I don’t think that I was quite with it when leaving Melbourne. I was flying at 1550 and had a good nights sleep so I had no real excuses for being a bit dopey. I thought that there happened to be a lot of people called ‘Mel’ working at the airport judging by their name tags . . .
There was a bit of a kerfuffle when trying to check in as Air New Zealand managed to somehow mess things up so that Singapore Airlines couldn’t actually find me. Eventually everything was sorted out and I had my exit seat on the flight to Singapore. Unfortunately it was next to a guy who must have been about 25 stone in weight so I didn’t have all that much room after all.
After wasting a couple of hours at Singapore airport (eating, drinking and laughing at a crashed Windows-based display screen) I boarded the connecting flight to Tokyo and was a little surprised to find myself on an Airbus A380. I’m not really a plane spotter but this thing is simply awesome in it’s hugeness (or huge in it’s awesomeness, take your pick). Take off and landing were amazingly smooth – it’s a shame that the rest of the flight was spoiled by turbulence. Inflight entertainment1 and seatback screens were great and had USB and CAT5 ports and even a coaxial jack. The seats were a good deal wider than any other plane and I thought that there was even enough leg room until the girl in front of me reclined her seat and crushed my kneecaps about 30 minutes after I finally fell asleep. Yes, the mix up when checking in at Melbourne had resulted in me not getting my beloved exit seat on this flight. I think I just about managed to contain my rage – I was way too tired.
The best thing about this flight however was not being treated like a suspected terrorist. We actually got metal cutlery. Even a proper knife! I was almost speechless. On the flight from Melbourne to Singapore we had metal cutlery too but unbelievably had to make do with a plastic knife. The whole idea of foiling an attack this way is ludicrous. A pencil will make an adequate weapon for goodness sake and nobody has said anything about me taking my keys in my carry on luggage.
We landed at Narita just before 0800 and it was already 24° Celcius. Once off the plane there was a crush of people trying to take pictures of it. I’m always somewhat wary of taking pictures in an airport myself so I just made tracks to immigration, baggage reclaim, customs and the ATM before sweating my way to the air conditioned relief of the train.
I’m staying in Asakusa, at the center of shitamachi which isn’t as bad as it sounds and is actually the historical area of Tokyo. An early night tonight I think and then checking out some of the recommendations of the friendly train passengers who started chatting to me and maybe also doing some exploring of my own.
1 Named “KrisWorld” apparently, which is based on Red Hat Linux. There was a glitch that caused a reboot just after landing for some reason which confused the Bejeebus out of the kid next to me.