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Old 07-06-2017   #1 (permalink)
añejo
 
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Japan

Have you ever dreamt of doing something for so long it seems as if it's just a cruel joke that plays over and over in your head? Like a way of torturing yourself because sometimes the only thing keeping you from doing it is yourself.

Sometimes they are big dreams, sometimes they just seem big. Well for me that has been a trip to Japan. I've lost count of how many years I've wanted to go to Japan. 20, 25, maybe more. To me the idea of Japan seems foreign. The language, the shear madness of an address system that has no rhyme or reason to it, the culture, the humanity.

As the years have ticked away, the dream has always been there. Every mention of Japan from a co-worker or friend, every show with Anthony Bourdain exploring the back alleys in Tokyo. Yet as more time has passed it has become a little less "foreign". McDonalds, Starbucks, english menus, craft beer (well I'm actually fine with the craft beer!).

I travel way too much for my job, especially over the last 9 years. Accumulating airline miles for the sole purpose of one day going to Japan in style. Every flight, every mile for 9 years. Dedicated first to American Airlines when I was based in Chicago and now United the last 5 years in Denver. Hotel points too. 9 years of never cashing in a single mile or point. Why? Because one day I was going to cash it in for my dream. One day I was going to book that trip to Japan.

Well, life has a funny way of putting dreams on hold. But guess what? One day is here. I've finally done it. Two round trip tickets to Japan. Two week trip where all but two nights of hotel will be paid with from points. This is no simple trip. I didn't hoard miles and points for 8 years to cut corners. When you bank over 1 million miles between two airlines, it surprising how far you can go. And thank goodness those Marriott miles can be used at different hotels because the thought of staying in a Courtyard in Tokyo just wasn't what I was hoping for.

So the once in a lifetime trip is moving forward. First class on Japan airlines. Hyatt Regency in Kyoto. Bouncing around to small traditional ryokan for a couple nights and then 6 nights at the Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo.

It's hard to comprehend what this means to me. The trip isn't until May of 2018 but when you've been dreaming about something for 25 years, 10 months seems like nothing.

A few things going on between now and then however. I'm getting remarried on September 9th (yeah, it's been a while since I've been on the boards, a lot has happened). Getting married in the most amazing place I have ever been. It is outside of Buena Vista, CO. at an outdoor chapel on chalk creek. I could talk for days about the area but it is between two 14,000 foot peaks in a national forest. Heading down to Tulum for a week after the wedding.

But those are mere speed bumps on the journey to Japan!

I've been keeping a journal since the day I booked the first flights for Japan. Someday the journal entries will end up in a trip report or a blog or maybe a book. I find myself writing more and more these days. I enjoy the process and I find it incredibly calming.

Well, that's all I got. I hope all the old playa.info friends are doing well and anybody new who's crazy enough to be part of this community, enjoy whatever posts or rants I end up posting about finally making a dream become a reality.

Whose says an old dog can't learn new tricks?
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Last edited by jtm1631; 07-06-2017 at 10:08 PM..
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Old 07-06-2017   #2 (permalink)
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Fabulous place. Went at ages 19, 24 and 31. Aunt dated a high end executive during this time so it was great to see the country through his knowledge. Amazing the amount of people who speak English
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Old 07-06-2017   #3 (permalink)
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Have a most awesome wonderful time!!!!
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Old 07-07-2017   #4 (permalink)
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Nice to have the trip of your dreams...Have a great time.
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Old 07-07-2017   #5 (permalink)
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JAL first class is stylish indeed.

You should probably check that you haven't scheduled your trip to coincide with golden week, as often there are less expensive / more available reward flights around it (planes carrying Japanese people out of here have to carry someone back in). Looks like next year this will be on April 29 - May 6 and it's the third worst week of the year to tour Japan (following the first week of the year and Obon) with practically any serious business that isn't part of a chain being closed.
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Old 07-07-2017   #6 (permalink)
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Congrats on your trip, sounds fabulous! And congrats on your upcoming wedding!
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Old 07-07-2017   #7 (permalink)
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Lived there for 3 years late 89-late 92. Loved it! Such an exciting place and the people are fantastic!

Have fun and please post a trip report.
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Old 07-07-2017   #8 (permalink)
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Well done and I hope your trip exceeds your expectations.
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Old 07-07-2017   #9 (permalink)
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Suggestion: learn a few key phrases in Japanese. Although many speak English, it shows respect, and your desire to try.

