayed us. Captain Collins warned us that the skies were busy this time of morning. It really wasn't until a half an hour left that we suddenly began powering down towards the land.

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Descent starting
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More clouds!


No gentle descent this time like you often get into Sydney, it felt like we were going full bore down into Japan. Despite the urgency of the seatbelt announcements there were few bumps as we entered the clouds that obscured the land below until we were almost down. Then you could feel the gusts of wind that characterise Narita. But the pilots held it well and it was a nice touchdown into Japan, rain streaking the windows as we taxied to the distant Terminal 2 under miserable looking skies.


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Spring Airlines Japan, a new LCC?
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Bye!
Sped up video of our descent.

Back in Japan! Alex was so excited, dancing around, laughing, joking. Despite it's length, I had enjoyed the flight and felt in a good mood too. The queues at immigration did put a damper on some of that enthusiasm and by the time we exited our bags were already off the belt.


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We purchased tickets on the Narita Express and bought Alex his own Suica card, which greatly excited him not for the ticket gates but the vending machine possibilities.

The NEX is such a familiar way to travel for us, being our first introduction to Japan twelve years ago. Cherry blossoms were visible as pink puffs in the grey-green-brown landscape outside. B and I both drifted to sleep at times, Alex wondered what to do as he gets motion sick on trains if he plays games or draws. Not a good sign. He'd obviously got enough sleep on the flight!


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User avatar
allrite
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Posts: 2617
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:13 am

Our destination was, as usual in Tokyo, Shinjuku. It is such a bustling place, with so many people and shops, so different to home. Though the temperature was only about 10 degrees and damp I felt refreshed.

I'll give a brief summary of our 11 days in Japan. You can read the details with more links and photos on my blog.

Check in at our home away from home, the Shinjuku Prince Hotel, wasn't until 1pm, so we had time to do shopping. Later we visited the KitKat Chocolatory at Ikebukuro, which was rather disappointing for its small range.

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KitKat Chocolatory

On a cold and miserably wet and windy day we travelled to the nearby port city of Yokohama, where they have the second Cup Noodle Museum after Osaka. It was actually rather interesting and B and Alex got to decorate and choose the extra ingredients for their own cup noodles.

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Conveyor belt dropping noodles into the cups
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Some of the selection of extras
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Some of the "instant ramen" and cup noodles from across Japan and the world
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This is just wrong! (Actually, I'm told "spa" is short for spaghetti)

Of more interested to connoisseurs of aviation is the nearby Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum which has a flyable mockup of a MRJ (throttle, yoke, gear and no gimbals), rocket engines and various other vehicles (no cars!). Excellent fun for kids and adults.

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Flying the MRJ
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Not a Mitsubishi car engine in sight

Unfortunately, we left a shopping bag of newly purchased jeans at the museum, which turned the following day, when we were headed off to Osaka, into a saga of lost property and a police station, but we did get to visit the Hara Model Railway Museum.

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Maerklin monorail
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The large layout

After some lovely sun, our first day was again miserable and wet, although this had the bonus of reducing the crowds at Universal Studios Japan.

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Alex has recently got into Harry Potter
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He bought every flavour beans (including vomit) and Voldemort's wand.
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Not us


Roughly half way between Osaka and Nagoya on the upper part of the Kii Peninsula is Iga City, home to one of the two greatest ninja schools in the country. The Iga-ryu Ninja Museum runs tours of the unprepossessing ninja farmhouse full of secret entrances and adjacent display halls, as well as an excellent demonstration of ninja skills, such as the use of a rope to decapitate an opponent with their own sword. It also meant ticking off another item on my mental list, completing the length of Iga Railway.

Video of Kamo to Igaueno train ride

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Even the trains are in on the ninja act!
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Bamboo cutter
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End of the rope


That night we visited the Shinsekai area of Osaka, which houses the Tsutenkaku Tower and, at Alex's insistence of going to an onsen, bathed and swam at Spa World, which has nothing to do with spaghetti.

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Shinsekai restaurants and Tsutenkaku Tower, which we didn't climb


Ostensibly, the reason for our visit to Japan was to catch up with an exchange student and teacher we had hosted for a couple of weeks in 2014. It was good to enter a real Japanese home for the first time. Plus there was a tram ride involved and with a trip to the teacher's home city of Wakayama I added prefecture number 45 to my list of the Japanese prefectures visited or passed through (there are 47 in total).

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Hankai Tramway
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Wakayama Castle
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View from the top of Wakayama Castle
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Ohashi Roka sloped bridge


We were staying in the Tennoji area of Osaka and before we left, while B had a hair cut, Alex and I caught a lift up to the top of one of Japan's tallest buildings, Abeno Harukas. Great view!

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300 metres above the world

We then caught the train to Takayama. The line between Gifu and Takayama is very scenic and a must do, as is its historic town. We were there of the Takayama Matsuri, one of the three most impressive festivals in Japan. Unfortunately, the rain meant that the night parade was cancelled. Whilst B and I had seen it nine years earlier, Alex missed out. We still ate our fill of Hida gyu (beef).

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Winding our way along the river
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Gero Onsen. Gero is a homonym for vomit in Japanese
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The river
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Takayama is famous for its craft
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Hoba miso and Hida gyu
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Festival stalls
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Festival floats at the museum
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Cherry blossoms
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The crowds were out at night
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The historic streets at night
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Wandering through the old streets
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Where the parade would have started from

We stayed in Takayama for a couple of night, then it was time to return to Tokyo. There were only a few express services, so we caught local trains to Inotani and Toyama, before changing on to the new Shinkansen service to Tokyo.

