So I’m now at Day 4 of my Japan trip and I have updated on the side some posts about eating poisonous puffer fish, McD’s McGriddles breakfast, Kobe beef in Kobe Osaka and the best sushi I had in Sushi Dai, Tokyo. I’m slowly but surely finishing up my Japan Travelogue! 🙂
Today, I’m taking a step back and I’m going to share with you how I got to Japan; how I got my flight tickets and how the whole Japan adventure began!
Well I flew Air Asia of course. For those of you who saw my FB or Twitter – yes, I utilized the very same tickets Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandez kindly gave me. :DD
It was a shocking (albeit in a good way) incident and I was in disbelief for the rest of the evening. I remember nearly felling off my chair in incredulity as I read the Tony’s reply and as all the other congratulatory tweets came in from twittersphere (both from the people I know and I’ve never “met” before), it finally sank in, OMG I’M GOING TO JAPAN! :DD
The next day I got in touch with the AA team to “redeem” my flight.
The usual visa application applies and I’m grateful to the Air Asia Communications team for their assistance. Since I didn’t have an itinerary planned (I blame work load and procrastination), I packed and went to the airport clueless besides knowing the weather (very important for someone who can’t stand the cold), my dates of departure from KL to Tokyo and departure from Osaka to KL.
I didn’t bother with the JRail pass either as it was RM1,200 (thereabouts) for 7 days and since I was going to be in Japan for 12 days it would have cost me a lot more than RM1,200. Since I didn’t have an itinerary I wasn’t sure if I was going to utilize the JRail pass to its worth.
Since hotels in Japan are ridiculously expensive, I decided to go for hostels. But more on that later. Let me tell you about my flight first! 🙂
On the departure day I headed to LCCT via the bus. I usually pay RM14 – 2 ways but on that day, there was a change in the fare. Only RM10 one way ticket was sold and the ticket guy insisted that this was the only option and bus available. I was surprised but didn’t have any other choice but to pay for my RM10 – one way ticket.
I did my online check-in prior to the day of the flight so dropping off my luggage was a breeze. Though my flight is 4.35 pm there were barely any queue when I dropped my luggage off at 1.30 pm.
But at the departure gate I could see that the flight was full!
I was upgraded to Air Asia Premium Flatbeds which is available on all AirAsia X flights. One of the privileges of having a premium seat is Priority Boarding so I was on of the few first on the plane!
This is my first time flying “business class” on Air Asia so I was amazed with everything I saw. The additional space in front was god-sent as I’m the type who could only have a restful sleep if I’m fully stretched out.
It was a flight to Japan so there were Japanese on the flight. They were pretty amused with me taking pictures of everything around me. One of them even volunteered to take a shot of me !
A total of 12 seats makes up the AAX Premium Flatbed section.
The premium class has 2 rows with 6 seats in each row divided into 2 x 2 x 2 formation. In my opinion for a flight that’s more than 5 hours taking up an Air Asia Premium Flatbed is wise as it makes sense to fly more comfortably and arrive at your destination fresh and alert to start your holiday!
Since I was the first few to board I had the opportunity to take pictures before my fellow premium seat passengers took their seats. I poked around at the controls and realized that I could control the amount of the reclined degree of my seat. Just hold on to the buttons as the seat reclines and stop when it reached the ideal angle for you.
Likewise, you can adjust the back and leg part simultaneously or just each one of them each time.
Or here’s another more simplified control.
Take a look at how is it like fully stretched out! 🙂
I find the bed/seat large and cushy. What do you guys think? It was more than roomy enough for me since I’m petite.
For my 6 and a half hours flight, I slept like a baby, only waking up to eat before continuing my slumber! 😛
Other than 25 kg of luggage and Priority Boarding, the Premium Flatbed comes with complimentary water, pillows, thick comforter type of blankets and meals.
Below: Pillows and blankets behind your seat.
My Japanese meal to kickoff the start of my Japan trip. 🙂
Improvement required taste-wise. -_-
Other than your Visa, you will have to fill in an Embarkation Card as well as a Customs Declaration form; all provided on the flight. Don’t lose any of these. Anyhow, it will be stapled to your passport at immigration.
There’s plenty of space in the luggage compartment since we were not sharing it with the rest of the passengers in economy.
The regular controls above my head.
I like the roomy, flat handrest.
At the side, pull out your dining tray which doubles up as your work table if required.
Speaking of “work”, no more worrying about low power for the tech-savvy as each seat comes with your very own electrical points.
Personal reading lights with adjustable cable.
Firm yet comfortable head rest.
While everyone else jostle their way in, the Premium Flatbed/Business Class cabin passengers are already settled down, magazine in hand and because the premium seats area is a small separated section, the environment is subdued and relaxed. 🙂
I looked back at the regular seats area and felt like a Queen. 😛
A smooth and relaxed 6 and a half hours flight later, I’m in Japan!
