Off To Japan

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Tuesday, September 6, 2005

After a fairly sleepness night, I awoke at 7am to make my way to Heathrow Airport for my 1pm flight to Tokyo Narita Airport in Japan. I had said my goodbyes to my friends the day before and i`ll try to send you all postcards as I go.

At the airport I settled down for a coffee with my parents and waited for Dave (a mate from Uni and travel companion for this trip) to arrive. Had another quick coffee before saying our goodbyes and heading off to the departure lounge.

Check-in was relatively painless, although the metal detector went off and so I was frisked. Terminal 3 at Heathrow was a bit crap. We walked all the way round the shops twice looking for a newsagents and finally found the only one. As a result there was a queue of about 50 in front of me before I could buy a newspaper and bottle of water!!

The plane itself was a Virgin Airlines Airbus A340-600. It looked tiny and I had no idea how such a small plane would be able to make a 12 hour non stop flight! The plane was pretty empty as I had expected so we could move around and sit where we wanted but we decided to stay in our designated seats directly over the wing.

As I hadn`t flown in 4 years I had forgotten the joys of economy class! There was virtually no legroom at all so frequent toilet breaks were used as an excuse to stretch my legs.

The flight itself was great. Hardly any turbulance during the whole flight, even when the wind speed was up to 150 knots between Russia and Japan! The on-board entertainment was also brilliant and far better than I could ever have expected. 40 on demand movies, entire series of british comedys such as The Office and Alan Partridge kept me entertained for hours. There was also a map showing where you are in the world and how long was left.

The 12 hours went relatively quickly. The lights went off after about 3 hours and all the window blinds were shut. Most people on board went to sleep but seeing as it was 4pm UK time I couldn`t and only got about 10 minutes sleep in the whole 12 hours.

Food consisted of lunch and breakfast. For lunch I chose a traditional Japanese Bento box. This was a neatly packaged box and contained loads of little dishes for which I have no idea what they were! All I know is that it taste good so I wasn`t compaining. Breakfast was a full English with bacon, sausage, mushrooms and very runny scrambled egg. There was also a bowl of cornflakes that I managed to ruin by putting salt on it instead of sugar!

Even though we left 30 minutes late we still arrived 45 minutes early at a very overcast Narita. When we were landing I could believe how thick the cloud was. It started at 30,000 feet and didn`t clear until 200 feet above the runway! Either way we were now in Japan, and it was raining!
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