Video of Takayama to Inotani train
Video of Inotani to Toyama train

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Our first train at Takayama
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Though the scenery was stark and cold, it was magnificent
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Snow!
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A KiHa 120 on the Takayama Main Line, at long last I caught the first Japanese model train I purchased!
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Japanese alps in the background
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The new Shinkansen
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Snowbound mountains

The Shinkansen is very comfortable and way nicer than flying, but my favourite train is still the kiHa 120 which goes at a maximum speed of 95 km/h and makes you feel like you are part of the scenery rather than flashing through tunnels. Still, the new Shinkansen will open up the magnificent city of Kanazawa, which is very much worth a visit.

The last couple of days were just spend around Tokyo. We visited the gorgeous Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum, an inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, Shibuya, Asagaya and around Shinjuku where we were (as usual) staying.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-FnizAb9Y53g/VS6DGTp4G2I/AAAAAAAEbmU/8SYVoxY0sbc/s1600/DSC04629.JPG
Godzilla outside the Hotel Gracery in Shinjuku
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hHn-0_XK_eI/VS6DJWiVGwI/AAAAAAAEbms/SCEtyHju4ok/s1600/DSC04632.JPG
View of Shinjuku from our hotel window
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Shinjuku in the evening
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Koganei Park
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Blossom at the museum
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Irori
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Looking towards the bathhouse
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Old shop buildings
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Shibuya
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-aXFTsdwWpqM/VTHp5D7IvQI/AAAAAAAEczI/98DxIPxYvzE/s1600/DSC05013.JPG
Asagaya

Far too soon it was time to go home. I'm always depressed leaving Japan and it's never the best state in which to fly. We had way too much luggage with us for the return, a consequence of purchases made and the clothes and electronics brought with us. I would rather travel light, but we might as well take advantage of Qantas' (and status) generosity of luggage to take some long wanted items home.

The weather was closing in as we rode the Narita Express to the airport.

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Tokyo Sky Tree
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-sfRStdch61U/VTHqTL8jYtI/AAAAAAAEc3A/GglG-O7jakE/s1600/DSC05044.JPG
Rice paddies
 
User avatar
allrite
Topic Author
Posts: 2617
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:14 am

We arrived about three hours before departure and what a relief it was to check in and ride ourselves of the additional luggage. Rather than explore any further airside we just went straight through security and immigration. There was no appetite for any further shopping.

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Check in


As noted on our last trip, the automated shuttle train to the satellite gates of Terminal 2 is gone and replaced by a moving walkway and footpath, which I think works much better. It certainly looks impressive.

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The Qantas Business Lounge is located close to the left exit of the corridor. The lounge is understandably smaller than Sydney's and the food selection less impressive. There was, I think, a tomato sauce based pasta main dish available, but most of the food was of the snacking type like sushi. B and Alex devoured the nice little strawberry slices and chips, in between him playing on the iMacs. My stomach, as always, was knotted and I didn't feel like eating.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AxUCN2HCYAk/VT25n2jpf0I/AAAAAAAEd_k/7JdGKpzBckU/s1600/DSC_1501.JPG
Looking in towards the buffet
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-E2IoQNTr9VI/VT25n8HguqI/AAAAAAAEd_k/TD0LyHVMa1Y/s1600/DSC_1499.JPG
Seating


Our aircraft, VH-OEI, pulled up at the gate while we waited. A 747-400ER, it sported the discrete decals of the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, so I suppose that it also operated the special flight to Istanbul.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pmDlZO9WtDI/VTHqdCDjnLI/AAAAAAAEc4g/Nm7vjQ0Yhr0/s1600/DSC05056.JPG
VH-OEI
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-93qQMhQ4S2o/VT26hvrgcmI/AAAAAAAEd_s/UGdII8ltrtc/s1600/DSC_1502.JPG
Up close.

It is another anniversary too. The night marked 80 years of international flying for Qantas. I only discovered the fact after we returned, strange that it wasn't mentioned.

Unlike the Sydney lounge they use an access card system for the showers at Narita. As they were being cleaned I was given a buzzer to notify us of their availability and it wasn't long until I was recalled to the front desk. One of the Qantas uniformed attendants was Japanese, the other of a Middle Eastern background - for the support of Emirates perhaps?

You have to give up your boarding passes in return for a shower access card. The showers themselves are not as nice as in Sydney, with no separate area for seating/dressing. Also note that the separate toilets are better than the ones in the shower rooms. Alex amused himself with the lid/seat up and down buttons!

These overnight return flights are the worst. You board tired and can't look forward to sleep and they signify the end of the adventure. We joined the crowd in boarding, the green and yellow attired young persons orchestra group, full of noisy teenagers, the families, the odd Japanese passenger and trudged down the gangway to the aircraft.

I get my window seat, one row back from before. No video this time as I had busted the mount removing it from a train window in a hurry. While Alex, who at 8.30pm is still quite awake, turns on some children's movies on his screen, I set mine to the map and the audio to a classical station. A pity that there is no soundtrack selection and it's not possible to use your playlist as background music.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1F8RW0cpGl0/VTHqhxCOg6I/AAAAAAAEc5Q/PkOzQ7LVvYQ/s1600/DSC05062.JPG
The IFE has a kids screen


My phone battery ss lower than I liked, but the USB socket in the armrest ss again non-functional. Fortunately, the difficult to use 100V sockets in between the seats do supply power.

We sre ready to depart on time, but as we begin our long taxi out to the runway the captain announces that there are 8 aircraft ahead of us, so that meant at least 16 minutes of delays.

The queue includes both Jetstar and AirAsiaX. Unfair that the cheapskate airlines come before us full fare paying passengers, say I in mock outrage!

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787 ANA lineup
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Lights dimmed
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Nippon Cargo Airlines


The take-off is very powerful. There are views of city lights below us, then we enter the clouds. A storm flashes nearby.

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Animated GIF
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8r9W6kbWsYo/VTHrCi7gIfI/AAAAAAAEc-o/wvZANUWD62U/s1600/DSC05105.JPG
Entering the cloud.


