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SOLO JAPAN II 14.-28.3.2004.
introduction | departure day
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conclusion of my trip | photo gallery II
Saturday, 13th of March 2004
Helsinki -> Narita Airport

Departure Day!

Preparing for the second visit

I slept long and well last night, which might not have been a wise thing to do, as later in the evening I'll be whisking myself through seven time zones to Japan. Well, I'm not expecting to get any sleep during the flight anyway ...

The start of the day went by packing my backpack and shoulder bag. I made my check-in via Finnair's website in advance. I could also choose the seat that suited me best, so I chose the first seat from the left in the middle part and hoped nobody would reserve the seat on the right which was available too. I also joined Finnair's own member club, Finnair Plus, in case of good offers to Japan in the future.

"Non-stop to Tokyo" - Pizzicato Five

My parents came over and drove me to the airport. I was relaxed as we took some coffee and tea before I left for the passengers lobby. It was a huge psychological advantage for me to know that I just have to get on one plane and in about 10 hours I would be at Narita Airport in Japan.

Just to put things in comparison, in the previous flight to Japan, I had to fly to Frankfurt first, which took about three hours. There I had to wait five hours to get on the airplane bound for Japan, which took twelve long hours!

I entered the airplane carrying all my luggage as hand luggage and I was pleased to notice I had nobody on the right side of my seat. The interior of Finnair's airplane was nice, not too crammed or dim. Easily the best of the bunch I've used so far (the others being Swissair, ANA and Lufthansa).

Going airborne

The plane took off at 17:20. Through the far window I could see the snow white forests of Finland and could well understand why so many Japanese tourists come over to see Finland's nature. It certainly looks so ... exotically Finnish. ^^

The flight proceeded with drinks, snacks and dinner. It was nice to notice although this was a Finnish airliner, the hot towels used to clean your hands before dinner were served to passengers (since about half of the passengers were Japanese). Green tea was also served.

Northern lights

Roughly halfway the flight, the captain informed the passengers of some beautiful northern lights taking place on the left side of the plane. The captain knew the Japanese are crazy about seeing them (it's actually one of the top reasons they come to Finland during winter) and suddenly the Japanese weren't queuing for the toilet, but the windows on the left side of the plane.

The first five hours of the flight went past nicely, but after that there is a certain point when time seems to slow down dramatically. The movies were far from interesting (one being "cheaper by the dozen" starring Steve Martin) and I couldn't get any sleep than maybe half a minute.

Well, at least the trip was now fully in motion and the waiting period is a thing of the past.

back to top | proceed to day one!

Photo copyright Ude
At Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

Photo copyright Ude
The plane that is going to take me to Japan.

Photo copyright Ude
All action on the left side of the plane once the captain informed of a wonderful display of northern lights.

Finland - A not-so-bad-at-all country. ;-)
Finnair - The airliner that flew me to Japan. Recommended.
Helsinki-Vantaa airport - The airport from where I left Finland.



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