Also, study up on their culture, and what is/is not acceptable. Very, very different from what you are accustomed to, regardless of how much international travel you've done.

Have fun & enjoy. Seneng-seneng.

Last edited by Sogno; 07-07-2017 at 11:16 AM..
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Old 07-07-2017   #10 (permalink)
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Planned the trip for just after Golden Week. We fly out from Chicago on May 12th and home May 26th.

Already starting the process of trying to teach my brain some key Japanese phrases and words. Similar to when I am in Mexico, I want to know enough to be respectful and order drinks!

I've been interested in Japanese culture for years but have definitely stepped up the reading in this area. My goal no matter where I am is to not be disrespectful.

I also can't wait to take the trains. I've always loved trains so the Japanese rail system is going to just be an added bonus to the whole experience.
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Old 07-07-2017   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtm1631 View Post
Planned the trip for just after Golden Week. We fly out from Chicago on May 12th and home May 26th.

Already starting the process of trying to teach my brain some key Japanese phrases and words. Similar to when I am in Mexico, I want to know enough to be respectful and order drinks!

I've been interested in Japanese culture for years but have definitely stepped up the reading in this area. My goal no matter where I am is to not be disrespectful.

I also can't wait to take the trains. I've always loved trains so the Japanese rail system is going to just be an added bonus to the whole experience.
Ichi Biru, Onegai shimas (run the last two words together so it sounds like Oh Na Guysheemas).

Last edited by horizon200; 07-07-2017 at 04:14 PM..
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Old 07-07-2017   #12 (permalink)
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How exciting!!

Nice to see you posting again.

Good for you and congratulations on finally biting the bullet and booking this trip- it sounds like it's going to be first class.

I agree about how Japan in terms of culture is about THE most alien place from the western world you can get. So therefore, likely as interesting a travel experience as you can get. My father went to China in the early 90s and it remains his #1 favourite trip, ever- for similar reasoning.

For that reason I have also always wanted to go. My cousin lived in Tokyo as an assistant professor and married a Japanese woman (named Yoko )- I was always invited to go visit and regret not ever taking them up on it (but he is batshit crazy and a drunk and so there was no way....but I digress ).

I think you used to stay at Playa Maya and know Steve, right? He lived in Japan for some years....maybe he will have some input if you write to him.


oh- and congrats on your upcoming marriage! The wedding location sounds wonderful. Life is funny, huh.
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Old 07-07-2017   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horizon200 View Post
Ichi Biru, Onegai shimas (run the last two words together so it sounds like Oh Na Guysheemas).
Ichi is one, but it's one in the sense of a house number or a telephone number. When you want to say one beer or one elephant, you use a different form:

Biru o Hitotsu - where Hitotsu means "one thing"

Or if you want to be a real pro then:

Biru o Ippon - where Ippon means "one cylindrical thing" because that's the word we use for counting something like a beer bottle or glass.


Now if you raise one finger and say "ichi biru" they'll figure it out but not because of what you're saying. (probably if you're saying it in an american accent they're hearing itch eebieroo and have no idea what that is)

Also, Biru is a building, whereas Bi-ru with a long i sound is beer.

So:

Konnichiwa, bi-ru o ippon to hanba-ga- o hitotsu o onegaishimasu - "good day, a beer and a burger please"

Will get you a beer, a burger, and plenty of respect.
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Old 07-08-2017   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ProfessorPibil View Post
Ichi is one, but it's one in the sense of a house number or a telephone number. When you want to say one beer or one elephant, you use a different form:

Biru o Hitotsu - where Hitotsu means "one thing"

Or if you want to be a real pro then:

Biru o Ippon - where Ippon means "one cylindrical thing" because that's the word we use for counting something like a beer bottle or glass.


Now if you raise one finger and say "ichi biru" they'll figure it out but not because of what you're saying. (probably if you're saying it in an american accent they're hearing itch eebieroo and have no idea what that is)

Also, Biru is a building, whereas Bi-ru with a long i sound is beer.

So:

Konnichiwa, bi-ru o ippon to hanba-ga- o hitotsu o onegaishimasu - "good day, a beer and a burger please"

Will get you a beer, a burger, and plenty of respect.

All true. But, I'm guessing JTM is not going for the Doctoral level and will be an obvious Thirsty American. So....

It worked well for me.
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Old 07-08-2017   #15 (permalink)
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They have bi-ru at McDoranu?
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