This initial turbulence spoils the flight for me, for afterwards I am forever on edge every time we enter a cloud. The captain does offer some reassurance, stating that it should be good flying conditions.

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It's not a direct path out.

Once the seatbelt lights are switched off the crew spring into action. There are paper menus to hand out and a welcome drink of Bickford's Cordial. The crew on these Japan flights always seems on the rather mature side and tonight's is no exception. I don't have anything against that as they were friendly and efficient, especially the cabin manager who projected a real sense of warmth.

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Nice.


The kids meals are served first, an hour into the flight. Alex only picks at his, despite it being spaghetti and meatballs. I steal his unwanted dessert - custard with tinned fruit. I don't like the caramel at the bottom.

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Some snacks in a bag
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Child's meal - spaghetti and meatballs
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Cherry bun
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Kid's dessert


There are three main selections on the menu tonight. I order the barbecued beef, vegetables and turmeric rice, an odd dish that seems neither traditional Australian or Japanese. As hungry as I am and nice though it is, I can't eat all of it. I do enjoy the warm bread role and strawberry compote dessert though.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-BPYHErq8ONM/VTHrJ2G0V_I/AAAAAAAEc_4/57UGxdKVLxg/s1600/DSC05115.JPG
My meal
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Quite nice


A couple of hours into the flight and it's lights out. Unfortunately, without moonlight it's very dark outside. The stars are visible, but it's not a sky full of stars tonight. Perhaps there is thin high cloud. Still, they offer a reference point should we ourselves enter a region of cloud. If I can see the stars then we are skimming the top, if not, we are deeper in.

Let's face it, there aren't going to be great views outside and with Alex asleep on my lap I might as well try to distract myself with the entertainment on offer. I try Birdman, but it isn't working for me. I figure that, with a background in maths and physics, I should watch one of the recent biographies of either Stephen Hawking or Alan Turing and settle on the latter's Imitation Game as it's less romance oriented.

I follow up with Gravity, which does feature some uncomfortably turbulent scenes. It's the whole low g situation that I hate anyway, but honestly the movie isn't as bad as some make out. That's the joy of watching while up in the air, the bad isn't as bad.

The last movie is the first of the Downey Sherlock Holmes. I had watched the sequel at some stage on another flight back from Japan. This kind of mindless entertainment is very good for flights.

The crew come through the cabin quite frequently with their little torches. We have each been given a bottle of water for the night.

The movies mean that time passes reasonably quickly. I feel nervous around Guam and north of Papua New Guinea. The former is clear, the latter seems to involve some detour. There is a storm or two.

The light outside seems to improve during the second half of the flight, the wings more visible, the star brighter, indicating that my hypothesis of high cloud may be correct. I drift off to sleep for a little, but am awoken by a flash. Then another. There is a storm out there over the Coral Sea. I can see a blackness ahead, a band of high cloud and storms. As we enter the bumps increase.

I am taken back to another flight when, in the dark of the night near Guam, we hit a band of storms in a Jetstar A330. The seat belt lights are switched on and with great urgency in his voice the pilot orders everyone back to their seats. Searchlights illuminated, we weave our way through the storm clouds.

But that doesn't happen here. We bump around, pass through the high clouds, move a little around the thicker clouds. The seatbelt lights are never illuminated, there is no word from the flight deck.

Then we are through. It is less rough, but it seems that there will be no smooth carpet of cloud for us this morning, still some high cloud, niggling bumps.

Though it is still dark outside, with about two hours to go the lights are gradually switched on and breakfast is served, with children getting their meals first. Alex barely eats anything, B has the congee. I again have the fruit platter, which comes along with a cherry danish. If you just feed me this kind of food on a flight then I am happy. Fresh, clean and sweet flavours.

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Brekky


First light arrives as we cross the Queensland coast north of Rockhampton. There isn't much to see, with cloud blanketing the land below. As the Sun rises the soft cloud below takes on a beautiful orange glow and you get a real sense of our speed as we fly past.

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Morning everyone!


Fortunately the cloud disappears and the skies become smooth as we begin our long slow descent over the Hunter region north of Sydney. White fog clings to the craggy valleys below while high cloud gives the sky a steely grey appearance. The sunlight shimmers off the wide waters of the Hawkesbury River and the coast.

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Brooklyn




Our approach into the airport will be from the south, so we fly across the expanse of Sydney, west of the CBD and make a turn across the Royal National Park and the sea before lining up with the main runway.

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Sydney Harbour and CBD
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International Terminal
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Main and third runways
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Bye bye Botany Bay. See you very soon!
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.


This is the approach at its most beautiful. How often have I watched this aircraft and others as dark silhouettes against the silver morning sky as they silently drift along, as if savouring their last moment of freedom. Now I am aboard one.

Our landing is smooth. As we taxi towards our gate the cabin manager thanks us for flying with Qantas and announces that this will be the last flight for one of the staff members as he is moving on to other things. The passengers break out in applause. It's a lovely way to end the flight.

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Looking down the coast
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Across the Kurnell Peninsula
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Landed!
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You may be bigger, but we're a better looker!
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...and stop!
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We have no business here
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But we wish we did!


Immigration is surprisingly fast, but it takes forever for our bags to come out. In the meantime a flight or two from mainland China has arrived and some of them don't know how to behave in the long quarantine queues. In some ways their presence is fortunate, as it means that we are waved through the quarantine inspection, saving us from having to open our bags.

As we line up for a taxi B helps another family push one of their children's stroller while they struggle with their bags. Then we are on our way home in 27 degree weather.

Did I want to hop on the next flight leaving Sydney? Not quite. Maybe I'm getting old, but it did feel like a long time in the air. But I did notice myself looking longingly at the flights thereafter.

As befitting of an airline with 80 years international experience Qantas did a sterling job. I'm always happy to fly with them. These flights will soon be moving to Tokyo Haneda airport, which would be a new destination for me, though I would miss those Narita Express rides direct to Shinjuku.

