Saturday, August 12, 2023

Ernie's Business Class Trip to Japan

I consider Japan to be my second home, and so I was very excited to take Ernie there on his very first trip outside of the country.

We faced an unfamiliar trial immediately. We'd never had to put the carseat into an Uber before. Having to get the seat installed in an unfamiliar car with a surly driver tapping their foot watching is a stressful situation. Luckily our driver was a British nanny and was very understanding of the situation. Not only was she very understanding but afterwards I wished I could get Ernie a British Nanny. A Mary Poppins situation if you will.

Traveling is a lot more cumbersome than it used to be. Our baggage situation used to be very straightforward and now we have to pretty much pack a circus up and carry it around with us so that the big man can travel in comfort. Must be nice.

There were some finger attacks on the flight.

I pointed out some of the topography. Bye bye Washington!

Lately my go-to in-flight drink is a bloody mary mix. They are just so nice and spicy.

When the flight attendant asked if Ernie wanted a drink or a snack he replied "no thank you, ma'am, I'm going to be eating my hand."

We took the Alaska flight to San Francisco. I was able to get us baller flights to Japan but my magic was not able to get them to and from the city that we actually live in. A small bother in the grand scheme of things. I don't know how many times I've been through this airport. SFO had a lot of fun stuff on display, and even had a full blown museum though that was currently closed. They had a fun exhibit of the fancy class china and silverware of the past. From a distance I thought maybe this was from Air Force One and  I guess I was sort of close. It was "Pan American World Airways President first-class entree and side plates 1960s".

"TWA Royal Ambassador

Originally created through a merger as Transcontinental & Western Air in 1930, TWA was renamed Trans World Airlines during the early postwar era as it expanded into international routes. In 1959, the airline introduced jet flights to Europe, and soon after, launched its "Royal Ambassador" international first-class service. It was promoted by TWA as "the finest passenger service ever offered to airline travelers." The Rosenthal China Company of Germany was contracted to create fine bone china tableware with a distinctive ambassadorial red sash and medallion design surrounding the cursive initials "RA". This china pattern was so popular that TWA made it available for sale to the public through inflight catalogs. This set included embossed entree, bread, and side plates, along with a bowl and a demitasse cup with saucer. TWA also included Swedish glassware with the Royal Ambassador medallion and salt and pepper shakes. The International Silver Company produced flatware with a distinctive flowing, curvilinear pattern and the carrier's "TWA" service mark. As the name of the pattern suggests, it was designed to create a dining experience fit for an international dignitary with cuisine offerings similar to a gourmet restaurant, including Chateaubriand served from the cart, veal piccata, and Lobster Thermidor."

Ernie was about to experience so glamour in ANA business class so we balanced out his soul with some pre-flight Wendy's.

SFO's Aviation Museum & Library was currently closed but I was able to smoosh my face to the class to see the few exhibits that were visible from the outside.

"Airline Membership Clubs

Airline flyer clubs provide special pre-boarding services for passengers and additional opportunities to promote the corporate brand. These clubs tend to present thematic extensions of the airline's identity. Pan American World Airways, for example, identified with the maritime traditions of its earlier flying boat era and called their aircraft "clipper" ships. The Clipper Club, with its sailing vessel symbol, reinforced that identity. This sign adorned the Clipper Club entrance at San Francisco International Airport."
This sign was from the 1970s.

This was mildly annoying. ANA sent us an email saying that their lounge wouldn't be open and so gave us a voucher for $30 each that could be used at two places in the airport.

So like half of Japan was crammed into this overpriced little shop trying to spend their dumb voucher on snacks. I was not impressed with this experience.

Luckily the experience got way better from there. The airline staff knew that we would be coming with a baby and various baby implements, so they hunted us down in the passenger waiting area and provided as much assistance as we would allow. I was impressed with that service level. I guess I've never traveled fancy with a baby before but I've never seen anything quite like that.

Our business class seats were next to each other and had a little wall that we could push down to see each other.

They warned us of possible "typhoon turbulence" which I wasn't excited about at all.

It's funny I'm always really excited to check out the amenity kit despite the fact that there's rarely anything that cool in there. I do like to use their tiny toothbrush and tooth paste though. There were pajamas and slippers but sadly both were in Japan people sizes.

Our lives are so precious that we had an additional seatbelt.

They installed a bassinet for Ernie. As you can see he is a giant and will not fit into these things much longer.

For my welcome drink I asked for sake like a real one. There were a few choices so I asked for the one that tastes like humans.

"Kamoshibito Kuheiji Human
Banjo Jozo, Aichi (fruity type)

Founded in 1647, this sake brewery is famous for being the first sake brewery to be selected by a three-star restaurant in France. This sake brewed from Yamadanishiki rice of Hyogo prefecture has the light freshness of the acidity and the umami of rice in the combination with the floral scent that gives it the perfect balance. A well-balanced brew with elegant umami, goes well with rich seafoods such as fish roe and shellfish."

Even the napkins were fun. I buy ITO EN green tea by the case on Amazon.

The amuse bouche was 
"caramelized walnuts & almonds
mozzarella cheese & marinated vegetables"

With my welcome booze and snacks safely in hand I took a look down the street. Not a bad neighborhood at all.

True to form for a Japanese airline, after the safety video there was a video detailing all the ways to be kind to the other passengers. I thought that was cute.

I was about to eat about 7 dinners so I thought a first time viewing of the Whale was in order to get me psyched up.

By now it was about 3am pacific time so there wasn't an immediate meal service. I went for a few things off of the a la carte menu instead.

"Garden salad, deep-roasted sesame dressing

Japanese udon noodles garnished with mixed vegetable & shrimp tempura


For breakfast we could choose the Japanese menu or the international menu for the weak. The Japanese stuff was fun because even after the detailed description I still didn't know what half of it was.

Zensai (A selection of morsels)
Crab meat, yuba and pea sprout with Japanese plum sauce
Greater amberjack sushi
Grilled chicken & burdock root roll
Broccoli with pine nut miso

Shusai (Main Course)
Oil-grilled sea bass with butter soy sauce
steamed rice

Miso Soup & Japanese Pickles


Ernie finally made it to Tokyo's Haneda airport safe and sound and ready to party.

The little tv in the cab was very Japanese. "It's my first time drinking radish."

No comments:

Post a Comment