Trip to Japan Part 1

This is a guest post by my brother-in-law, Mike, about his recent trip to Japan. Thanks for taking the time to record your experience for us Bro!

I work as a Technical Support Engineer in one of the World’s largest manufacturers of reciprocating compressors (where my wife, Madhurya, works too). I provide support to the clients and our subsidiaries from our office in Switzerland. I hardly visit clients and only when there is a need. (I was a field service engineer in my previous job and visited clients very often.) It had been more than a year since I last did a customer-visit and was beginning to miss it. Just when I was craving for one, we received a call from one of our biggest clients in Japan saying that their newly purchased compressor was leaking at several points and they needed immediate action. As there was no field service engineer available to take care of this problem, I volunteered to go there and fix this on my own.

As it was going to be a long and tedious flight, our coordinator decided to fly me in Emirates Airlines’ Business class.  After discussing with the colleagues of our company`s subsidiary in Japan, we organized a week-long trip. I was going to fly on Sunday night from Zurich via Dubai to Tokyo and be back on Friday evening. At 7 pm, on Sunday, I was brought to the airport in a Mercedes Vito (You get free limousine service from Emirates if you book Business or first class)

After a 45 min drive to the airport I directly went to the gate as I only had a cabin baggage and no check-in and decided to spend sometime in the Emirates Lounge.  As I waited for an hour before boarding, I enjoyed the view of the planes landing and departing while relishing nice food and drinks in the lounge.

When my turn came to board (Business class and first class fliers are given first preference), one of the ground staff members started lecturing me, saying that my hand bag was 10 kg instead of 7 kg (as allowed) and that I needed to keep it in front of my seat and not stow it above in the compartment, her reason being, ‘if there is a turbulence and the bag falls, someone will get hurt’ and all I could think was ‘lady, if the bag falls, one will get his or her head broken anyway; It doesn’t matter whether it is 7 or 10 kg’. Thankfully, another member of the staff checked my boarding card and informed me that I had been upgraded to first class!

Inside the Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER, my 1st class seat was like a suite. It had a minibar, a seat so big, it could be converted into a bed and a wide-screen monitor to watch all the latest movies and shows. I felt like a king!!

The stewardess brought a nice glass of champagne (something you generally don’t get for free in Economy) and asked what I would like to have for dinner. After selecting from a wide range of options, my dinner arrived in 30 minutes. The plates were made of ceramic and the spoons and knives were metallic. The Food tasted great.

06_First class Dinner

I fell asleep as I watched a movie and woke up again, early in the morning, as we landed in Dubai after a 6 hour journey.

At the emirates lounge in Dubai, I refreshed myself and boarded the next flight to Tokyo. We were taken from the terminal to the aircraft in a 20 minute bus ride.  It was another 10 hours flight in which I slept for a few hours and spent the rest watching the movies I couldn’t finish in the first flight. Finally on Monday night at 10 pm (GMT+9) I reached Tokyo Haneda Airport. Passport control was done within a few minutes and I proceeded to the nearest Taxi stand to get to my hotel and sleep for a few hours. Royal Park is a 5-star hotel close to the airport. Although the room was great, I could only sleep for a couple of hours due to jet lag.

Tokyo is similar to Dubai or Zurich, a big city. It is bigger and more populated than any other city in Japan.

07_Tokyo downtown

On Tuesday morning I was picked up by the Sales Manager of our subsidiary in Japan. We took a train to Osaka, which is about 560 km from Tokyo, to visit our client. Public transportation is quite advanced in Japan. There are many high speed trains running at 250 km/h speed from Tokyo to other cities in Japan. The train ticket costed 14,500 Yen which is approx. 110 US$ for a 2.5 hour train ride to Osaka.

(to be continued…)

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