The flight was really bad. R started off tired, since we had to wake her up in the middle of the night (we left the house at 3:30 am; usually she sleeps until 8 or 9 am). I managed to get her to sleep after we boarded, but then they served breakfast, and the noise/light woke her up. She didn't sleep again for more than 15 minutes straight during the entire flight to Tokyo (7.5 hours).
Instead, she cried. She didn't spend the entire time screaming, but that's about all that can be said. She whined, fussed, and had multiple screaming fits. She liked her special snacks and toys, but they didn't amuse her for very long. Sadly, she wasn't interested in TV. What she really wanted to do was run up and down the aisles: but since Japan was experiencing the remnants of a typhoon, we had to stay in our seats for almost the entire trip. This led to numerous tantrums, as R attempted to escape the prison of my lap.
The flight to San Francisco was a little better, because R was too exhausted by this point to put up as much of a fight. She even slept, for about two hours (the flight is over 10 hours). B had several beers (R's fussing doesn't usually upset him, as he's pretty stoic, proof things were bad), but my stomach troubles mean alcohol is off limits. I wonder if parents generally drink more than the childless? I can definitely see the appeal...
Traveling with a screaming baby means that I became one of those people, the ones that make fellow travelers contemplate childlessness and/or murder. I was glad we weren't traveling with mostly Americans (a very child-unfriendly nation), so no one yelled at me. Actually we got complimented on our parenting skills, which I really appreciate (and must remember to do the same for other frazzled parents; it was very kind). At least for the first leg we had no seat mate, and for the second he had cleverly brought Bose noise cancelling headphones (a must for frequent travelers who don't have children).
My father met us at the airport and things started looking up. R cried in the car despite more snack bribery, but was charmed and delighted with her new house. My parents made her an entire toy corner in the living room, plus an outdoor play area. She now has a toy car to ride in, a slide, a swing, a playhouse, a wading pool, a toy stroller, a doll as big as she is, a child-sized table and chairs, a baby easy chair (with Dora the explorer branding), and boxes of toys. The pleasures of being spoiled by your grandparents!