Sausages at 6:30

I am at the halfway point of my 32 hour sojourn from home to hovel. To avoid an overnight stay in Frankfurt, I flew out of Tokyo last night and thus my journey began with an express train to Nagoya to catch a shinkansen to Tokyo. I left the house around 6:30 PM for my 1:00 AM flight. I shipped my bags to the airport the day before so was able to travel light.

Initially I was excited for the flight to Frankfurt because I’d be flying on a Dreamliner for the first time. It didn’t have any “new airplane” smell but was clearly a new machine. Huge entertainment screen with almost 50 movies on demand as well as a selection of Japanese games like Go, Shogi, and sudoku. Being that it was an ANA flight, the toilet had a washlet and an automatic arm that would close the toilet before flushing. It was pretty spacious and there seemed to be more than enough overhead space. There were nice LED lighting In the cabin and bathrooms (blue! yellow! white!) and the windows were indeed larger. I didn’t sit at a window and didn’t get to experience the clearer view or the neat dimming effect though. We fly through the night anyway so it wasn’t like I could have seen anything.

These niceties aside, overall I was disappointed with the new plane. The rear galley is closed off, depriving one of a slightly wider space for stretching legs and the opportunity to talk to people while doing so. The extra headroom means that it is a hassle to adjust airflow correctly (although I’d rather have the headroom). The LED reading light was almost too bright; I would wake up every time the row in front of me turned their’s on or off.

But the worst thing of all is the new reclining style of the seats. Seat backs no longer move; instead, your seat bottom slides forward, essentially just making you slouch in your seat with a perfectly upright seat back. It also reduces your leg room! In a way I guess it’s a good decision to make the passenger responsible for his own legroom. Instead of cursing the bastard in front of me who reclines into my patella or while I’m eating, my personal space is all under my own control. But as far as trying to sleep goes, the upright seat back is horrible. I was able to get about 7 hours of sleep in total but I doubt that I ever got more than 20 or 30 minutes of contiguous snoozing in. Ugh.

But the flight eventually landed and the 7 hours of fitful dozing took enough of a bite out of the 12 hour flight that it seemed much shorter. I found a great restaurant overlooking the runway and ordered coffee and sausages. I had a mix plate of veal, Frankfurt, and Munich sauces with mustard and sauerkraut with good strong coffee, a delicious breakfast for watching the night give way to day, even if the day is overcast and dreary.

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