From Pokemon to Neko Atsume to shuinchou temple books, Japanese people love obsessively collecting things. They also love trains. The Eki stamp ("station stamp") is where those two things meet. Most Japan Railways stations (including urban metro ones like the Yamanote line) have a unique stamp reflecting that station's history. Kids and train nerds (a.k.a. "Tecchan") buy cute little books to collect the stamps of all the stations they've been to. The USA has a similar program with the national parks.
(UPDATE: on a recent visit to Taipei, I found out that the Taiwanese do this too!) Nerdiness aside, an Eki stamp book makes a great souvenir: it's flat, small, cheap, and light... and shouldn't take but a few moments to do when you're out and about. Special Eki stamp books are usually available at bookstores and stationery stores. Kinokuniya in Shinjuku, for example, has them in their travel section on the basement floor. Because not everyone knows w…
Pros Best in-flight meal everFantastic serviceGreat seat/bedToto Washlet on boardNice departure time (noon Eastern) means a very calm Terminal 7 Cons Honestly, none. Other than it's 30,000 more points per person each way than Korean Air First Class, but you get what you pay for...
How I did it
Detailed info is over here, but the short story is: 110,000 United Miles + $5.60 in fees, per person, one way. We earned those miles through a combination of last year's flying on United and one 50,000-point United credit card sign up bonus. We booked around 9 months in advance.
ArrivingWe got stuck trying to do online check-in, but a quick call to ANA got that sorted out. ANA uses Terminal 7 at JFK, along with British, Cathay, and Iceland Air. Since the bulk of British Airways flights happen in the evening, the terminal was basically empty when we arrived at 10:30am.
ANA check-in for all cabins is located to the right of the main hallway. For some reason our TSA Pre information didn'…
Awesome food (Ippudo Ramen!)
Toto Washlet in the lavatory Neutrals:
Wifi available but it was expensive and buggy
Nice lie-flat seat but it was oddly lumpy even with the sleeping mat Cons:
No personal air vents
We started in the British Airways Galleries lounge. Seems like no matter who I fly with (Iceland Air, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and now ANA) this is their lounge of choice. It's decent. There's a dining room within the lounge but only One World top tier or people flying on BA First get to use it.
The 777 has ANA's new "staggered Business Class" seats and was configured similarly to the Cathay Pacific 777 I took back in January – Business Class is split in two by a galley area and a door. We sat in the larger rear section. One advantage to sitting in the forward part of Business Class is that you don't have lots of people walking past you during boarding. Headphones, slippers, blanket, pillows, and an amenity kit were waiting for us …