Here begins the documentation of all the wonderful deliciousness that I'll get to enjoy over the next month. But first, I thought I'd start the adventure with the plane food for the niche audience who might be interested in that sort of thing (alright, very niche).
Food makes almost everything better, even a daunting 25-hour itinerary.
Breakfast (5:45 AM) - I slept through my alarm so I scrambled out of bed, showered hastily, and did some last-minute packing (quite literally). By the time I got all my luggage down from my room, Pastor Victor had arrived to take us to the airport. I quickly microwaved a plate of last night's leftovers, apologizing for the delay as the food reheated. Hamburger with crispy garlic cheddar broccoli tots.
Lunch (~2:00 PM) - A couple hours into the flight from Chicago to Tokyo, the magic moment had arrived. Is it weird that I got excited for plane food? Probably. But, if nothing else, food was a welcome distraction.
The stewardess asked, "hamburger or fish?" Naturally I went with the fish while Pat opted for the hamburger. We were both pleased with our selections. Afterwards, we were given vanilla ice cream and a choice of black or green tea (I chose both since Pat didn't want tea).
Dinner (~10:00 PM) - Almost there... this second meal gave us nourishment we needed to hold us over for the final 3 hours. Chicken or Beef? Me beef, Pat chicken.
Not bad, although I had no interest in eating the bok choy. I also thought it was amusing that I once again chose the more Asian option while Pat ended up with the more Western-style dish.
Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? (~2:00 PM Tokyo time) - It's hard to keep track of time at this point, let alone what meal we are technically on. I was just happy to have landed. Leg 2 of 3 complete.
Ahhhhhhh yes. Finally. My dad hooked us up with United "VIP" Lounge passes so we headed over to take full advantage. After popping a squat, we took a gander at their unlimited food and drink selection.
Brains addled by the euphoria of trading the risen plane for the Rising Sun, we put a little too much emphasis on the "unlimited" part of the deal. We gorged ourselves on cheap sushi which, though the filling was a bit on the meager side, was nevertheless palatable. Besides, I'm much more a fan of simple sushi and it was certainly a step above some that I've had Stateside. Also available were various Japanese-style crackers and a rather impressive drink selection complete with free alcoholic beverages including beer served in tall, chilled beer glasses and beautiful, perfectly-shaped ice cubes. However, neither Pat nor I drink so he stuck with ginger ale while I selected Oolong tea. Pat cleverly determined to house his ale in one of the chilled beer glasses while I couldn't resist spiffing up my tea with a few of those handsome cubes.
After resting for a bit, we set out to explore the airport. I had some USD on me so we decided to play a game. We would scour the airport shops and get the coolest thing(s) we could find for $20 (~2500 yen). Our haul: 1 Ebi Filet-O, 1 Teriyaki Burger, and 1 Sakura Shake (all from Japanese McDonald's), and a Samurai lunch box featuring 3 different food compartments including a bowl for a head. Not bad, I think. We also saw a $900 (USD) rice cooker that had me seriously second-guessing whether the exchange rate was what I thought it was. Who goes to the airport and thinks, "you know what I need? A 100,000 ¥ rice cooker."
We rushed back to the lounge to charge our electronics and take a quick rest before boarding our final flight.
Dinner (~7:00 PM Tokyo time) - Wasn't expecting to be served a meal on this flight. Truthfully, I was still stuffed from the adventures of just a couple hours ago but far be it from me to refuse free food! Seafood or pork? Pat selected the former, and I the latter.
I don't think it was bad but I wasn't really feeling food at this point. I was, however, amused to note that I happened to select noodles for the 4th consecutive meal.
Overall, not a bad day, food wise ("free" is a curious little seasoning that makes everything taste better). However, I'm sooo ready to get the next chapter underway. TAIWAN SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT.