Things to Read at 30000 feet while traveling to Japan


September 27, 2013 by Terumi

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I am not a good flyer.  We travel a lot and I’m always reminding the hubby that the journey might be just as fun as the destination, but the only place I can’t do this is on an airplane.  And since having withstood about 70 days of hospital bedrest ( I wonder if NASA could back credit me for their study!!) I loathe being confined ANYWHERE for any amount of time. Pre-flight I always allow myself a ton of luxuries.  I buy every book I can think of for my Kindle.  I carry a pack full of chocolates and candies.  And I buy every new magazine on the magazine stand.  Then I spend the whole flight watching the little airplane icon make its minute by minute journey across the map screen from the time we take off until the time we land, all the while clutching my hoard of land treasures.

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Our last flight started quite smoothly so I actually managed to start on a book.  I bought Pretty Good Number One: An American Family eats Tokyo, because I panicked that I hadn’t done a thorough enough research job for Tokyo and what we’d do when we landed.  Little did I know that I bought a book about a fellow Seattle family who loves food and traveling with their clan.  It’s inspiring me to figure out how to also spend a month away in Japan and I loved hearing the Seattle-Tokyo connections while I devoured the book.  (I totally finished it on the 9 hour flight by the way and the hubby can almost quote a fair chunk of it now because I keep sharing tidbits I’ve learned as we walk around Japan.)  I definitely recommend this book if you’re thinking about traveling to Tokyo with kids.

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The boys’ airplane reading material was also about travel this time.  They like a new book about a train by another Seattle author called The Thunderbolt Express.  I really like Matthew Porter’s animal illustrations-I remember buying an alphabet board book from him at the Fremont Market years ago when the babies were little.  This book is all about his monkeys and they are pretty mischievous and some of them are borderline evil-looking but my guys love this creative adventure story.  It may even become a series and I wonder how some of these silly characters are going to develop and I can just imagine the stories will be equally fun.  I think this book was a good read for Japan because of all the trains I told the kids we were going to ride and I think the monkeys definitely helped my case for going to Arashiyama.  Now I’m researching books for the way back.  Anyone have any good reads?

(PS. I was given a copy of The Thunderbolt Express to review but the ideas here are all my own.  And if you’re curious about the author, I found this neat interview with Matthew Porter in Seattle’s Child. )


  1. Sheena S. says:

    Glad to hear you liked “Pretty Good Number One.” I listen to the author’s podcast, Spilled Milk, which he hosts with one of the owners of Delancey—which is awesome and short (the podcast, not the owner)—and I’ve been meaning to pick up this book for awhile.

    • Terumi says:

      Oh I absolutely loved it! I’m thinking we might just try and head back to Japan for a month next year because of it. I’m serious!

  2. […] upcoming trip because it sounded so good and I love a few of the other reads on her list too. (The pretty good number one book is making me seriously contemplate a summer in […]

  3. […] if you love “An American Family eats Tokyo” as much as I do, you might want to pop into Uwajimaya this Saturday to meet the author and hear about this book.  I […]

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