Going to Japan with Mina for the first time!

It has been a while since I last posted on my blog, and so many things have happened. I got married, moved to Denmark, got a fixed researcher position at DTU Wind Energy, bought a house in Hillerød, got a daughter named Mina…. And probably a lot more I forgot with all the rest. I plan on writing a bit more in detail about some of this as well, but first I will start with one fresh from my memory – the first flight(s) with my daughter Mina and husband.

We have planned for a while that my husband’s external stay during his PhD in Denmark would be in Japan for 3.5 months while I was on maternity leave, so me and Mina could join. At the time of departure, Mina would be 3 months old. It had seemed like something far out in the future for a long time, but suddenly the time came and we had to leave for Japan! Normally I would be looking forward to the flight and the feeling of going on an adventure, but taking Mina along for the first time, I can’t say that was the case. I guess most new moms and dads worry about a lot of things when bringing their baby on an airplane for the first time, at least we did. It surely did not help that the situation in Ukraine cancelled our direct SAS flight and extended our rebooked Finnair flight to take longer to avoid Russian airspace. But at this point we were just happy that we were able to go, and we had tried to mentally prepare ourselves for a potentially screaming baby on the whole flight. 😆

We arrived in Copenhagen airport quite early and the check-in was not yet open. My mom and her husband had helped us get all our luggage to the airport by driving in 2 cars. We had 4 suitcases and a baby stroller, so we could not fit it in our car by any chance.

I think we noticed quite late that the gate had opened since there was no more queue and we only arrived at the gate 5 minutes before gate closure due to the time it took to register everything and check in our normal luggage and stroller along with security. I was really happy that Mina had accepted (to some extend) the baby carrier, because it was quite a hazzle with all the hand luggage and Mina in security etc.

She even managed to fall asleep before security, so that was a great success that made everything much easier.

I ended up having to breastfeed Mina while walking into the airplane, though, due to timing and we were the last people to enter the plane. 🤦‍♀️ But all in all it was actually perfect timing, since Mina then was happy during takeoff where she had to sit with a seatbelt on, which could have been a lot of screaming if she was in a bad mood.

She was complely fine with the takeoff with no sign of ear pain, so that was a pleasant surprise. Motoki also managed to get her to sleep while seated (she usually demands us to stand up 😅), so she slept for almost one hour out of the 1.5 hours trip to Helsinki.

During landing she was even smiling a lot in her sleep during relatively heavy turbulence. I wonder what she was dreaming. 😅

I had been worried about the short transfer time of only 45 minutes in Helsinki Airport having to also go through passport control etc while carrying Mina, but there were practically no people in the area with the gates for outside EU. There was also no queue for passport control, so it went without any problems, only that my arms got tired carrying Mina as we had no time to change her from being wrapped in her blanket to the baby carrier.
When we got into the airplane, we had the entire row of 4 seats for ourselves, and there were also no one sitting at the other seat next to ours. With JAL we didn’t have to put a seatbelt on Mina, just hold her tight, so that made everything easier.

Just when we arrived in the airplane, we found out that Mina had peed (a lot) through her diaper 😅. They had informed us that the plane was delayed and we wouldn’t take off for the next 20 minutes, so we would have time to change it. Just when Motoki was in the middle of changing it, they suddenly announced that we would instead depart in 3 minutes. The next thing I knew, Motoki came rushing out of the toilet with a half naked baby only wearing a diaper and a body stocking barely put over her head being passed to me. I managed to the clothes on her and we got back to our seats before take off, but it was a bit of a circus. 🤣

When Mina finally fell asleep we were also able to make use of the baby cabinet that Motoki had worked hard to book before hand (calling Finnair and JAL back and forth, but saying it is the other company that had to do it). It was great to be able to get our hands completely free when she was sleeping.

The food on the plane was also quite good – as expected of Japanese airlines. 😁👍

The flight was long (14 hours) but comfortable, and Mina did great during the whole trip. Only during the last part of the landing, she started crying a bit more, but we would still have felt that she had done excellent even if she had been crying hysterically at this point. 😍

When we arrived in Haneda airport in Japan, we had to go through some checks related to corona, but the procedures has been improved a lot as long as you have done some paperwork from home, so it went relatively smoothly. The most difficult part was to carry all the hand luggage + Mina + all the papers we had to pass between each checkpoint. Mina also didn’t particulaly like getting a stick in her nose (corona test), but it was over quickly. Immigration also went without any problems at all, and when we got out luggage we could finally put Mina in the baby stroller and relax a bit while waiting for Motoki’s dad to pick us up.

Now we just had to go into the car and relax until we arrived at Motokis parent home, where we could just relax and get Gyoza served in the evening. Looking forward to a relaxing week with the family before we go to our new apartment in Tokyo where we will stay for the next 3.5 months. 😁


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