Mon, 2/6/23, Day 1: a Zipair review

We woke up at 6am, called an Uber at 7:45am, was a little apprehensive since Uber wasn’t updating the driver’s status, but he arrived in 9 mins. It’s been 3 years since we’ve used Uber, and from our home to SJC cost $21 now (used to be $13?). Zipair is a low budget airline, and if you go in knowing that, I think it’s pretty smooth. The counter was in the domestic terminal instead of the international. There were a good amount of agents checking us in. There was no automatic online checkin since they weigh your bags at the counter. I thought they would weigh our backpacks since carryons were stated to have to be less than 15lbs, but they didn’t even ask (We’re traveling just with backpacks and no check in baggage…we didn’t bring much clothing since we figured we’re probably going to buy some clothes at Uniqlo…tax free shopping for foreigners!). We don’t have Global Entry (just TSA precheck), so we had to use the regular line for security. Anson of course wanted a pat down since he doesn’t like going thru the naked body scanner…sigh.

The Club SJC airport lounge was directly in front of our gate A15, so it was nice to be able to relax and grab free breakfast before our flight. We specifically got the Capital One Venture X card for zero foreign transaction fees and Priority Pass lounge access. I first was disappointed in the food that was out, but then I found out that there was a QR code at each table where we could order hot food. We got scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, potatoes, yogurt, oatmeal, fruit, blueberry muffins and coffee. Anson says I have no shame, but I packed our leftovers to bring on our flight so that we wouldn’t have to buy food on our flight (again, this is a budget airline so you would have to pay for anything extra like baggage, food, seating, etc). They say that international lounges are much better than American ones. Too bad we forgot to refill our water bottle after security and will have to pay for some on the flight…grr.

We were automatically assigned seats 30A and 30C with 30B, the middle seat, empty. I’m guessing that since the plane is only half full, they assigned it so that we could have the row to ourselves. I was afraid that we’d be separated for the flight, but I guess since we were booked together, they usually keep people together (?) There are many empty rows and some people are just switching to those seats to have a whole row to themselves, but when Anson sat somewhere else, they kicked him out -__-. You can purchase food/goods before your flight and you’ll get your stuff pretty quickly after take off. Afterwards, they open it up for shopping for everyone else. We bought 3 bottles of water for $1.92 each…our own fault 🙂 Note that both my devices (my Samsung Galaxy 8 and IPad Air 2) couldn’t connect to the Wi-Fi (even without connection, they do have a small library of movies and music to stream), but I wasn’t able to order food without Wi-Fi. Anson’s ZTE Axon Mini 7 was able to connect (though spotty at times), so he had to order. At least I downloaded a bunch of movies beforehand. Update 2 hours in…I’m connected! There are outlets at the front of each seat so you don’t have to worry about your bad battery life. The windows don’t have shades, but dimmers! So cool!

Cost: Zipair tickets (this was an amazing price…$469 round trip nonstop from SJC…normally it is over $1000 for one person) $939.22 + 3 bottles of water 750 yen ($5.76) = $944.98

Sun, 2/5/23, 8pm t-minus 12 hours

I woke up at around 4:30am today cuz I’m just too excited to sleep. We went to church today and talked to Emily and Sharon during the break between Sunday Service and Sunday School. We walked to Costco to try to get a price match for my boots, but since it was over 30 days, they would only let me buy a new pair and return my old one (?). We decided not to do it and just eat the $10 difference because that is just such a waste in resources…wouldn’t it make more sense for me to just take back my old shoes instead of me getting a brand new pair? We then went to Great America and took advantage (16th time on the 2023 pass) of the dining pass and ate at the Sierra Creek Lodge. We got a cheeseburger w/ fries. They have a salad bar with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and pickles, and sparkling water. We went on the 3D ride Mass Effect. There was hardly anyone at GA because of the rain, but I kinda like it that way since you don’t have to contend with crowds. Took a nap and then we’ve finished most of our food in the fridge. Gonna go out for a walk and then probably try to sleep by 10pm…we’re gonna have a long day tomorrow 🙂

Sat, 2/4/23, 10pm t-minus 36 hours

Japan is really happening…it’s been a while since we’ve done an international trip. Last time was Barcelona in 2019, then pandemic happened and we’ve mostly only have done road trips or flights to LA. I’m excited yet nervous at the same time. Apprehensive since Japan is known for being more homogenous and not knowing English very well, but we’ll have data and will probably survive using google maps and translate. I bought the JR pass, Disneysea tickets, and a data SIM card. I exchanged $200 to yen, but if we need more, we’ll bring out debit cards to exchange for currency. Anson and I are only going with backpacks and they can only weigh 15lbs if we don’t wanna pay for the carry on. Yes, we’re a little crazy 🙂 but I really believe it’s doable. We probably won’t bring too much clothing besides what we wear on to the plane (granted, I’m planning on wearing 3 pairs of pants), and we’re planning on buying clothes at Uniqlo since they are everywhere and foreigners just need to show their passports to get tax free shopping for goods. I applied for the Capital One Venture X card so that we can have food at the airport lounges before and after our flights.