Japan 2014

May. 29th, 2014 12:17 pm
jona: Jin, of KAT-TUN, joyful (JE - Jin joy)
Okay, the plans are more or less fixed, and I decided, instead of tinkering with the old post, I'd write up the travel plans, in their more or less fixed form. ^_^

Travelling and hotels )

Activities, planned and possible )

As I understand it, we will be kind of travelling with the stream rather than against it during O-Bon, so that'll be interesting. The whole getting-to-Sapporo-in-time business turned out a little more exciting than I'd really wanted, and we were weighing our options of very giri giri trains, until I found some flights that were still affordable (everything showing up on the big search engines was €250 and up!) and then we were weighing very giri giri planes vs. a four am start, and in the end the four am start won. I am glad, though, that we're only doing the 12-hour train trek on one leg, not both.

But I am looking forward to Sapporo so much! For no specific reason, except I've always kind of wanted to go. (OK, and I have been jealous that for all the tours I've been tracking, the Sapporo tickets were always the cheapest.) Maybe it'll turn out totally lame, and I'll end up going 'OMG MORDOR!' but then at least we'll know for next time. And for now I'm just VERY VERY EXCITED.


Two potentially useful links for fellow Japan travellers: I've been doing a lot of research on the ever-painful question of Japanese phones for tourists. (As some of you may be aware. ^_^) Stuff I've found out that may be relevant to others as well:

A Softbank subsidiary that explicitly lets you buy a Japanese pre-paid phone on a tourist visa. Unfortunately -- I emailed them -- they only have pricey upscale phones on offer for their pre-paid deal, not the three thousand yen keitai I wanted, so this is more than I want to spend, but if you have the cash to spare, this looks like a very hassle-light option to get that coveted Japanese phone. They have offices at Haneda and Narita.

A company that lets you buy a sim-only at a reasonable price, with apparently no need to recharge once a year. Actively catering to tourists as well. Their call rates are pricey even for domestic Japanese calls, though otoh their rates to Europe and the US are far lower than at least my roaming charges would be. It's not quite what I want, but I'm still considering my options here.
jona: (Default)
Okay, so, before I get around to the post about the awesome weekend I originally meant to write, let me get something out of the way that goes:

AAAAaaaaaaaaaAAAAAArrrgh.

The longer version is: I'm most likely going to Japan again in the summer.

Because KAT-TUN ANNOUNCED A TOUR! At the start of the year I was actually sure they would, but the longer we went without new releases, the more I thought it would be a winter tour / Countdown again. Well, now it's a summer tour with Countdown.

Anyway, this is post is for reference, in case it's of interest to anyone when I'll be where, and so I can remember the venues.

The dates actually line up pretty nicely for me, though I share [livejournal.com profile] ina's sadness over no focal point for international fans like Tokyo Dome. Also, [livejournal.com profile] solo can't go in September, so that saves me the agonizing over potentially doing the September dates with Tokyo. (Short version of nipped-in-the-bud-agony would be: Yoyogi sounds tempting, but it's much easier to get time off in August.)

ANYWAY.

I'm currently thinking of flying out before the Yokohama cons on 24 or 25 July, and flying back after the Sendai cons on 18 or 19 August, Frankfurt-Tokyo. Potential concert line up currently has two versions:

Concert list, bold is options. )

I'll update this post as plans become more definitive.

Oh man, now I have a Japan 2014 tag.
jona: (GKS - bigin)
So I was in a pretty boring conference the last two days. The upshot of this is that I finally got around to writing all my holiday check and packing lists, and my list for Thursday/Friday said 'Write LJ post about Toyota'.

Well, there's not actually much Toyota in this post, but. I'm undecided / sort-of-decided-but-sometimes-insecure about a few things regarding the trip, and I'm going to think aloud in this post, and any advice, experience or validation of my life choices would be appreciated!

Item #1: the camera
I currently only have a camera that was a good compact camera ten years ago, and is heavy and clunky. Last time I went to Japan, I borrowed my mother's quite nice camera** with its 10x optical zoom. I've wanted a less clunky, newer camera for a while, but always figured I'd wait with buying till the next time I knew I'd actually need it, so as to at least get the 'newest' for what I'm willing to spend. The need has arrived, but then I realised I'm going to Japan and now I don't know what to do. People of my acquaintance have bought cameras in Japan because of lower prices for good stuff there, but if I bet on that, it puts a bit of pressure on me to find one/buy one, or have no real camera on this holiday.

So, my options: Do I a) buy the camera before Japan, within the next week, b) buy the camera in my first two days IN Japan, because cameras are Cheaper There, or c) cajole my mamaaa into lending me her camera again because prices always drop AFTER Xmas and buying now in either country would be stupid, in your experience?

(My budget would be €100-200 with a serious preference for the €100-150 range, and I don't know much about cameras but I do care about zoom, and I care about size, so I actually will take it with me in life too. Just so you know what I'm actually talking about.)

