Flying to Japan

The flight to Japan was an experience all in itself! This was my first time flying to Japan (from America) where I didn’t just stop and go in Tokyo. U.S. flights are easy and flying to Thailand was a piece of cake because a lot of people speak English. We took a flight from San Francisco and arrived in Japan in about 12 hours or so, I can’t recall right now but I did get 5,303 Award miles though! NICE! We went from San Francisco (SFO) to Nagoya (NGO) to Fukuoka (FUK). We flew on United Airlines and I highly recommend it. The customer service was great, the food was okay, and the seats were comfortable. They had a head rest that’s adjustable so you can easily sleep and you get your own personal vide screen to watch movies, TV shows, BBC News, or you can see where the plane is on a GPS type screen. All movies and shows were offered in English with and without Japanese subtitles, or Japanese voice over so everybody can enjoy the in flight entertainment instead of sitting there going “OMG! 10 hours remaining!”

Flying to Japan

** I highly recommend checking in online exactly 24 hours in advance. I was able to change my seat to an exit row which gave me plenty of leg room.

When we arrived at the Nagoya Airport we had to rush to catch out plane to Fukuoka. Here’s what you can expect…

  1. Go through immigration, hand them the completed form (Customs Declaration Form) that the airline had you fill out, and they’ll give you landing permission.
  2. Pick up your luggage, go through customs, answer questions, possibly get searched.
  3. Go to your connecting airline, go through a luggage security check point, check the luggage.
  4. Go through a personal security check point, and then go to your gate and you’re all set.

What happened to us? Well it wasn’t an easy 1,2,3,4.
Here’s the long story made short. We went through immigration first. Then we headed to our gate and when we asked for directions from the airline counter we found out our luggage does not follow us, we had to grab it and go through customs and check it again! The airline was really helpful and hauled ass to get our luggage. We picked it up and went through customs, checked our luggage after waiting in the long slow line, and headed to our gate and boarded our plane 5 minutes later. It was stressful because we had limited time, heavy bags, nothing was in English, nobody spoke English, and some weird salaryman approached my fiancee while we were in line to which I responded with a “WTF MOFO!” look. He jumped a little bit back and then left. That was my first strange experience in Japan. In the end it all worked out perfectly and went as smoother than we could have hoped in that situation.

Our connecting flight from Nagoya to Fukuoka was through ANA (All Nippon Airlines). The flight attendants were nice, the flight was short, but I didn’t really fit. I’m 6’2″ (190cm) and I’m about 3 inches (7.6cm) to tall. I had to sit awkward for 1 hour on this ride because I really didn’t fit. I currently have to duck a lot when going through doorways too.

Some pics of the Nagoya Airport
(credit to: ヨシキ)

Nagoya Airport 01 - Hover over right side of image for NEXT or hit right arrow keyNagoya Airport 02Nagoya Airport 03

Nagoya Airport 04Nagoya Airport 05Nagoya Airport 06

A few things I noticed when I arrived in Japan

  • Very few things are in English besides signs
  • Very few people I encounter speak English fluently or are too self conscious about speaking it.
  • Compared to the U.S. everything in Japan seems small. People, doors, seats, more on this later…
  • The toilets are different [pic] in some stalls. You just have to pop a squat to get the job done!
  • Japan is very clean which is hard to believe because it’s hard to find a trash can sometimes.
  • In bigger cities people dress trendy, employees look good no matter what their job is.
  • Most people are shorter than I am. I can usually see over a crowd of people.
  • People seem to be very nice, customer service is great.
  • Tax is always included in the posted prices whenever you shop or eat
  • No tipping anywhere
  • Rice fields are sneaky and seem to pop up in random places

And that sums up my flight to Japan. Konichiwa and all that good stuff.

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