BELOW: My first sight of Japan. The airport! LOL.
Premium seats passengers gets to alight first of course. However everyone had to take the shuttle to the nearest terminal so we ended up arriving at the immigration at the same time.
To those who may be interested, here’s the sequence of events after landing. I can tell you it’s pretty strict.
Even though I’m generally directional- challenged, Haneda Airport is easy to navigate. Helpful signage are everywhere, not to mention very courteous and English speaking Japanese airport officer too.
As strict as the Japan immigration was, I have to salute them for efficiency. I was advised by many of my friends to not risk it and stay at the airport since my arrival time is 10.30pm. The last train to depart from the airport is 12 am and if my flight was delayed or if the immigration was slow, my hotel room booked for the night would have been wasted.
But upon touchdown at the landing strip, we were ushered to the waiting shuttle and the shuttle moved once it was full. Customs check was swift, followed by immigration which took sometime and the next thing I know, I got my luggage and I’m out at the arrival hall. From landing at 10.23pm (yes we were early), we were cleared and good to go by 22:39pm.
BELOW: See the time?
There were more than enough time to take the train to the city. But like I said earlier, it was hard to foresee what could have happened so I didn’t have accommodation booked for the night. So I stuck to my plan of staying in the airport til 5am.
Since I slept so well on the flight and I was so excited to have landed in Japan, I went touring the airport. But first, Softbank!
The information booth was very helpful and I got all my questions answered – trains to Asakusa (they checked my hostel address so they could advised me the correct subway), where to freshen up, where to head to for which train, a train map and of course, where Softbank’s shop is so I can get my data plan activated.
The superb subway map. If anyone here is heading to Japan soon and needs PDF copy, drop me a comment here alright? 🙂
I can tell you it’s so much easier to find your bearings here than Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. But I’m just saying really, as that won’t be a fair comparison since Paris CDG is much busier than Haneda.
Get your tickets here.
Softbank shop is on the 3rd floor, a floor up from my arrival hall which is on the 2nd floor.
For a detailed article on how to go about getting a data plan/phone plan for foreigners with Softbank, do refer –> HERE .
Moving on, I looked for the ladies to freshen up.
Here’s my first experience with the famous Japanese toilet bowls. Luckily a friend of mine posted on my FB a video of how to use the toilets in Japan so I wasn’t at a total loss!
If you think this “high-tech” toilet seat is only available at high-end hotels and airports, you’re not quite right. Even my budget hostels uses these.
Here’s the instructions. This was only available at the airport though. But it shouldn’t be that hard to figure since the controls on the side of the toilet bowl comes with pictorials instructions. At any rate, you would just risk a pair of wet undies. 😛
That done, the next important thing is where to stay comfortable as I have hours to kill.
Nice! Haneda airport has these “cubicles” complete with a powerpoint and free wifi.
Japan’s electrical point – similar to the ones in Europe (I’m not sure about the voltage. I’m just saying from the looks of it) which is 2 thin pins.
You can find these “workstations” at a few areas within the airport. For me, I scooted around til I found one that’s close to both the toilet and a convenience store, which is on the 1st floor.
This was my first time seeing Lawson and I learned over the period of my Japan trip that Lawsons are like our 7-11. In fact I saw more Lawsons than 7-11 throughout my entire trip!
And just like in Thailand, the convenience stores here stocks almost everything under the sun in their tiny real estate.
I browsed around but my attention was more on the food of course!
It was 12 am and the food section was fully stocked.
These were piping hot and smelled delicious!
And another thing that I observed from my Japan trip? A lot of the packaging of the food listed out the calories.
I grabbed a noodle cup and went to the hot water station available for self-service.
And each time you buy something, a wet towel and appropriate cutlery are given free-of-charge. Chopsticks for noodles, forks and spoons for rice, etc. You get the drift.
Frankly, the WIFI at the airport is bad. Thankfully I had my Softbank mobile data device.
My work kept me occupied for a few hours. By 3 am I joined the rest and claimed a bench to sleep on!
My alarm woke me up at 5 am. A quick trip to the washroom later, I grabbed a bun and I’m off! Tokyo city here I come!
You can read about my first day in Tokyo –> HERE. :DD
And oh, the breads in Japan are good!
Train train, come and take me to Tokyo….
Air Asia X has direct flights to Japan – Haneda Airport Tokyo and Kansai Airport, Osaka. Domestic flights departs from Narita Airport in Tokyo to Sapporo, Fokuoka and the beautiful Okinawa Island. I definitely would visit the Okinawa Islands on my next trip! 🙂
More info on the Premium Flatbed: http://www.airasia.com/my/en/flightinfo/premium_home.page
It was a lovely way to travel don’t you think? 🙂
BELOW: Me again – but on the flight home to KL!
Nasi Lemak after 12 days in Japan. HEAVEN!!
I want to go to Japan again for sure. Next April maybe? Anyone want to go with me? 😀