The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

Tokyo is for lovers…Sushi lovers!

I’ll never forget the first time I visited Japan. I wasn’t a flight attendant yet, I think I was eighteen, and I joined a family member on her Narita layover. I had a little over twenty four hours in Japan and in that time, my culinary desires were to have gyoza and teriyaki. When I think back, I cringe at this because I know how much I was missing out on. Although, I definitely was onto something regarding the idea of consuming as much gyoza as possible while in Japan. But at the time, I claimed to hate sea food. I know, sacrilege coming from a Seattle, girl. Perhaps because I grew up watching men toss around fish at the Pike Place Market, the thought of eating it just never did anything for me.

My culinary experiences in Japan greatly changed during my second visit. That fateful trip to Tokyo changed my life…and my taste buds…forever. Let me tell you how it happened.

My trip to Tokyo by way of NRT (Narita), started off grandly. I was able to get a seat, which for us standby folks is always a good sign. Of course, my Delta crew treated me like a rock star, which on a ten hour flight is so appreciated. I enjoyed cocktails, amazing food and four in-flight movies! Needless to say, I was sleepy, but pumped to explore Tokyo once again.

 

Luv Aviatrix goes to Tokyo via NRT

 

Yay, I’m back in Japan!

 

For this trip, I said that I was going to eat anything and be completely adventurous. Since Japan is an island, they obviously have amazing fresh fish and the Tsukiji Fish Market is famous world wide. So of course, it was my first stop. According to my travel guides, it’s important to get to the Tsukiji Fish Market nice and early. I didn’t necessarily need to see the first catches being brought in, so I didn’t show up before the sun, but I did plan on having an early lunch there and carousing most of the stands before any tourists showed up.

 

I was amazed at all the goods offered at the market, including fresh catches of squid, octopus, and fish I’d never even heard of. I was definitely inspired to pop into one of the Tsukiji Fish Market sushi shops. After all, if anyone could convert me into a sushi person, perhaps it would be Japan. I stepped inside a tiny establishment within the market and felt good about the number of locals that had already come inside to enjoy sushi. A conveyer belt wrapped around the tiny room with plates of beautifully crafted sushi and sashimi concoctions.

 

Tsukiji Fish Martket, The Luv Aviatrix's Guide to the best Sushi in Tokyo, Japan

 

Although nothing was in English, I decided to try everything, even if I didn’t know what it was! I decided my method was simple, grab the pretty sushi plates as they passed by. Although my Japanese was iffy at best, it didn’t matter because the Sushi house was self serve and even included spigots of tea at every station. Just being in this environment was super fun because I’d never eaten at a place like this before!

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

Every plate of Sushi was so beautiful, it was obvious that the Sushi chefs took their time in creating these culinary masterpieces. The beauty in these dishes definitely made me feel brave to try new things and I quickly grabbed my first plate from the sushi belt.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to the best sushi in Tokyo, Japan

 

 

Since I had always been anti-sea food, I have no idea what fish were on my sushi plate. I was eager to taste one of the mini art pieces though and quickly discovered something…it was amazing! That’s right, I didn’t know what it was, but it was probably the most amazing thing I’d ever tasted. The sushi melted in my mouth as if it had never been whole. That’s how fresh this fish was. Utterly amazing. I was convinced. Sushi, so far, was amazing and I’d definitely be having more than one plate!