The nice thing about an overnight flight is that Alex sleeps through most of it, although he's still surprisingly happy during the day. However, I can't help but prefer the daylight flights with something to see out of the window. I was pretty impressed with how the 787-8 handles turbulence, so I look forward to trying it out with Jetstar to Japan. Plus, flying via Melbourne you can get a partially daylight flight on the return as well (though that's currently still an A330).

Either way, I can't wait to return to Japan. Thanks for reading.
 
rta
Posts: 1431
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:01 am

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:41 am

I enjoyed reading your report! QF's 744s seem very nice and fresh. and Japan looks very cool... can't wait to go there someday.
 
celestar
Posts: 540
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2001 11:37 am

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:54 am

What a wonderful TR you had posted.
Really enjoyed the wordings plus the photo.
That Spring Airlines is actually a LCC from China. I think it belongs to a big travel agency in China who happen to have a license to operate an airline out of Shanghai (I think!)
Hope that helps.
 
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allrite
Topic Author
Posts: 2617
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:53 am

Quoting rta (Reply 3):
I enjoyed reading your report! QF's 744s seem very nice and fresh.

The 744's have had an interior refresh with the A380 style seats added. These are the newer 747s in the Qantas fleet.

Quoting celestar (Reply 4):
That Spring Airlines is actually a LCC from China. I think it belongs to a big travel agency in China who happen to have a license to operate an airline out of Shanghai (I think!)
According to Wikipedia Spring Airlines Japan are 33% owned by Spring Airlines China, which I've seen before, and began operations relatively recently in August last year. They seem to be targeting Chinese visitors and operate out of the new Terminal 3 at Narita.

Love the Google translation of their website:

Quote:
And to take full advantage of the flying route network of Spring Airlines crotch worth Co., Ltd., business, by providing cheap fares with the aim of development of the life line not tourist only, that we aim to to stimulate and improve the convenience of the user of the new demand in will continue to contribute to the revitalization of the local economy.

A crotch worthy company indeed.  
 
caleb1
Posts: 557
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:51 am

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:42 am

Something about the meals on Qantas looks, um...incomplete.
 
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allrite
Topic Author
Posts: 2617
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:54 am

Quoting caleb1 (Reply 6):
Something about the meals on Qantas looks, um...incomplete.

I think it's the lack of a tray. Also, there's no salad. I admit that I put no effort into styling the food, but I thought the meals themselves were very good.
 
YYZatcboy
Posts: 1201
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2005 2:15 am

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:30 am

Great TR.

Do you have any must see trains in Japan if an amateur rail enthusiast were going to visit?
 
VapourTrails
Posts: 3939
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2001 9:30 pm

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:57 am

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
B insisted on the window seat and I was banished to the aisle, with Alex in the middle. She did let me setup my action camera at the window.

  I love your turn of phrase, and I am glad you got the camera shots still! I love your photos, and especially that animated GIF one.   

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
This is the approach at its most beautiful. How often have I watched this aircraft and others as dark silhouettes against the silver morning sky as they silently drift along, as if savouring their last moment of freedom. Now I am aboard one.

  

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Did I want to hop on the next flight leaving Sydney? Not quite. Maybe I'm getting old, but it did feel like a long time in the air. But I did notice myself looking longingly at the flights thereafter.

I know the feeling.   



Thank you for a great trip report all round.

=
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1868
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:07 am

Am I correct that you speak Japanese.

It seems a difficult place to visit if one does not speak or read the language.

When I went 30 years ago all the signs were obviously in Japanese. And I don't think that many people speak English.
 
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allrite
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Posts: 2617
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:15 am

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 8):
Do you have any must see trains in Japan if an amateur rail enthusiast were going to visit?

Japan is rail enthusiast heaven. The question is, must see or must catch? Are you going for trainspotting or train riding and do you like fast and super modern or slow and local?

A Japan Rail Pass makes catching lots of train easy. But there are some interesting private lines not covered by it too.

The most remarkable train from an appearance nature is undoubtedly the Nankai Rapi:t (non-JR) between KIX and Osaka.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-xfAPkkclLqo/UlBEj5btV4I/AAAAAAADHLY/rmgLQHaPWi8/w1235-h821-no/DSC05805.JPG
Front

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-QEPndxqckQE/UlBEaTIb0cI/AAAAAAADm_Y/pzdseO6a_A4/w1235-h821-no/DSC05797.JPG
Interior

There are the many Shinkansens too, my favourite from the outside being the Series 500 that can now only be found doing shuttle services on the Sanyo line.

My favourite, as mentioned in the TR, is the KiHa 120, a railbus that can be found on a number of southern lines. I love standing up the front and going through local areas.

From a scenic perspective the Takayama Main Line (also above) is hard to beat. You can travel it in comfort on a Wide View Hida service, or using the local diesels, including the KiHa 120 to Toyama. Or do all, like we did.

For something different (but not so accessible for non-Japanese speakers), the Oigawa Line, which can include a steam train and an abt-rack ride.

There are so many scenic rides in Japan. Have a look at my blog for descriptions of mine. In particular:

* To Bingo-Ochiai and the Okuizumo Orochi tourist train
* Catching the Shinjo Shinkansen and the Akita Nairiku Jukan Line to Hirosaki
* The Gono Line
* Around Shikoku and the Sanin Line
* The Nagaragawa Railway

There are many shorter day trips possible too and all I need to do is look at a map of Japan to find more railways I want to catch that are undoubtedly beautiful (eg the Kominato and Choshi lines).

There are also a number of railway museums that I would love to visit if the wife would let me! Here's a small but interesting one at Takasaki.

Feel free to PM me if you have questions.

[Edited 2015-04-27 23:21:15]
 
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allrite
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:20 am

Quoting VapourTrails (Reply 9):
I love your turn of phrase, and I am glad you got the camera shots still! I love your photos, and especially that animated GIF one.

