JAL (Japan Airlines) First Class Product Review

Well, today was a first of firsts….My first experience in FIRST CLASS. It was all it was cracked up to be but is it really worth 11-13K? I’ll let you decide.

Let’s start with the lounge at Narita. The first class lounge was under construction so while it was less crowded, if I really wanted anything like a shower, massage chairs or to take a nap, I had to go downstairs to the Business class lounge. It was a nuisance but not a deal breaker. One bonus about the first class lounge was the sushi bar (note: only 3 pieces per person at a time) but the fish is so fresh it literally melts in your mouth. Honestly, if you have been to one airport lounge, you have been to them all.

Let’s get to the main event…the flight: JAL #4 from NRT to JFK…FIRST CLASS.

The boarding process: was a joke. And to be honest a bit unorganized. In the beginning, First Class felt almost feels like Senior Business Class. All classes trampled through, no real line-up process. Everyone seemed in a clump, not a line. The boarding process was erratic at best, and the flight was delayed by almost an hour.

At this point I was not impressed, but still willing to give it a shot because the seats were soooooo BIG and comfy. Imagine a super big lounge chair that your grandpa would read the paper in. Seriously, the seat width between armrests was 23 inches, while in bed mode it was 33 inches wide and 78.5 inches long, so my lil 5’3in self was in Heaven.

I’m not gonna lie, one of the MAIN reasons I love the leather seats is because I am afraid of a British Airlines incident. (for those that don’t know, a Business class passenger sat in a seat full of URINE. I have no desire to be soaked in urine and it’s easier to spot, as well as clean leather. AND, I am THAT person with the Wet Ones and Lysol. #nottodaysatan 

Biggest Drawback: THE POWER OUTLET. It’s near the television monitor,(you can see it’s where my little toes can’t even reach), not CLOSER to the passenger as in most aircraft. It’s far enough away that if you are using an iPhone and standard cord, it will not make it back to your seat within a matter of mere centimeters.

Seating was a 1-2-1 configuration, 8 seats total in first class.

Next: Let’s Talk Amenities aka Face Masks, and Toothpaste and BOSE…OH MY

The meal service is what I read most about on the blogs. And the menu was simple, clean lines, like the decor. The service is known as JAL BEDD and after all the hype I couldn’t wait to try the food and of course the champagne.

The ENTIRE menu:

First the drinks…which was just changed March 1, 2019 …so I got to try the current selection.

and trust I tried ALL the champagne…

The Signature Champagne is EVERYTHING…and at a retail value of around $600 a bottle it should be. Light and fruity, and very crisp. It demands your attention. I almost feel as if it should be enjoyed without food, however their food is so delicious, it’s like Sophie’s Choice. #icant

2nd The 2009 Cristal (about$250 per bottle) while good, it really did pale in comparison that i didn’t even write any notes. WOW! Sorry Cristal.

3rd:Comtes De Champagne Welp ($200) …I’m back in the groove. And I must admit I enjoyed this champagne alot, maybe because I was about 4 glasses in but this one had a dry and crisp taste, like new money.

Then there was the food, and of course Lexie decides to make an appearance. She only shows up for the booze and upgrades, but back to the food….and I can’t lie the menu was TOO extensive for me to post, and I was a bit sleepy. I however chose the “Japanese Menu” and have pics of that plus some of the dish


While the entire meal was delicious and filling a few things stand out…the seasoned rice was delightful to my tummy. The caviar with wafer cake melted in my mouth. I loved it. The Steamed Savory Egg Custard was so good, I asked for another…the food was DELICIOUS.

Now I’m sleepy, so I go to the restroom to change into my pajamas, and before I go in the cabin attendant asks if I’d like her to make my bed and if I would prefer “hard or soft”. I chose soft and stepped into the loo. Which was a basic Premium class loo. Tidy with tons of toothpaste and mouthwash. There was one thing that puzzled me:

A Bidet ? On an Airplane? Ummmm…NOPE. I know certain airlines have used them since early 2000 but #Hardpass

A Bidet ? On an Airplane? Ummmm…NOPE. I know certain airlines have used them since early 2000 but #Hardpass

And Now time to get some sleep.

The 12.5 hour ride while long I never went hungry, or thirsty. The attendants were quick to come pour you a glass. The movies were current enough to keep me entertained, however the main attraction was the bed. I have never slept so soundly on a plane.

All in all, a stellar 1st time experience. Only thing is now I want it AGAIN. #aboutthatlife

It’s a Ryokan Life

A couple of years ago I went to Tokyo for the first time. While I was there I met a guy who was awesome and we dated while I was there, and when he'd come to NYC. The thing with dating across the ocean is you get lonely. One day I asked him to send me a pic. He did. The difference is in this pic he looked totally relaxed and very Japanese formal yet informal. Like some sort of Japanese Tea service.  He explained to me he was staying the night in a ryokan...a ryo..what?

