I love airplane food. And inflight movies, if the screen is large enough. Airplane food was way better 20-odd years ago, in my opinion. I remembered as a student being served a superbly juicy (smallish) piece of steak that was done medium, and that was on economy class flying Malaysia Airlines.

I fly Emirates for a good number of years now, and I have to say, the variety available which was made pretty abundant has declined, thankfully not rapidly. I splashed a tad on my recent flight home, thus I was able to partake more than the usual fare I’d get on cattl… I mean, economy.

Leg one

Served with a side of seasonal salad of rocket, radicchio etc. and bread, I chose the tuna tataki (seared tuna) which came with some daikon radish and interestingly, pesto that’s made of shiso (紫蘇) – a mint-like leaf that I first encountered at a kaitenzushi in Kyōto two years ago. The taste was pretty interesting as the shiso complimented the tuna which was relatively fresh as this was an inflight meal. The daikon was unfortunately a tad microscopic, I’ve to add. I had the braised beef as a main which was tender although a tad salty. It was a good thing that the choc & passion fruit torte at the end made up for it.


海街diary / Umimachi Diary

The film (English title. Our Little Sister) had both Ayase Haruka and Nagasawa Masami – two reasons good enough to make me choose this film although it’s a bit of a big girl’s blouse.

The story is based on a manga (aren’t they all) about the three Kōda sisters living together in Kamakura. News of their estranged father’s demise led them to meeting their half-sister named Suzu (Hirose Suzu) at the funeral, following which the eldest sister, Sachi (Ayase), invited Suzu to come live in Kamakura. The whole film has a “slice-of-life” feel to it that may come across as tad bland, showing the dynamics of four different character traits among the four sisters (the stoic Sachi, the boyfriend-switching Yoshino, the happy-go-lucky Chika and the football ace Suzu), which are well done (all four actors were nominated at 2014 Japanese Academy Awards/Nippon Akademī-shō). The film was also selected to compete at Cannes for the Palme d’Or in 2015 which is no mean feat.


Leg two

The same salad. That was the only thing that was the same, thankfully. The grilled chicken breast slices weren’t too dry, thankfully. Had to Google what a tapenade is, but if what I read was correct, this was more sun-dried tomatoes – which is nice, so don’t get me wrong. By this time, ayah was a tad satiated and he opted for the lighter mushroom soup, but he had given up by the time his main course arrived. I wasn’t relenting and had the roast tenderloin, and bookended the meal with the choc truffle. Not so keen on the cherry compote, though.


ギャラクシー街道 / Galaxy Turnpike

I was delighted to find another Mitani Kōki-helmed flick in the list, and I was ready to be enthralled by another of his quirky stories that is supported by an ensemble cast. The story was of a diner in space located on a now-forgotten route called the Galaxy Turnpike (kinda like the premise in Pixar’s Cars) managed by Noa (Katori Shingo of SMAP) and his missus, Noe (Ayase Haruka. Again.). Due to the dwindling space traffic on the turnpike, Noa wants to return to Earth as business is not too good, and he’s suspecting Noe is having an affair. The diner began to get patrons, ranging from a dentist waiting to meet an escort, to a slimy toad-like alien hungry for a hamburger (surprisingly played by the singer TM Revolution) all of whom seem to have stories of their own, and all of this, is being observed (and narrated as a voice-over) by a bespectacled public official named Hashimoto, who is sat in a corner with his laptop and being bothered by animated cartoon animals and a nameless mime with a red balloon. No, I’m not smoking anything.

If you have watched enough Japanese films or TV dramas, you’d recognise many of the cast members, some of whom are playing roles that you’d least expect (like Oguri Shun’s Captain Socks character). Nishida Toshiyuki appears to be a regular in Mitani’s films although in this one his role is pretty minor where he plays a computer hologram giving advice, most of which are useless as they are pre-recorded, to Noa and Noe. The story did elicit genuine laughs and this one comes highly recommended.