Thanks. That's Google+'s auto animation.  
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 10):
Am I correct that you speak Japanese.

It seems a difficult place to visit if one does not speak or read the language.

When I went 30 years ago all the signs were obviously in Japanese. And I don't think that many people speak English.

I speak some basic Japanese, but generally speaking it's fairly easy to get by as a tourist if you don't, especially in the more developed or popular areas. There is lots of English signage now and I've found a lot of Japanese have enough basic English skills when you require assistance. They learn it at school, though they are frequently not confident, a bit of patience is enough. In major cities there is often a fairly fluent person at shops and main stations. Once you get the hang of how things work then you can usually get by even in rural areas.

[Edited 2015-04-27 23:22:14]

[Edited 2015-04-27 23:27:31]
 
YYZatcboy
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:31 am

Quoting allrite (Reply 11):
The question is, must see or must catch?

For sure must ride. When I came to Australia I could have used my NRSA, but instead went SYD-MEL-ADL by train, and only flew for the ADL-SYD leg on the return. I find you really see a country more by rail than you do by air. Plus it's a good time to listen to audiobooks. If I head over to Japan I'll be sure to send you a PM.

Cheers
Joe
 
palmjet
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:55 am

Allrite - great report and pics. Really enjoyed this. Nice to see another QF744 report as well. Thanks
 
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:30 am

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 13):
When I came to Australia I could have used my NRSA, but instead went SYD-MEL-ADL by train, and only flew for the ADL-SYD leg on the return.

I don't know what NRSA stands for, but I've done both legs by train. Bit different now as both can be daylight trip. The Overland MEL-ADL was my first ever long distance train.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 14):
Allrite - great report and pics.

Thanks! I was just thinking about you today, even checked your profile. Where've you been? I miss your trip reports and have lost my enthusiasm for turboprops as a consequence!
 
MIAspotter
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:17 am

Allrite, a great report with wonderful pictures and a nicely written story, I enjoyed every minute of it.

I can see why you love Japan so much, it is a really nice place, and you sure go out of the beaten path to visit quaint places, well done! I hope to visit one day  

Those new Shinkansen look very sick!

Qantas seems to have delivered a no-nonsense service, they got you there and back without much fuss.

Everytime I look at the QF 744s I can´t help to go back to a time when they were the flagship of so many reputable airlines, (QF, CX, SQ, TG, AN) and when you saw one, you knew it had the latest bells and whistles.

Once again thanks for the report  

MIAspotter.
 
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:49 am

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 16):
Qantas seems to have delivered a no-nonsense service, they got you there and back without much fuss.

I think they went beyond no-nonsense, especially on the way back. The crew were cheerful and I noticed them helping out other passengers. It was more a matter of us being low fuss and undemanding. Being a night flight most people were asleep or keeping to themselves. During the day I imagine that they would have interacted with Alex, for instance.

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 16):
Everytime I look at the QF 744s I can´t help to go back to a time when they were the flagship of so many reputable airlines, (QF, CX, SQ, TG, AN) and when you saw one, you knew it had the latest bells and whistles.

I love the 747, though the more modern interiors of Qantas' remaining fleet evokes fewer fond memories. They didn't always have the latest features though, especially entertainment wise.

My first three international trips were all 747 (except for a couple of BA A319s LHR-CDG) and they went:

SQ: Projectors
MH: Individual seatback screens
QF: Projectors again
...

Fast forward to 2011 and the MH 744 still seemed to be using the same terrible screens, just hooked up to an AVOD service.
 
gabrielchew
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:48 pm

Excellent report Andrew, thanks for posting! Again, your trip has whetted my appetite for Japan, and i;m looking forward even more for my trip there in September.

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
The meal was served on the new small trays with no salad.

I'm very anti these new meals. It's a major reduction in food, and I think the "trayless" concept is ridiculous in economy. Make more work for the crew handing over more items, plus makes things much messier as there is nothing to catch the drops, and nowhere to store rubbish. Big thumbs down from me for that

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Spring Airlines Japan, a new LCC?

interesting, never heard of them before.

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Gero Onsen. Gero is a homonym for vomit in Japanese

I was in Gero last autumn and had a lovely times. The weather was much better, and there are some fantastic onsen there. I'd reccommend staying next time!

Gero Onsen:

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/20141120_095346.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/DSCF2715.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/DSCF2697.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/20141119_123640.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/DSCF2668.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/DSCF2658.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/DSCF2647.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/DSCF2628.jpg
 
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:31 pm

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 18):
Make more work for the crew handing over more items, plus makes things much messier as there is nothing to catch the drops, and nowhere to store rubbish. Big thumbs down from me for that

I mostly agree with you, although it does seem easier to hand stuff across to people (like me) at the window seats as there is no big tray to manoeuvre around the other passengers. Plus, once you've finished and are waiting for the food to be collected there is more space left on the tray table.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 18):
I was in Gero last autumn and had a lovely times. The weather was much better, and there are some fantastic onsen there. I'd reccommend staying next time!

Great photos! We've passed through Gero a few times without stopping, though we've been to other onsen towns such as Kinosaki. Love Japanese onsens, footbaths and Hida beef.

