Sunday, September 19, 2010

8 Days in Japan Day 8: Heading for the Exit...

I pondered getting up early today and trying to wrangle in another couple sights but it would've required some serious schedule wrangling and timing to get it right. Also, with the way the humidity has been in Tokyo and without knowing what facilities are at Narita I'd have hated to force someone to sit beside me for 12 hours flying out without a shower. Instead, I run the clock out watching TV - finally catching some Anime in the form of Dragonball Kai and One Piece - and then hop the metro to Tokyo station where I grab some fresh cut cantaloupe for a quick snack before boarding the Narita Express to the airport; catching a pic of the Tokyo Sky Tree under construction on my way out.

Arriving at Narita well early of my flight and in no hurry to get inside, I collect my boarding pass and begin wandering the terminal. Already, this airport makes Pearson look sad and dated despite Terminal 1 being just a few years old now. In the outer terminal area there's a small mall with about 30 shops and another 15 or so restaurants serving damned near everything you could think of: full service places too not a bunch of Cara/McD's fast food joints. You can also head up to the top level and look out over the runways as flights come in and out to watch.

I grab a sushi plate from one of the restaurants for lunch and then browse the stores for a bit to see if there's anything I still might want.

Finishing up with that, I head through screening and immigration, who kindly mark me absent, and into the inner area where comparing things with Pearson just gets sad. When I finally got inside back home, I was funnelled down into the lower platform where there were a few duty free places selling liquor, perfume, and a couple restaurants. You get through security at Narita and you're in the god damned third floor of the Eaton Centre with top end brand stores selling duty free goods on top of various other stores selling just about anything you could find in Japan to take back home with you - there was a place selling Rice Cookers for Pete's sake - before you start looking at a whole other list of restaurants on top of what was outside.

Even better, you're free to roam all three wings and browse the place at will. You could easily spend your entire trip in Japan just seeing the sights and then lose a few hours shopping the two malls at Narita on your way out for gifts. Also: there's a day-inn/shower room service on site for future reference. The other thing that stands out is how much of the waiting area, though particularly the shopping zones, isn't sterile white; instead vibrant woodgrains, pleasant lighting, and generally the kind of hospitality environment one would more expect from a high end mall or hotel lobby.

This, folks, is an airport run by people who understand it's their job to get every last penny out of you before you get on the plane where Pearson is run by people who apparently have never overseen anything more complex than a Conklin queue at the Ex.

Dear Air Canada: if you're going to use touch screens, please provide a (re)calibration tool for them. I shouldn't have to sit there figuring out just how much up and to the left I need to hit your screen to have the cursor land on the button.

PS: plz also find digital copies of your films that don't have the audio drop in and out - and I know it's a media issue because it only happened on one of the films I watched.

Inflight mini RftP:

This Movie is Broken- want the raw concert footage; the rest of this nonsensical mess can go off into a dark alley and die.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo- why must our "strong female heroines" get raped... be bisexual... have relationship issues... and generally be nerd wish fulfillment? No, it doesn't matter in the first case that she gets her revenge- it's still fucking tired.

A quick nap later - and 3 meals that somehow manage to be worse than what they slid in front of me the first time - we're landing in Toronto and our ~20000 KM excursion is done. One more roundup post tomorrow.

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