**Any cameras discussed here are compacts.

Item #2: the luggage
My current plan is to travel with A) my huge-ass suitcase, B) a duffel, which will be IN the suitcase and consequently empty on the way in, C) my small Ryanair-approved trolley for hand luggage and D) a handbag. I am allowed two pieces of checked baggage, but I figure if I take an empty duffel, it'll force some discipline on me to not pack too much crap on the way in, and I know for sure I'll have space for all the crap I want to buy in Japan because I can stuff all my clothes in the duffel on the way back and put everything else in the hard-shell suitcase. The small trolley will be useful for overnight stays where I won't want either the big-ass suitcase or the duffel bag, though it does have the disadvantage of two to-wheel items at those times when I have all my luggage on me.

The other question is the handbag. I need a new one -- I basically need a handbag that can hold my laptop in a crunch. Not a specific laptop bag, as the laptop won't be the primary use of the thing, but big enough that I don't have to lug a second bag around when I do take the laptop somewhere. Now, I know people also like to buy BAGS in Japan. But I also know that people buy crazy expensive brand bags in Japan, so IDK if there's any logic in aiming to buy in Japan for the kind of bag I want -- nice-looking, big, not totally cheapo but staying under €70, preferably under €50. Admittedly I don't have much experience buying handbags in either country.

So, survey items:

A+B: is this plan stupid, should I just take two suitcases / one suitcase and my medium trolley?
C: would it make more sense to take a big backpack instead of the cabin trolley as cabin baggage, for better carrying of things in Japan?
D: do I put all my handbag contents in a PLASTIC BAG and go shopping for bags in Japan?

Item #3 was 'Do I really want to take the Toyota plant tour on my one totally free day in Nagoya?' but I think the answer is, 'Um, no.'

Input welcome! I think better with input! >_>
jona: Yamapi of NEWS making a 'um, what?' face (JE - Yamapi knutschig)
So. There are still a few factors in play, and I don't think I'll book anything before I know for sure the ticket thing will work, but: at the moment, it's looking NOT UNLIKELY that I'll try to go to Pi's concerts in December, and be in Tokyo (generally) for a not-quite-decided timespan. Exact timing will depend on plane tickets and which concerts seem feasible, but I ran through various options between two and three and a half weeks, covering Pi's Tokyo concerts, with wiggle room at the start and at the end.

I've done some research and I'm feeling cautiously optimistic that a Pi trip would not necessarily kill a potential Jin trip, not unless Jin's timing is atrocious. (And I think I'll just have to accept that I can't plan for that.)

I will be going alone, and while I'd find it not totally out of the realm of possibility that I'll meet other Pi fans, I can't really plan for that. I've done holidays on my own before, twice, but neither really compares. (I spent a week on my own at a French camp site in my final year of high school and came home a week early because I was bored out of my mind, and I had a one-week club holiday in Turkey in 2010, which was fine and just what I needed at the time, but one week was enough.) This would be longer, but it would also be in Tokyo. (Solo also pointed out that I was miserable for the two and a half weeks I was in London for work in 2011, but I also don't really think it compares because, well, it was London, and work.)

So, while I am still trying to figure out how long I would want to go, and how exactly to go about a few things, I wanted to ask for advice on a few issues from you people who've been to Japan, people who've travelled alone, and people who've travelled alone in Japan.

Your survey, should you choose to accept it. )
jona: (bunnies incognito)
Life, what life?
I kind of want to post an update on Things Wot Have Happened only They Were Mostly Boring and IDEK. Largely recovered from Meisa freak-out; discovered my emergency sleeping pills were making my heart race; got prescription-grade sleeping pills instead; developing a mouse arm no no no this will be so inconvenient; exercise bike is broken; suspected boss of sulking at me but was proven wrong; went on blind dates; got nice free shopping out of MAMAAA's broken arm; still not King.

On TV:
The Good Wife, episode 3.15: was it just me or was this episode... surprisingly boring, and actually kinda... bad? >.< These are not words I usually associate with TGW, but it just utterly failed to grab me.

I may have to stop watching Grey's Anatomy again. I've had an on-again, off-again low-stakes relationship with this show, where I get sucked in by some of their better dramatic arcs, and eventually get ticked off by some of the dumber dramatic arcs and a set of ethics where the person who ~feels the most~ tends to be in the right, no matter how illogical or unprofessional they are. But the last two seasons, I was practically enchanted -- I thought the shooting and the aftermath was incredibly intense and followed up well, and they've done the best 'Lesbians Want A Baby' storyline I've seen anywhere. (Seriously, I was so URGH when that started, and then it turned out AMAZING, complete with Mark's involvement. I loved it.)