Forgot to add food photos, so here's a few:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-KKPlrEg-2JM/VS0I_6sgtOI/AAAAAAAEZaU/d1O4COQh9bA/w1211-h805-no/DSC03726.JPG
Hoba miso with Hida beef

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-cSjqFkvdd5w/VSveR0izQiI/AAAAAAAEZJU/oXcAotNXS0g/w1211-h805-no/DSC03667.JPG
Hida beef and vegetables for grilling

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-aya-tnOyKyA/VS0JG0-OXgI/AAAAAAAEZbk/L49jnjWEsGI/w1211-h805-no/DSC03736.JPG
Tempura

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Jc4USo4CwtU/VSkv_m7FgII/AAAAAAAEXdc/nbR39317x5I/w1211-h805-no/DSC03055.JPG
Yakisoba

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-k-iqQzAahIE/VS7hDxAJqPI/AAAAAAAEbvs/Or0YyEZfm_E/w1431-h805-no/DSC_1416.JPG
Shabu-shabu

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-wPvsygaLLcU/VS6BC31N4wI/AAAAAAAEbUg/d_BuctXyv30/w1211-h805-no/DSC04489.JPG
O-bento from Toyama Station

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-8S6Pwj-nHWk/VS6BEq1-gWI/AAAAAAAEbU4/1_jyCr548Dg/w1211-h805-no/DSC04492.JPG
Another o-bento from Toyama

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/--H_Wt3J-Jnc/VS_TXAUUGQI/AAAAAAAEcZs/03W3jN14XQs/w1211-h805-no/DSC04897.JPG
Udon
 
YYZatcboy
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:46 pm

Quoting allrite (Reply 15):
I don't know what NRSA stands for, but I've done both legs by train

NRSA = Non Rev StAndby AKA airline employee standby travel. I loved them. One day you should come to Canada and do the train from YVR-YYZ. Excellent trip.
 
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:19 am

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 20):
NRSA = Non Rev StAndby AKA airline employee standby travel.

Thanks!

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 20):
One day you should come to Canada and do the train from YVR-YYZ. Excellent trip.

I hope to do so one day.
 
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:22 am

 
ZKSUJ
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:44 am

Great report. I love the 744 and it's great to see a few are still in great shape inside. Looks like an awesome time in Japan
 
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:22 pm

Fantastic report on one of my favorite aircrafts of all time. Love seeing those beautiful pictures of the 747 and her wings. Nice pics from Japan too, looks like another country I'll have to add to my list of places to see!
 
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allrite
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Sat May 02, 2015 12:43 pm

Quoting ZKSUJ (Reply 23):
I love the 744 and it's great to see a few are still in great shape inside. Looks like an awesome time in Japan
Quoting ams747757 (Reply 24):
Love seeing those beautiful pictures of the 747 and her wings. Nice pics from Japan too, looks like another country I'll have to add to my list of places to see!

Thank you! I will be so sad when the last 747 leaves the Qantas fleet. I'm lucky they fly to my favourite destination! Japan is definitely a must see.
 
pokfur
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Sat May 02, 2015 4:22 pm

Hey allrite!

Lovely TR on your trip to Japan. You really really love Japan don't you?    At least I've a good reason for all my European trips! Hehe!

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
I like independence, simplicity, peacefulness, solitude and beauty.

Oops and you're married... with a son...?   

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Going airside was quite a shock. Despite passing through there a month ago it had greatly changed. Hoardings were up alongside the former duty free maze and the central ellipse had been replaced by open sided boxes of Heinemann, the new duty free operator, stalls. I hope that it's only temporary.

Wow you're right. This is Sydney?? Looks completely different from my time there in June last year..

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
The meal was served on the new small trays with no salad.

So I read that apparently QF cut from 3 to 2 courses, but supposedly made the main course larger? Was it really the case?

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Flying over high cloud

That's a beautiful photo!

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Am I becoming like so many other travellers, for whom the flight is the inconvenient part of the trip instead of one of the most memorable?

   This thought did cross my mind recently too though, especially when I was on yet another 13-hour long LHR-SIN flight.. However, having not flown for nearly 2 months now, the buzz is back and I'm looking forward to my flight on Friday!!    Perhaps you should consider taking a longer break between your flights!   

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
But the pilots held it well and it was a nice touchdown into Japan

I love how the 747 wing kinda just opens up and you can see right through it to the ground!

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
As noted on our last trip, the automated shuttle train to the satellite gates of Terminal 2 is gone and replaced by a moving walkway and footpath, which I think works much better. It certainly looks impressive.

Wow the way you took that picture made it look like some artist's rendering!

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
My stomach, as always, was knotted and I didn't feel like eating.

Aiyo! I'm sorry if you have shared it before, but is there a particular reason why turbulence affects you so much?   

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
You may be bigger, but we're a better looker!

Agreed! I wish SQ still flew it's 747s like QF and BA do...  

Thanks for this nice read Allrite! It's been more than a decade since I was last on a QF aircraft. If only they hadn't stopped the kangaroo route via SIN and the joint venture with BA, otherwise I'd definitely have a go on them since I've been flying BA so much lately. The 747 especially still looks to be in very good condition, and the service and food on board looks decent. Would like to hear your thoughts on the new meal in Y though!


pokfur
 
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Sun May 03, 2015 12:09 pm

Quoting pokfur (Reply 26):
Lovely TR on your trip to Japan.

Thank you!

Quoting pokfur (Reply 26):
At least I've a good reason for all my European trips!

I travel to Japan so frequently for work purposes. As in my purpose is to take a holiday from work.  
Quoting pokfur (Reply 26):
Oops and you're married... with a son...?

Well, I've got the beauty part. 
Quoting pokfur (Reply 26):
However, having not flown for nearly 2 months now, the buzz is back and I'm looking forward to my flight on Friday!!    Perhaps you should consider taking a longer break between your flights!   

Hehehe, not counting a couple of short domestics it was over 6 months between flights for me! I think what might help is flying on better airlines (like Qantas) and not AirAsiaX. At least you get a few business class flights. Alex says he's saving up his FF points and his pocket money so we can fly business too. 
Quoting pokfur (Reply 26):
Wow the way you took that picture made it look like some artist's rendering!

I like the difference between the mobile phone and the proper camera for virtually the same shot. But we were all saying how impressive the walkway looks now.

Quoting pokfur (Reply 26):
Aiyo! I'm sorry if you have shared it before, but is there a particular reason why turbulence affects you so much?

