Day 1 - Sunday 9 December - Canberra to Tokyo

So we planned a 4:30 wakeup. I woke up at 3:50. Managed to doze for twenty minutes but really woke up at 4:10. Got up, go ready, fed George, and taxi at 5:15.

Had to wait five minutes for the Qantas Club to open at 5:50, then had some breakfast (just toast and fruit/yoghurt).

Stu eating breakfast at the Qantas Club in Canberra
Stu eating breakfast at the Qantas Club in Canberra

Now sadly when I checked in on Saturday, they gave us both aisle seats on the Dash-8, and I couldn't change them either online or at the airport. The flight was super full. So that was a bit sad times. So I took my aisle seat but the person in the window seat hadn't arrived. When she did I was like.. if you don't want the window seat I'll happily take it, and she said that was fine and I'm like.. squeee. So I got a window seat from Canberra to Sydney! Pretty much stared out it the whole trip. Got a muffin as a snack. Approached Sydney from the south west, then when we over the airport did a 270 degree turn to the right and came in on 34R.

Our plane to Sydney - Qantas Dash-8 VH-LQJ
Our plane to Sydney - Qantas Dash-8 VH-LQJ

Looking towards Civic and Canberra after takeoff
Looking towards Civic and Canberra after takeoff

Looking towards Lake Burragorang while approaching Sydney
Looking towards Lake Burragorang while approaching Sydney

Southern Sydney
Southern Sydney

Sydney from above the airport
Sydney from above the airport

Malabar Headland and Eastern Suburbs
Malabar Headland and Eastern Suburbs

Touchdown at Sydney Airport
Touchdown at Sydney Airport

Took the Qantas transfer bus over to the international terminal. Immigration and security reasonably quick, although did have to go through the porno scanner (this one doesn't show any actual detail so that was fine). Gate 25 was packed with people when we got there, so headed back into the main bit of the terminal and Stu got a coffee and some drinks and a snack and we sat and ate/drank those while watching all the A380s (I got a photo with four different airlines at one point!).

Four A380s!  Qantas A380, Singapore Airlines A380, Emirates A380 and Korean Air A380
Four A380s! Qantas A380, Singapore Airlines A380, Emirates A380 and Korean Air A380

Our plane for Sydney to Tokyo was a 787 Dreamliner. When I'd first booked I was annoyed that we got stuck with an over-wing seat and couldn't change it. Turns out we'd somehow ended up with premium economy. I don't think I've ever flown in premium economy before. Ok so the extra leg room was nice, but we had a bulkhead seat, so I couldn't have my bags with me for takeoff and landing, and the "seat" pocket was so far away I couldn't actually reach it with my seatbelt on. I did find that I could stuff things either side of my legs next to me on my seat so that worked out ok. The other problem with the bulkhead seat was not having a screen you can have going the whole time. This was a massive problem because I couldn't get a GPS signal. The 787 has electronic window shades. You can set how much light comes through them electronically. I reckon this is the likely reason I couldn't get a signal, even with it right in the middle of the window with no other metal around. So that was all super annoying and it would have been nice to keep an eye on where were when we were actually close to the ground. Not that it really mattered all that much on account of THERE WAS A WING IN THE WAY. Le sigh.

Our plane to Japan - Japan Airlines Airbus 787 JA868J
Our plane to Japan - Japan Airlines Airbus 787 JA868J

Our premium economy space on the 787
Our premium economy space on the 787

My seat space on the 787
My seat space on the 787

Sadly our view was of the wing
Sadly our view was of the wing

Did I mention it was HOT in the cabin? Urgh, quite uncomfortable. I think I should take a thermometer with me when I travel to quantify the temperature in various places we go to.

Taking off from Sydney Airport
Taking off from Sydney Airport

Sydney Airport domestic terminals
Sydney Airport domestic terminals

Sydney CBD
Sydney CBD

Sydney Harbour
Sydney Harbour

The 787 has electronic window shades
The 787 has electronic window shades

Electronic window shade controls
Electronic window shade controls

View out the window with the electronic shades partly darkened
View out the window with the electronic shades partly darkened

Premium Economy cabin area of the 787
Premium Economy cabin area of the 787

JAL also have Sony noise cancelling headphones. These did make somewhat of a difference, but nothing like Stu's Bose headphones. I watched Crazy Rich Asians first. I was worried it would just be stereotypes, and I suppose it was a bit. But it did seem pretty unrealistic, and I highly doubt the mother would have come round at the end with one little speech. I did enjoy it though, and all the Singapore been-there's were pretty cool (if a little distracting heh). Next I watched Mission Impossible: Fallout. They did a good job of making Tom Cruise look younger heh. Again, lots of been-theres. Pretty silly but a bit of fun. And then got more Rebecca Ferguson in The Greatest Showman. This was ok, I wonder how much if any was based on reality. Then had a little time to kill so watched the beginning of Frozen.

Noise cancelling headphones provided by JAL
Noise cancelling headphones provided by JAL

For "lunch" (at 10:30) I had a chicken dish, with a lot of little extra side dishes. "Dinner" (at 16:30) was fettucini bolognase.

Lunch on the plane.  I had roasted chicken with honey mustard sauce, with salmon salad, Japanese soba noodles, fresh fruits, cheese and crackers and ice cream
Lunch on the plane. I had roasted chicken with honey mustard sauce, with salmon salad, Japanese soba noodles, fresh fruits, cheese and crackers and ice cream

Dinner on the plane - pasta with chicken bolognase, fresh fruits, chocolate cherry cake
Dinner on the plane - pasta with chicken bolognase, fresh fruits, chocolate cherry cake

Landed in Narita from the south east. Went through immigration and customs. Then took Wello's advice and took the Keisei Skyliner direct to Ueno (only forty minutes and didn't have change trains). Figured out our way through Ueno station (the Skyliner arrives on the far western side and our hotel is on the eastern side).

Keisei Skyliner approaching station at Narita
Keisei Skyliner approaching station at Narita

The hotel is fairly close to the station, when you know how to get out (exit 3!). Checked in and dumped our stuff, then I went out on a 7-Eleven run to pick up beer (that went down *very* well), and sandwiches and snackages. Then we collapsed.

Our bed at the hotel in Japan
Our bed at the hotel in Japan

Stu in our hotel room in Japan
Stu in our hotel room in Japan

Snackages we had for dinner and breakfast at the hotel in Japan
Snackages we had for dinner and breakfast at the hotel in Japan