Sunday, February 4, 2007


NH stands for ANA which stands for All Nippon Airways (so why the heck is it NH? Well, in the Japanese language Japan is either “Nippon” or “Nihon” depending on context, so I’m guessing stands for Nihon).

When you fly to Asia, always fly with an Asian carrier if you can. The concept of customer service is completely different than it is in the U.S. – they actually really want you to have a nice experience and work hard to make it happen. This becomes apparent the minute you step up to check in at the ANA counter at SFO -- there are people bowing at you like crazy and the check-in person is unbelievably friendly and efficient. Starts to get you ready for check-in at the hotel in Tokyo which is also a bowing-fest with the staff taking care of your every need and not accepting tips! I tried to tip a bellman in Japan once and he went running for his life. Takes a bit of getting used to coming from the States where so many people just don’t give a sh*t.

The crew on this flight is amazing, they come around every hour or so with different goodies to eat and drink, and the individual video screen at my seat has a Video-On-Demand system with a whole bunch of movies & TV shows. This kind of stuff really makes the 11-hour flight fly by (har-har-har, I almost injured myself there). This is all happening in coach too – I’m starting to wonder what could be going on up there in business class . . .

I think there are 5 more hours to go in this 11 hour flight. Right now I’m watching a Japanese movie about a small mining town in Hokkaido where all the women learn to hula-dance. Earlier I watched “The Hustler” with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason shooting pool with Japanese Subtitles.

I’m one of the only non-Japanese people on this big old 777, and the flight attendants have taken to addressing me in Japanese. Feels like I’m already in Tokyo. And, hey, you gotta love an airline that has it’s own Sake brand.

The best part was when the flight attendants all lined up in the aisles after the safety announcement and bowed in unison. I wish I had gotten a picture of that.

Cap’n announced we’re landing almost an hour early, so maybe I’ll have time for a nice dinner in Tokyo tonight.

They’re not dimming the cabin lights since the reading lights are busted, but I’m not getting any sleep anyway. Enjoy the Super Bowl, everyone, I’ll be oblivious to it along with the rest of Nihon.

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