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Monday, March 27, 2017

PaGA2017: Day 1 Honolulu to Tokyo

To continue my posting of yesterday, Pat's Global Adventure of 2017 (PaGA2017), my ANA flight on a Dreamliner in Business Class was, perhaps, the best I've had at this level.  The service was extraordinary, and they even gave me a signed cup as a gift:


Champagne was served on the ground, followed by a Bloody Mary with assorted nuts.  The meal was a Japanese bento, which was not particularly extraordinary, but interesting, with a glass of Chardonnay, Sapporo beer and hot sake:


I watched two excellent films:  The Accountant (Rotten Tomatoes, 51 reviewers/78 audiences) which was one of Ben Afleck's best, and A Man Called Ove (RT 90/87), about a lovable curmudgeon.  You know, something has happened to Sweden, just like South Korea:  they now make the best films!  Remember The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared?  Also from Sweden.

ANA's audio-visual system is particularly outstanding, as I was able to program 50 tunes/pieces while the plane was still on the ground.  Normally I fiddle around for an hour trying to do this.  I thus watched those films, then listen to my "jukebox" for four hours while I tried to sleep, which mostly failed.  A choice of 52 movie channels, 142 video  stations, 148 audio sites and 9 gaming links.  There are nine language options and SKYTRAX has bestowed to ANA a prestigious 5-star ranking.

I had a Suntory Hibiki with coffee while watching Ove:



A special feature is a whole list of dishes you can have at your whim.  So a few hours after that lunch, I ordered a truly terrific grilled maguro (tuna) on grated yam on hot rice with green onions  and nori, plus some cold sake:


Japan:


From leaving 15 Craigside to arriving at the Tokyo Westin on the Airport Limousine bus took 14 hours:


I've stayed here more than any other hotel.  It was 23 years ago in October when, the first week it opened, Pearl and I were one of the first occupants.  The service, size and niceness of rooms, good temperature control, TV music channel to which I fall asleep, proximity to Robuchon (across the street), Ebesu Garden Place (with a large Mitsukoshi including a basement market), ease of train travel, location where I leave my large suitcase while I galavant around Japan with a small roller, both The Japan Times and The New York Times, are delivered to my room, and, always, a view of Mount Fuji.  Here was the scene when I walked into my room:


I particularly enjoy their Executive Lounge, where I manytimes have a simple dinner:


Their pumpkin soup is exceptional.  I ended with a Johnny Walker Black Label on spherical ice.

After a full eight hours sleep without once getting up I awoke to Mount Fuji:


I should also add that the Tokyo Westin has three excellent restaurants, plus a breakfast area which is extraordinary.  Here is what I had this morning, for free:


I took a dozen photos of the food stations, noodle bar, cooking options and such, but you get the point.  So far, I've been away from home almost 36 hours, and all my meals have been free.  However, the concierge arranged for me to have lunch at Monna Lisa after I arrange for my Japan Rail Pass itinerary.  So return for that meal, plus, I've decided to pick up something from Mitsubishi and Robuchon to enjoy the setting sun and Mount Fuji in my room for dinner tonight.

But first, another photo of Mount Fuji:


When you travel, you get different insights about the USA.  As tomorrow is a travel day, I will address The Matter of Making American Great, Again.

Tropical Cyclone Debbie struck the Queensland Coast at 115 MPH this afternoon:


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