From Pokemon to Neko Atsume to shuinchou temple books, Japanese people love collecting things. If you've ever taken a ride on the glorious shinkansen bullet trains or ridden one of their extremely clean and punctual urban lines, then you know there's also a national obsession with great trains.
The Eki stamp ("station stamp") is where those two obsessions 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 (called "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.
All train-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 S…
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 …
As part of our spring trip to Warsaw, we're heading to Israel. Yes, Israel. It's a 3.5 hour flight and several carriers offer direct service. Given Warsaw's history and dynamic economy, their airports offer a really unique list of destinations with direct service. (The list gets even more interesting if you add in Ryanair's terminal at Modlin, 35km outside the city.)
After looking over the prices, schedules, and amenities of the options, we decided to fly Polish low cost carrier Wizzair. During the final checkout page I noticed that there were two buttons: one to pay in Złoty, the other to pay in US Dollars. A quick check on Google revealed that I'd be paying nearly $30 extra if I did the latter. (I've since checked my credit card online to verify the savings).