I really hate low g's. They leave this horrible feeling in that part we don't talk about.   Alex was complaining about it too and that's why he is now (like me) refusing to go on rollercoasters. I'll never be an astronaut. So there's that. Much worse than that is the fear of fear... Will *this* be the time we experience "the big drop"?

It's even worse when Alex is around because I then feel that I need to protect him while stopping my camera and other items flying around and hitting someone (eg me) in the head.

And then vomiting all over everything afterwards...  
Quoting pokfur (Reply 26):
So I read that apparently QF cut from 3 to 2 courses, but supposedly made the main course larger? Was it really the case?
Quoting pokfur (Reply 26):
Would like to hear your thoughts on the new meal in Y though!

Looking back at the previous two years on this flight the supper meal was bread roll, salad, main, dessert, chocolate.

This one was bread roll, main, dessert. I kind of miss the salad as if was cold and "refreshing", but really just lettuce leaves and dressing so no big deal. Also, it was very easy to get oily dressing over your clothes. I guess the main was larger. In fact, I couldn't finish either main course there or back, although a lot of that is to do with the timing of the meals. If it were a day flight or around a regular meal time then I have no doubt that I would have finished them.

The menu says chocolate, but I didn't see it.

Here's the menu from the flight back:



I notice that their western meal options seems to be more of meat (or roast meat) and veg rather than the stew options they previously had. Both suppers I had seemed to have good flavours, but I did rather enjoy the stews of previous years (especially my Europe 2009 trip), to the extent that they have inspired some cooking at home. Would be interested in what they are serving on other routes now.

As mentioned in the post, I really really like the fruit salad for breakfast option. I would probably have chosen it for dinner too if I could have. My tastebuds really prefer sweet to savoury up in the air.
 
pokfur
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Mon May 04, 2015 1:30 am

Hello allrite!

Quoting allrite (Reply 27):
As in my purpose is to take a holiday from work.

LOL good one   

Quoting allrite (Reply 27):
Well, I've got the beauty part. 

It did occur to me to point that out but I decided to let you do it yourself    well done!

Quoting allrite (Reply 27):
Alex says he's saving up his FF points and his pocket money so we can fly business too.

 Wow! You've certainly trained your son well!!

Quoting allrite (Reply 27):
I really hate low g's. They leave this horrible feeling in that part we don't talk about.

I see.. So it wasn't, say, a particular incident that may have left you scarred before then? Turbulence does get to me sometimes, especially when it's really bad. But having a seat by the window helps a lot I think in helping your brain to make sense of things when you can see what's going on outside.

Quoting allrite (Reply 27):
As mentioned in the post, I really really like the fruit salad for breakfast option. I would probably have chosen it for dinner too if I could have. My tastebuds really prefer sweet to savoury up in the air.

Though on the other hand majority of people would balk at the idea of being offered just fruits for dinner   


pokfur
 
Carfield
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Mon May 04, 2015 8:27 am

Thanks for a great report! I always enjoy reading your reports especially those to Japan. I almost feel like that we are all watching your son Alex slowly growing up in front of our eyes.

It is also interesting to see how Qantas continues to evolve through the past decade.
The preorder system is cool, but I can't help to notice the food to getting smaller. The entree is supposed to be larger, but visually you can't help to notice the lack of side dishes especially compared to JL, NH, and SQ. The breakfast is really small with only a main dish and a pastry. The mid-flight snack selection is also getting smaller.

Spring Airlines Japan is interesting, but too bad you can't book at its website if you don't read Japanese.

Carfield
 
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Mon May 04, 2015 11:57 am

Quoting pokfur (Reply 28):
So it wasn't, say, a particular incident that may have left you scarred before then? Turbulence does get to me sometimes, especially when it's really bad. But having a seat by the window helps a lot I think in helping your brain to make sense of things when you can see what's going on outside.

Yep, windows make a huge difference! That's why I hate airlines that force you to shut them. Thankfully Qantas are very good in this regard. I just read a report on Air China... uggh.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 29):
The preorder system is cool, but I can't help to notice the food to getting smaller. The entree is supposed to be larger, but visually you can't help to notice the lack of side dishes especially compared to JL, NH, and SQ. The breakfast is really small with only a main dish and a pastry. The mid-flight snack selection is also getting smaller.

I disagree that the food is getting smaller in economy. The difference is now there is no entree, (which was just some lettuce leaves anyway), but then the main (and maybe the dessert too) is, I think, larger than before. It doesn't look that way due to the lack of a large tray. I forgot to mention that yoghurt was offered with the western and fruit breakfast both ways, but I don't eat it. Comparing with previous years, maybe a small side of fruit salad with the breakfast has been removed, replaced by the big fruit salad option. But you still get a very nice sweet bun or muffin. I reckon it was ample.

Can't say about snacks - I think they reduce the offerings on the Japan flights as most people are sleeping.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 29):
Spring Airlines Japan is interesting, but too bad you can't book at its website if you don't read Japanese.

You can book Spring Airline flights between China and Japan in English though. I think the target market really is Chinese tourists - there are enough other LCC options within Japan now.
 
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lesfalls
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Mon May 04, 2015 9:09 pm

Great TR   . How long was the flight?
 
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Mon May 04, 2015 11:01 pm

Quoting lesfalls (Reply 31):
Great TR   . How long was the flight?

Thanks! It was roughly 10 hours.
 
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Ytraveller
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue May 05, 2015 1:45 am

Hi allrite,

Beautiful report and loved all the pictures. I never realized there was so much to Japan, it looks like an interesting place to visit.

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Most of us probably have a favourite holiday location they regularly return to. Maybe it's the house of your grandparents or a caravan park near the beach. Mine is Japan. I've lost count of the number of times I've been back since our first visit in 2003. I've been to many other countries since, but there is something that always draws me back.

I have the same feelings, just for India. I love to sit in the front seat of the car and just observe everything, it's so much more lively than back home.

