I don’t really mind long flights. The packing, the travel to and from the airport, the check-in, the security checks, those are exhausting. But once on the plane, the fact of sitting quietly in a seat for 11 hours doesn’t bother me. If anything, it offers a rare opportunity to slow down, to read a book or watch a film, or just do nothing at all, while every so often people come and bring you food and drink.
Pro tip: I find a gin and tonic at the start of the flight is a very good way of getting into the right frame of mind.
Business class is a nicer experience, of course. But while you can usually get an economy class ticket for between €800 and €900 return, the business class fare is more like €2500. For two people, that amounts to an extra €3000, which would buy you an awful lot of comfort on the ground. As in, you could stay in a luxurious hotel for 2 weeks for that price. For that money, I will happily put up with the economy class experience for 11 hours. Hell, for that money I would spend the flight in a cage in the cargo hold with the animals. Or tied up face down on the floor with an hourly kicking from the cabin crew.
Anyway, when we arrived in Japan we went out to the supermarket to get something for lunch. I got sushi.
This sushi selection, freshly made this morning, cost 410 yen. That’s about €3. For a selection of 10 delicious nigiri-zushi.
They do “Hakata-style” ramen noodles, with a fatty, almost silky broth made with pork bones.
The sign below says that you can help yourself to fiery-hot (chili) mustard greens, sesame mustard greens or benishouga (red pickled ginger). I had to look up the word for mustard greens: 高菜 takana, as I wasn’t able to read it. Or rather, I was able to read it but wasn’t sure how to pronounce it or what vegetable it referred to. If that makes any sense. Such are the vagaries of the Japanese writing system.
Benishouga is a typical accompaniment to Hakata ramen. And by the way, the fiery-hot mustard greens really are.