Flight Attendant Tip: Although I was a sushi newbie, Japan taught me that traditionally, you’re supposed to eat the entire sushi in one bite. I found this hard believe and impossible at first (there was a very unflattering photo to prove it), but I soon got the hang of it. I definitely understand that by consuming the sushi in one bite, all the flavors are absorbed at the same time. And because good sushi melts in your mouth, the large bite is rendered palatable quite quickly.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

It took all of my travel courage to take the above plate off the sushi belt, mainly because it had a face. But it was so unique to Japan, almost symbolic as a dish, I just had to. This little guys sacrifice wasn’t in vain and I salivated for moments after finishing this amazing dish, contemplating all I had been missing during my seafood-free life.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

Above: I still don’t know what this is or what different things are in it…but it was amazing. A trend I noticed eating all this sushi is that every bite melted in my mouth. And despite all my preconceived notions, nothing tasted fishy. I was told later that fresh fish shouldn’t smell “fishy”.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

Above: This plate ended up being my absolute favorite. The slight sear on top was like the icing on the cake, but um, for sushi. Since I was so Sushi illiterate, I had no idea until later that it was Unagi, also known as Eel! Who knew that this anti-sea food gal from the Pacific Northwest would go to Japan and get hooked on Eel? Not me, but to this day, my go-to date night dinner is Unagi from our local sushi joint. I <3 Unagi!

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

In all honesty, although Tokyo has converted me into a sushi lover, the above dish was the only one I didn’t love. I finished it, but the fish eggs were a bit salty for my taste. I definitely think if you’ve never tried them before, that you should. The texture is very interesting. They’re soft and squishy like Jell-O, but have a bit of a crunch as you bite into them.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

How Much Will it Cost?

You will be amazed when I tell you that even though this was the most amazing sushi I’ve ever had (and since my first visit I had sushi just about everywhere) the plates of sushi were about $1 US dollar each. Isn’t that amazing? How it works is that different colored plates equal different prices. At the time of my visit, plate started as low as .50 cents. That’s right, you can get one of those beautiful sushi plates pictured for less than a dollar! The most expensive plate I had was $2. That means that the Tsukiji Fish Market has sushi for every budget. Heck, I ate like a queen at this amazing place! Look at all those plates I went through and it was less than $10 USD!

 

For my fellow flight crew, it’s cheaper to fly to Tokyo (including zed fares) and eat at Tokyo’s fish market than to have sushi at some restaurants in the states. No joke, a similar plate to what I got in Tokyo would be $24 USD at Los Angeles Sushi house, Katsuya. For one person to eat there easily racks up to over $100 dollars, and you’ll leave hungry if you’re not rich and famous. On my budget, I can’t even afford to step in the door. For less than $100, flight crew can nonrev to Tokyo and take a train or bus to the Tsukiji fish market area of downtown Tokyo. Even if you need to purchase a zed fare, it’s usually not more than $6o round trip. So why not hop over to Tokyo for an amazing lunch as just fly back? I did 🙂

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

 Final Verdict:The Luv Aviatrix, a flight attendant, enjoys the Tsukiji Fish Market

Absolutely, anyone that visits Japan needs to visit Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market and have sushi while you’re there. Even if you’re like me and think you hate sea food, when I finally gave it a chance, the fresh fish blew my mind. Sushi really is an art form in Japan. Although Tokyo has many different areas to explore, do not leave without experiences the Tsukiji Fish Market. You’ll feel like you’re in a different world! And isn’t that what traveling is for?

So, are you are a sushi addict or are you ready to be converted?

Happy Traveling

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to the best Sushi in Japan. The Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

 

Ready to plan your trip to Tokyo? My bookshelves would be empty without all my great travel books to get me ready!

 

 

Got Jet Blast? Maho Beach, Baby!

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Where do two aviation nerds go for a romantic getaway? I was thinking sand, sun, tropical waters, rum drinks and…the roar of jet engines. And of course, get in touch with my inner dash trash… After all, jets aren’t everything. Maho Beach, baby! #JetBlast #PropQueen4Life

Where else could my love and end up besides Maho Beach, the famous beach in Sint Maarten where planes land right over a gorgeous stretch of beach. Nothing beats the way the ground shakes and your body bows against the sheer power of a 747 descending right on top of you. For my non-airline friends who aren’t sure what an epic sight that is-behold KLM and I on Maho during my last visit.