A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese Inn which stems from the 8th century. They are hard to find in a big city like Tokyo as many of the Japanese have taken to western culture and hotels, however in the smaller towns you can find them, but be prepared they are EXPENSIVE.

As a treat my friend surprised me with a two-day trip to Kyoto as well as a Ryokan. It was so charming, seeing old world Japan.

A Ryokan: The Traditional Japanese Setting

My apologies as I was so excited I did not get pics of the bathroom, and because of other clients no pics of the Japanese baths, but it was glorious.

Definitely an experience but for the price and sleeping on a floor...well I prefer the St.Regis.

Tokyo Memories

Seems like just yesterday I was walking the streets of Tokyo glancing at vending machines which had everything from little toys to full meals ...in a VENDING machine. #icantevendeal #mindblown

Tokyo was a treat for the senses from the food, the sites and even a little romance. 

 

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the city is mine for the taking...Tokyo♥️ 

 

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cooking class...lunch. #nomnom  

 

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dinner time ... 

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new friends

performing in Tokyo open 🎤  

performing in Tokyo open 🎤  

time to say goodbye my love ...cue #sadface

time to say goodbye my love ...cue #sadface

Cooking in Tokyo...easy as 1,2,3 with ABC Cooking Studio

Whenever I go off on an adventure, I try to immerse myself in the culture. While in Japan I did not only attempt to eat all of Tokyo but wanted to learn to make some sushi as well. I then went to my boyfriend, Mr. Google and found a tour of the fish market with a cooking class. SCORE!!!

The morning was wet and cold, but the people in my tour were kind and warm: a family from Chicago (who travels all the time to NYC), a couple of guys from NYC, and a family from Italy:

The day begins...all smiles

The day begins...all smiles

The day began walking thru the fish market. It was crazy hectic and they WILL run you over in their fish carts... (don't forget to click on pic to see the next one if slide show option doesn't run on your computer)

After touring the market. We split up into two groups.  ABC Cooking Studio is great because they keep their classes and instruction in very small groups of six, therefore the Midwestern family went off with their instructor, which left Team NYC vs Team Italy. However I don't really think that was fair as Team Italy was made up of a chef, pastry chef and their kid who was charming, as well as creative. I was nervous, but they give you Sake to drink as you cook so I just drank until we got better.

It was a fun adventure and costs less than 60$ USD. If ever in Tokyo and you've ever wanted to try your hand at making sushi...then ABC Cooking Studio is for you. Remember how we started the day off...all smiles, well this is how it ended:

ALL Smiles...

ALL Smiles...

And I graduated:

More Excited Today Than First time...I CAN WRITE MY NAME

I can't really recall the first time I learned to write my name. I'm sure there were high fives, and all the accolades a 3 or 4 year old could handle. However the memories are not mine, just the faint ones of bystanders who are no longer of this earth so I can't even get a play by play.

Yup, if I wanted to know the feeling or perhaps obtain it once more, well it's up to me. Traveling is my time to be brave. To try the things I've always wanted to but a bit apprehensive to do so. A time to pull a NIKE and 'Just Do It"...and that's exactly what I did.

I love travel. I used to like it because it gave me the opportunity to find the perfect gift for just about everyone under the sun. It also increased my baggage fees. This trip I've decided to spend my money on learning and adventures. This way I could use my knowledge and make handmade authentic gifts.

Japan's class of choice was a calligraphy class...where I learned how to write the symbol for "Spring" and "Sakura" (Cherry Blossom) as it was that time of year. I don't believe I could have picked a more beautiful time to be in Tokyo if I had tried. The blossoms were in full bloom last week, the weather was PERFECT on all the days I had planned outdoor activities, and the food was delicious. Best week ever. Besides the two symbols I also learned how to write my name. Believe me, I have never been so giddy with delight when my instructor...stood over me and said "good job. Good FIRST try" ...it was then where I started to feel the heat of the Japanese. Trying would only get me so far. I would have to DO.

I googled and googled until I found the website Veltra, I did not have a problem with their services however after my dealings with services like these I always recommend to save money book with company direct. This tour is ran by True Japan Tour. My instructor for my private was a strong and silent type: Mr Hideki Shimizu who was everything I would expect from my instructor: patient, kind, judgemental and pushed me because he KNEW I could do it. He was perfect. He and his assistant(Ms. Yuri ) taught me how to grate and grind my own ink, as well as how to use already prepared ink, the size and width of my brushes, the grade of papers etc.

I did not take many pictures as the setup reminded me of a class/learning experience nor did I feel as if it would be appropriate. The class was an hour in it's entirety. The beginning was history of calligraphy both Japanese and Chinese as the symbols we used came from the Kanji. And a brief overview of the history of the calligraphy, then about 30 min writing my name, and the symbols in both Japanese and Chinese, and then I was given a piece of hard cardboard with gold trim...and I made my masterpiece:

My full name along side the symbol for spring (top) and Sakura/Cherry Blossom (bottom)

My full name along side the symbol for spring (top) and Sakura/Cherry Blossom (bottom)