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Finally I gained the confidence to tear my eyes away from the window and switched on the movie Interstellar, which I had wanted to watch but missed at the cinema, with the hope that it would make this ten hour flight pass faster. Almost three hours of entertainment certainly did help, but the flight felt long and I felt doubts about my commitment to aviation.

I watched it in the theater and a second time on a plane. I think it's great albeit a bit confusing at first; what did you think?

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Animated GIF

Great idea!

Thanks for sharing,
- Ytraveller  
 
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allrite
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue May 05, 2015 5:01 am

Quoting ytraveller (Reply 33):
I never realized there was so much to Japan, it looks like an interesting place to visit.

I think I've been there 17 times or so and I still have a long list of places to see, things to do and to see and do again.

Quoting ytraveller (Reply 33):
I have the same feelings, just for India. I love to sit in the front seat of the car and just observe everything, it's so much more lively than back home.

Looking out the window is so much fun (although I then remembered being a passenger in China and looking on in fear as our driver attempted to overtake two or three side by side trucks on a two lane road.).  
Quoting ytraveller (Reply 33):
I watched it in the theater and a second time on a plane. I think it's great albeit a bit confusing at first; what did you think?

I think I preferred Inception (yes, I did understand it the first time I watched it - it's regression). Some of the scientific compromises were a bit difficult and went against what is usually observed around black holes, plus the science of the blight seemed a bit dodgy. Without access to the Internet on board I couldn't check and that was rather frustrating. But I'm a sucker for disaster and scifi so I did enjoy it.
 
nelsony
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue May 05, 2015 6:30 am

Hay Allrite,

I have read through a number of TRs and they are always wonderful, its like a visitors guide, not just an ordinary trip report of the airport, flight etc.

Btw did you use the Sakura lounge in NRT? or was it Qantas?

Anyway looking at your pictures and comments about business class, I want to offer you my travel hacking skills to help get you guys on those seats in the near future.
 
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allrite
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue May 05, 2015 11:35 am

Quoting nelsony (Reply 35):
I have read through a number of TRs and they are always wonderful, its like a visitors guide, not just an ordinary trip report of the airport, flight etc.

Thank you! I'm afraid I'm not a very good spotter, I prefer the adventure of the whole thing.

Quoting nelsony (Reply 35):
Btw did you use the Sakura lounge in NRT? or was it Qantas?

Qantas lounge. I'm not sure of eligibility for other lounges, especially with family members. I'm only a silver QFF and a Qantas Club member, the other two are just bronze.

Quoting nelsony (Reply 35):
Anyway looking at your pictures and comments about business class, I want to offer you my travel hacking skills to help get you guys on those seats in the near future.

I'm intrigued! We did Qantas business once to Shanghai with points, when Alex was virtually free (lap) and we've done Jetstar "business" a few times. Lately I've been doing Jetstar Business Max to Japan once a year on a status run (a "I want to catch lots of trains around Japan without boring the others" run). Other than that we are generally cheapskates.  
 
nelsony
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:21 am

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Tue May 05, 2015 12:49 pm

Hi Allrite,

Quoting allrite (Reply 36):

Qantas lounge. I'm not sure of eligibility for other lounges, especially with family members. I'm only a silver QFF and a Qantas Club member, the other two are just bronze.

Ahh i see that makes sense, i thought you were QF gold, which i why i thought it was odd you didnt use the sakura lounge, since that comes with free 15 minutes massage. food appears to ordinary though in sakura lounge too though.

Quoting allrite (Reply 36):
I'm intrigued! We did Qantas business once to Shanghai with points, when Alex was virtually free (lap) and we've done Jetstar "business" a few times. Lately I've been doing Jetstar Business Max to Japan once a year on a status run (a "I want to catch lots of trains around Japan without boring the others" run). Other than that we are generally cheapskates.

hahaha im cheap too, but with travel hacking i am able to do all that stuff for a fraction of the cost. if you want to do status run, watch out for promos on double status with QF. i havent done one in awhile, but usually within 2-3 flights, you qualify as gold.

send me a message if you are interested in travel hacking. ill tell you more about it. its how i manage to fly in J all the time.
 
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allrite
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RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Wed May 06, 2015 12:59 am

Quoting nelsony (Reply 37):
Ahh i see that makes sense, i thought you were QF gold, which i why i thought it was odd you didnt use the sakura lounge, since that comes with free 15 minutes massage. food appears to ordinary though in sakura lounge too though.

Two benefits of the QF lounge (and I'm not clear on facilities of the Sakura lounge based on their web information) are that it's located right next to the gate used by QF and they have showers. Wonder what happens when QF start flying to Narita, - I guess the BNE flights will still use it. Now that JQ have moved to Terminal 3 it's no good for them either.

Quoting nelsony (Reply 37):
send me a message if you are interested in travel hacking. ill tell you more about it. its how i manage to fly in J all the time.

Thanks! I've sent you message.
 
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RyanairGuru
Posts: 9258
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:59 am

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Sat May 09, 2015 8:56 am

Allrite, as ever a truly wonderful report. I know I can't say it enough, but your series of trip reports truly are the best part of Anet for me. I will be sure to read your destination blog in due course, as I always do!

Quoting allrite (Reply 19):
Forgot to add food photos

Tut Tut, how could you!  
Quoting pokfur (Reply 26):
Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
I like independence, simplicity, peacefulness, solitude and beauty.

Oops and you're married... with a son...?

My computer didn't take kindly to the glass of wine it was just introduced to  
 
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allrite
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Posts: 2617
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

RE: Feels Like Home: Qantas SYD-NRT Return

Sat May 09, 2015 2:15 pm

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 39):
Allrite, as ever a truly wonderful report.

Thanks as always!

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 39):
Tut Tut, how could you!

I've decided that if I ever take up cannibalism that foodies will be the first on my list, on account of their flesh hopefully tasting the best due to their selective diet of only the best foods.

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