I should be packing for the above mentioned trip, but I am procrastinating instead by writing this post. :)
James and I are leaving for a trip to Japan and Hong Kong on Tuesday. The closet Otaku in me has always wanted to go, so I am really excited to finally get the chance. We are officially going in order to attend the Toyota Sera Owners meet-up at the Motorcar Museum of Japan in Komatsu. We take off for Tokyo at around 4:30 pm central time and have a one-hour layover in San Francisco before heading out nonstop to Haneda Airport in Tokyo. The flight time from California to Japan is just a bit over 11 hours, but with the time difference of +14 hours compared to Houston, we will be landing at around 10:30 pm on Wednesday. The Sera event isn't until Saturday, so we have a few days to get our bearings and make our schedule as easygoing or as jam-packed as we want. This will be the longest flight I have taken. Until now, I have only had Houston to Northern Ireland as my longest flight. That flight has a layover in Newark before heading out nonstop over the Atlantic to Belfast, which is about 6 hours. So this trip to Japan will almost double that. I don't mind flying, so I think the only issue will be keeping myself occupied for so long, as I really don't sleep much on planes.
We decided not to rent a car while in Japan, as they are very expensive, and gas isn't cheap either. You also need to have an international driver's license in order to drive if you are not a Japanese citizen. Instead, we booked tickets for a one-week pass on Japan's train system. This JR Pass is sold to people who are coming to Japan for vacations, and the flat fee of about $275 USD is a real bargain. It allows you unlimited access to approved trains, buses and ferries for seven days (you can also purchase a two or three week pass if you will be staying longer). If purchased separately, some of the longer legs on the rail system can be as much or even more than the cost of the JR Pass for a one-way ticket, so it is definitely a way to save money! You can't purchase the JR Pass once you're in Japan, however. The pass must be purchased before you leave, and a voucher for the pass will be mailed out to you so you can pack it in your luggage to take with you. Once you are within Japan, you need to visit a JR office to get the voucher validated and at that point you will be issued your pass. There is an office within the airport, so you can get your voucher exchanged right after you leave the plane.
Since the majority of our travel will be via train and we are not intending to stay in an area for more than a night or two, we decided that backpacks were the way to go. They should be much easier to carry than duffel bags or rolling suitcases, and their compact size should fit nicely on the trains, where storage space is at a premium. We found some heavy-use camping backpacks at a local Academy store and they appear to be able to hold everything we need for the trip. Now we just need to fill them up! I guess I better get going so I can get that started...
Hi, I'm Sarah and I'm a car nut, bird lover, and musician. I have recently transitioned from music teacher to automotive service manager, and there have been lots of cool stories and crazy characters along the way!