The Upcoming Trip – Itinerary + Blog Changes

Tomorrow morning, we’re off to the airport. We’ll be gone for the whole month! Just how busy have we been getting ready? Busy enough to have posts written but get too jammed to post them, two nights running?

Oops.

So, post is about two things – sharing our itinerary about where we’re going, and explaining what’s happening with the blog while we’re away. And, it’s a bit longer than our usual Monday fare by way of apology for being quiet over the weekend!

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Some Last Minute Changes?

I’m working like mad with Ed to get everything ready for Japan (and continue keeping everything else we have our hands in running as usual), and of course I have a mini anxiety attack.

Looking at our plan, one place I was never 100% on looked a little iffy again. The hotel was so brand new it’s not on Google Maps, it was the longest trip to get there (7h, or 6 if we got to the train station for 7:30 am), transit getting around there was iffy, it seemed pretty kitsch, and there was another option for a similar trip as a day trip from Tokyo.

We also, after working on our plan, were sad we hadn’t booked more time in the mountain city Takayama and wished we had more time in Japan to really get into the less tourist-y areas, and maybe add that day trip we had talked about.

A quick discussion and a search later we had changed our minds on what we were doing (here’s a tip for last minute changes, if it’s not TOO last minute: always get reservations you can cancel for free. Then, when you make changes, give yourself 24 hours with both itineraries. Then, when sure, delete the one you REALLY don’t want – we actually ended up deleting our old itinerary just a couple minutes ago, even if we booked the new hotels last night).

We’re super psyched, as we added a night to Takayama and 2 nights to Tokyo – but gave ourselves 2 experiences we hadn’t had previously (since Japan is too booked for April now and we could not extend our hotel stays): we now are staying in a historical mountain house in Takayama and a love hotel in Tokyo! We’re also in great shape to do a day trip to Hakone and some neat areas near Yokohama.

Didn’t think I could get more excited… but now I am!!!

This is Hida Gasshoen, a historical mountain home (or at least a good recreation – I couldn’t easily find confirmation) turned into a Ryokan.

Oh, I’m SO excited!!

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Gonna Miss These Floofs

The hardest thing about getting ready for Japan hasn’t been packing for mountains, beaches and everything in between, or the language and distance hurdles, or making sure our co-workers won’t let things descend into anarchy while we’re away.

By a wide margin, it’s getting ready for a whole month without our pets.

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A Quick Packing Tip

I’m pretty notorious for bringing a lot of stuff back from vacation… my family will sure be quick to tell you just how insane it was to get all my crap home after my 10 month stay on France (they were especially horrified when they saw the 5×3 foot poster I was keen to bring back).

But I do like to decorate my home with mementos of adventures past, and therefore I like to try to figure out the best way to bring them back – and the trick we’re using for Japan comes from how my family managed to get my stuff back from France (in much smaller quantities this time though…).

Edward and I are borrowing my parents’ hard suitcase, and it’s a medium-large sized one. All of our things are being packed in that or our two carry-ons. We want the hard one for any fragile things we may bring back.

We then have a big soft-sided suitcase. We are then shoving the medium one inside the large one (it actually JUST fits so it’s deceivingly big). This way, we are effectively traveling with and empty suitcase – until we finally need some extra room!

One would hope that’s all the space we’re going to need…

(Picture not included as my parents need the suitcase for their upcoming trip to Spain :))

If you can pack small and want to bring back a lot, try it for yourselves!

Everything you can do… Japan can rock harder?

Japan seems to have a tradition for taking foreign concepts and improving them – sometimes to the embarrassment of the nation which treated said concept as a national point of pride.

Trains? How about bullet trains which run accurate almost to the second?

Baseball? Turns out Japan is ranked 1st in the World Baseball Classic standings (the only form of baseball not widely known or popular in the USA… which ranks 8th).

As a tangent to research before our big trip, I discovered that Japan’s rock and metal music scene is… pretty amazing.

Sex Pistols? Please. Japan has the Sex Machineguns. Really.

French maids shredding on guitars? Check.

Thugged-out baseball gang from an 80’s high school movie laying down the nu-something-core version of a diss track? Okay, Sand really, really isn’t my thing, but it exists. So yeah.