IMG_7299To get to SXM (Sint Maarten for you non-aviation readers) from where we live in the Bay Area, we took Delta SFO-JFK. I made homemade airplane cookies for the crew, but they got crushed before they made it to the plane, but the crew still had a great smile for my tragic cookies anyway. First class was empty since all the business travelers were home for the weekend and it became employee central.:) Yipee for Nonrev victories!

Jet Blue and DL both do JFK-SXM, but we ended up taking DL to SXM and then all the way back home. BIG SHOUT OUT TO DL FOR SPOILING US ON OUR ROMANTIC GETAWAY.

We wanted to be right on Maho and the only hotel that could satisfy our inner aviation geek is the Sonesta Maho. There are many other hotels on Sint Maarten, but none of them actually sit on the famous Maho beach. So ask yourself, do you want to plane spot from your hotel room or would you rather get away from all the jets? Clearly, we chose to plan spot with all-inclusive drinks in hand and powdery sand at our feet.

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Sonesta Maho Best Available Rate: $372

Sonesta Maho Crew Discount: $174

$174 for two guests, all-inclusive meals and alcoholic beverages is insanely cheap! This is a crew discount that I can get onboard with. I spotted the deal on ID90, then called the hotel to confirm and they booked the room for me. I ended up upgrading to an ocean view room for $200 which is still a steal in my opinion.

Below: View from our balcony at the Sonesta Maho

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We could plane spot from our balcony, the pool and all the restaurants.

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My Review of the Sonesta Maho Beach:

The positive: If you love planes, this is an unbeatable locations. You can see aircraft of all kinds coming in at all hours. You don’t hear them from the hotel rooms so you can still have peace and quiet when you want it. The hotel has tons of activities from Mixology to Dance to Water aerobics, whatever you can think of. My man and I ended up participating in the newlywed game and it was a hilariously good time. The pool is lovely and has a swim-up bar to get your all-inclusive fix of tropical drinks. There are four restaurants on the premises and three of them have stunning beach views. The rooms are nice and come with two bottles of booze and a fridge with mixers. The bathroom is stocked with sun block and big spray (which thank goodness I didn’t have to use) but it was a nice touch.

The Negative: Almost everyone that works here (with the exception of the entertainment crews) will treat you like crap. This hotel probably has the worse service I’ve ever experienced. From the check-in desk to the bar, not a smile to be seen in sight. Want a drink, prepare to be scorned. The food at all of the restaurants is…okay. I would never ever have any kind of special even here due to the quality of food and customer service. Also, no room service, no coffee in the lobby. Just basic hospitality things are missing. On my last day when a convention was being hosted, the hotel put out coffee. Guess the rest of the guests don’t matter.

Final Verdict: For me, the location on the beautiful Maho beach outweighs all the negatives. The beach has powdery sand and clear turquoise waters, and the fact that you can swim in them as KLM descends over…just amazing.

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Besides the incredible moment when KLM descends over Maho, probably one of my favorite plane spotting moments was DHL, whom I will forever more call the Badasses of the Sky! Check out this pic I took below of them giving some of the beach goers a buzz cut.

Once you get outside the resort, the people of Sint Maarten are super friendly and will welcome you with open arms. We took a beautiful sailing excursion, but the snorkeling visibility was non existent due to the wind. We were there four days and it was definitely not enough! I can’t wait to go back and this time will try to make it to Anguilla!

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Have you been to Sint Maarten? Worked it? Let me know what you thought and if you have any other tips because I’m looking forward to going back!

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I’ll leave you with a photo of my expression when I get buzzed by a 787 XOXO JAYE

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Ready to plan a visit? Pin this image for later 🙂

Maho Beach is the most unique beach in the world. Check out this guide to visit and put Sint Maarten on your travel bucket list!

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30 Hours in Bermuda. Got Paradise?

Need a vacation idea? Bermuda blew me away. Here are my tips to getting the most out of your Caribbean vacation in Bermuda. Cave swimming, kayaking, pink sand beaches and tropical drinks await!