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Monday, January 29, 2018

DAY 1.5: Honolulu to Fukuoka

After sending my blog yesterday, on the way out of the Sakura Lounge, I noticed that you could also have breakfast:


Fortified, I found my way to my plane:


A mimosa start:


The stewardesses were exceptionally pleasant and helpful:


Taking off:


It seemed like I was on an emotional high, but the seat location, service, cuisine, drinks and movies were fabulous.  Sometimes your attitude can overwhelm rationality, but I thought the lunch was the about as good as any I've ever had on a flight and the two films were surprisingly well-produced and entertaining.  The menu, then came the Pouilly Fuisse:


The lunch took up the whole table, but in business class there is a side counter for your drinks:


One sake was a Junmai Daiginjo and the other a Junmai Ginjo:


I wanted the JD chilled and the JG hot.  It took a long discussion to convince the stewardess to heat the JG, which she thought was almost sacrilegious. Then dessert:


I had a Hakusho on rocks and Bailey's Irish Cream in my coffee to watch the two films.  Something has happened to Japanese productions.  At one time, a half century ago, they were among the best.  Then, the Koreans overtook them and I can't remember any memorable films after Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa.  These two today were excellent, with clever dialogue and timely twists.  Both films were 129 minutes long, and The Miracles of the Namiya General Store was the best film I've seen, anywhere, in several years.


That Japanese version was released in 2012, while Jackie Chan played the shop owner in the 2017 Chinese effort.  Rotten Tomatoes gave the new version a 100% Audience Appreciation rating. 

The second was titled Before We Vanish, and is about an alien invasion.


Note that the director is Kiyoshi Kurosawa.  However, he is not related to Akira.  Rotten Tomatoes gave Before We Vanish 76%/67% scores.

Just before landing at Narita, snow:


It was an adventure getting to the ANA domestic check-in.  First, you had to go through customs, then gather your luggage, proceed to a bus stop to take you to Terminal 1 from 2, a royal pain with bags.  No one seemed to know where the domestic departure was located.  No signs.  Finally, nearly 45 minutes after landing, I got to the the right ANA site.  Their domestic lounge was adequate:


The ANA flight to Fukuoka was filled, all in economy class.  I boarded a bus where you had to walk up three high steps, that went on for a long time, then come back down those three.  Then, one of those entries where you had to walk up a flight of stairs.   They served tea, coffee and juice.  Nothing to eat.

I was met at the baggage pick-up exit and helped to a taxi, where the lady gave me a piece of paper to give to the taxi driver.  The Washington Canal City Hotel is okay.  It is located next to a new shopping mall.

After check-in, where I found out everything was pre-paid by Kyushu University, I went up to my room 22 hours after I woke up that morning.  I asked myself, why am I going through this ordeal?  I'm too old for this.  Then again, good food, ample drinks, two movies and fine service.  All for free.

I was hungry, so walked a short distance to CoCo Curry House.  Snow flurries.  It's cold, but tolerably so.


Interesting concept.  You order some basic curry, and determine the degree of spicy hotness.  I chose #3, which was average.  Fukuoka people must like it hot, for I almost died.  Beer just made it worse.  You can go up to #10.  I also added corn, poached egg and garlic chips.  Best curry meal I've had in a long time.

Tomorrow, Kyushu University.

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