Saturday, July 23, 2011

Beijing Trip - Haneda Airport

It's about an hour before my flight to Beijing from Tokyo/Haneda. As I mentioned before, this trip was very last minute and I think I was lucky to find tickets for <$1500. ANA flight 1005 from LAX-HND was on an older Boeing 777-200ER. The seats in the back were pretty old school; I originally thought it that the entertainment system was not on-demand but I found a controller hidden under the armrest that allowed me to choose movies/TV shows/music. It wasn't as cool as Cathay's StudioCX but I did watch two movies on the 12 11 hour flight: The Adjustment Bureau and Red Riding Hood. FWIW, I thought it was the grandma until the very end.

Some kind of ANA flight attendant pow-wow at gate 104 at LAX. When I got here, they were still boarding the previous China Southern flight to Guangzhou.

After arriving early at ~4:30am, I cleared Japanese immigration/customs and took the monorail to Hamamatsucho station. All the workers in the airport were very polite, especially the customs guy. He asked me about the "none" listed for Japan address and I told him I had a layover and want to go out to take pictures. He laughed at my "joke" and bowed as he waved me out into the terminal. Not like China at all.

Good thing most of the signs have English (plus Chinese and Korean)

Tokyo Monorail

View from Hamamatsucho station

Since it was ~5am, I caught the first monorail from Haneda into town. It was an express train so it did not stop at every station. The walk to Tokyo Tower was ~15 minutes and I took a few pictures. Even though it was early Sunday morning, there were lots of older people out walking around. On the way, there was a large shrine and there was some event going on but I couldn't understand any of the signs. On the way back to Haneda, the monorail was super crowded. Luckily, I got on to another express train and the first stop back was the International terminal at Haneda.

New vs. Old

Tokyo Tower viewed from its base

Drink Corner at the base of the Tower...

... where I got this $2 can of Fanta grape soda. We need more grape soda in the US.

Chinese restaurant on the way to Tokyo Tower from the train station

This was the last thing I expected to see in Tokyo. I guess it is a real chain from Japan. They just don't call it "beef bowl" as well...

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