Corporate airplanes are the prison cells of the skies.

I’ve never really been all that bothered by long airplane trips.  Sure they pack you into a tight enclosed space with some of the least comfortable seats imaginable and you’re essentially strapped in place of hours on end like some sort of mental patient in a Kubrick movie or something.  And then there are the several hundred other passengers also thrown onto the flight for good measure, some of them almost certain to be quite ill or small children who will undoubtedly spend half of the flight screaming like someone just sawed off their leg.  Sure (until recently) you’ve been forced to inexplicably turn off all your electronic devices for what seems like half of the flight because, in all their infinite wisdom, the world’s best and brightest apparently just can’t figure out how to make it so airplanes won’t explode because Cousin Jimmy is playing Angry Birds on his iPhone, forcing you to resort to (a) reading a book, or (b) cannibalism.

But with all those caveats, I don’t mind the mind numbing immobility of a long haul airplane ride.  Hell, I might actually like it.  In a modern world filled to the brim with all sorts of stimuli and crack-monkey culture, sometimes it’s good to just take a chill pill and enjoy the pleasantly tasteless monotony of airline food.

In terms of this bleak world of cross-oceanic airplane travel, my flight from San Francisco onwards to Haneda on Wednesday night was a freaking trip to Tahiti.  The main reason why?  Free space.

Unlike most of my other trips between Japan and the states, this flight was relatively lightly travelled, giving me an entire half a row to myself.  Add in the fact that I was on a newer plane (the ironically named Boeing 787 Dreamliner, I’ll get to that a bit later.) and I was practically staying at the Ritz.  Okay, well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but it was still better than the usual situation where you have to stuff your full-sized adult legs into a space that could have only been designed for the legs of a ten-year-old girl and a small one at that.  The great thing about the new Dreamliner is that the in-flight entertainment system is new, in other words, not the 1980s reject systems I had to deal with all my other times across the ocean.  One thing not so awesome about the Dreamliner I was on: there was a constant buzz through the entirety of the eleven hour flight, meaning it was even more impossible to sleep on the Dreamliner than on the usual run-of-the-mill aircraft.

As per usual, the movies on the plane were either things I’ve already seen (Pacific Rim) or complete and utter crap (World War Z).  Since Pacific Rim was one of my favorite movies of the year, I didn’t mind watching that again but I want the two hours I wasted on World War Z back.  Spoilers: Brad Pitt saves the world and Peter Capaldi doesn’t use his TARDIS.  At least the screen they built into the seat in front of me was bigger than an iPhone screen like the old ones almost were.  Audio system’s still crap though.

Gonna make this a two-parter because a lot happened once I landed and I kinda want to keep posts coming at a normal pace/whenever I’m near a stable internet connection.


As I was writing this, I just experienced the first earthquake of my new life in Japan (only a 3 on the Shindo scale, magnitude 4.8).  My grandparent’s house rumbled and shook for a few seconds but nothing too major.  It’s an old house made of wood with paper thin walls, which means it’s freaking old but also durable when it comes to tremors.  How did I react to the shakes?  I stopped writing for a brief moment and simply admired nature at work.  I suppose I should have a little fear in me but what’s the point?  If I freaked out about every earthquake I felt in Japan, I’d probably be freaked out all the freaking time.

Waiting at the Boarding Gate (AKA Anyone With Any Objections Should Speak up Now)

This is going to be a stream of consciousness thing because I’m really bored and boarding time isn’t for another twenty minutes.  (That’s a lot of boards in one sentence.)

So the International Terminal at SFO is dead.  Like really dead.  Like set from the Walking Dead dead.  I guess it makes sense though.  American Thanksgiving isn’t exactly an international holiday.

The lack of crowds still didn’t make the whole TSA Security Screening thing any less annoying though.  Then again, I wore like ten layers of clothes, forgot to take my laptop out of my bag the first time around, left my wallet and iPod in my jeans pocket because I wasn’t paying attention, and almost left my passport with the first dude at the head of the line.  In other words, maybe the TSA screening sucked extra hard this time because I’m a freaking idiot.

I got to my gate with a whole whopping hour to spare, meaning penny of time to sit around and act really really bored.  I have an entire row of waiting area seats to myself but the stupid seat dividers mean I can’t lay down like the sloth that I am.


Pro-tip: Check you departure time before you leave the house.  My flight to Haneda turned out to be an hour earlier than I thought it was going to be.  If we hadn’t left so damn early, I would have been in a world of hurt.


Things Observed at the Boarding Gate

  • Old white lady freaking out because she thinks someone stole her boarding pass to the point that she starts hyperventilating.  Where did the pass turn out to be?  Her husband’s pocket.  Yep folks, you just can’t make this stuff up.  Even as I write this ten minutes later, she’s still having trouble breathing.  
  • Nerdy-looking white college student girls obviously discussing what they’re going to cosplay as when they get to Tokyo.
  • Sloppy bathroom janitor dropping his piece of gum on the floor and then, after waiting a few pregnant seconds, popping said dust-crusted piece back into his mouth after retrieving it with the end of his broomstick.
  • Young attractive couple that may be on their honeymoon practically having sex under the escalators.

Boarding time is in ten minutes.  The next time I write, it’ll be from Japan and my new life in Japan will have begun.  Whoopdie-doo.


-Stephen out.


PS Why aren’t airports designed with like a bazillion power outlets.  It’s the 21st century and airplanes aren’t designed with power outlets either?  Just a thought…