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 …
JetBlue has a fixed-value rewards program called TrueBlue, where points are earned based on the cost of the flight and redeemed at a fairly fixed rate based on the current price for the flight. While these types of programs don't let you take amazing 10-cents-per-point aspirational reward flights like our ANA First flight, they do mean that you can easily redeem your points for any seat on any flight without hours of planning and searching for the ever-elusive award seat.
Most of the bloggers value JetBlue points at 1.3¢ each. In my own observations, there's been a little bit of variability over the years: I've seen the occasional redemption at 1.4¢ or even as high as 1.7¢. Well, yesterday I was pricing out a one way Mint flight from SFO to JFK and noticed that my Mint flight has reached an all-new low: 1.0¢.
Since we earned most of these points due to my husband's work travel, it's still free money, but given the changing lie-flat transcon market, it might be tim…