This season, though, we have: Spoilers )

I've also watched all the episodes of Once Upon A Time that are currently out. When this show started, some of the reviews and promo materials totally put me off, and then it wasn't even a blip on my radar. But I was looking for stuff to watch while I was on the exercise bike, and gave this a shot, and... it's not Great TV, but some of the stuff it does, it does very well. I love the way they've remixed some of the fairytales -- for a show that's built on very well-known stories, it's managed to surprise me quite a number of times! I don't love so much the bad fanfic plot turns that hinge on people not telling each other things, or spoilers for episode 13 ) or telling each other useful things like 'if you really love me, meet me by the candystore at 12.03 on Sunday WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOUR BUS WAS LATE'.

But these whinges aside, I'm really finding it quite entertaining. I hope the bad fanfic plot turns won't frustrate me too much as they draw out the Queen's plotting and evil overlording.

On fannish things:
For the... third year in a row, maybe, I'm eyeing the Remix challenge with some... interest. I really love the idea of it, and that particular challenge, but somehow the reasons I never signed up before still haven't gone away. *SULK*

Basically, the dilemma is this. The qualifying rules work against me signing up as ME, because the only fandom I qualify in on my own is BSG. And since you have to offer to write in at least one of your qualifying fandoms, that does not make this a very appealing thought. I'm just over writing BSG.

The 'no pairing guarantees' rule, sensible as it is, works against me bullying Solo into signing [personal profile] haikuesque up. We'd qualify in JE easily as [personal profile] haikuesque, but if we get matched up with a writer of PIN and KOKAME my endless guilt will be... endless. (Not that I'd be keen to write Pin and Kokame as me, either, but I'm a little more ready to gamble than Solo.)

SO THIS IS HARD. I guess I could always try to write a few drabbles before sign-up starts, but really, where'd be the fun in anyone remixing a drabble that I wrote randomly just to qualify?

On Japan:
WE HAVE TICKETS TO ALL THREE TOKYO DOME SHOWS. Thanks to the amazing adorable [livejournal.com profile] rindiggfelt! YAY!
jona: (bunnies incognito)
1. During lunch break, I bought a new phone (for the landline), after the old one got very capricious about charging, showed only half of the display ('hmm, is this an 8 or a 3?'), and eventually started going CLACK -- CLACK -- CLACK during calls. It's amazing how much time you can spend being undecided about phones that all do the same thing and are roughly in the same price range.

2. Also bought new Sennheiser earphones -- or rather swapped the voucher I got for when my old Sennheiser earphones broke before warranty had expired and they didn't have that type anymore for a new set. This is... quite nice.

3. I'm not going to Japan for concerts this spring. I know I've been saying that, but with little caveats in my brain, remembering how I wish I'd just borrowed the money from someone and GONE in 2009. I don't even know if it would work with work; I could swing it financially if I emptied my savings account, especially with the tax refund I'll have coming, and I could even see a scenario where I just make this my 'big' holiday, and in the summer I just stay at home, or see a few friends in Germany.

But today I realised what it was: I'm lacking Fernweh -- desire for travel and new places, roughly translated. I would LOVE to go to the concerts, and I'm sure two weeks in Tokyo wouldn't ever suck, but that feeling of OMGJAPAN!1!!!1 I had before the last trip just hasn't had much time to rebuild. Probably all that work travel, but whatever the causes, I'm currently just not OMG enough to want to blow this much money, so shortly after I've blown that much money.

And I'm feeling quite zen about that.

(I even, god, still quite fancy the idea of just taking three weeks off in summer and spending them largely at home, doing Balkonien. Or maybe go diving for five days and spend the rest at home.)

4. Last night, when I couldn't sleep (I have holiday jetlag; I've been sleeping in until 9.30 for two weeks, going to sleep at half past eleven just isn't on the menu), I dug out my very first Akame WIP. Apologies to those who actually remember me talking about this, but I hadn't looked at that one in ages, so to me that was... interesting. It's the one set in 2018 where KAT-TUN broke up because Jin left the band for a small-potatoes career in the States (...in rock, though) and still based on 2006/07 Kame characterisation (a.k.a neurotic!angstbunny!Kame). It's got various kinds of facepalming moments (people don't take their shoes off! Kame doesn't cook!) and the premise is admittedly jossed to the point of irrelevant, but the style and the snark (and even the kind of angst) struck a chord in my writer brain -- if I had ANY less to do fic-wise, I might actually go back and write The Terrible Irrelevant Angsty AU. But, well. There is only so much time. *sigh*

5. Does anyone know if Dreamwidth has an Android app, or some such?

6. My office is surprisingly busy. I spoke to seven people today. You usually only see these many people when there's a seminar or something.

7. The rest of my day shall contain the following: go on exercise bike, watch The Good Wife (YAY!), cook actual food for dinner, eat it, and write. (Preferably the porny frivolous one over the angsty serious biznes babies, but who knows.)

8. Are there any Pi downloads yet??? (Srsly, people, my squeal when I was informed that show would go on for three months probably scared the cat.)

9. *ignores Solo*

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jona: (Default)
the paranoid android

December 2015

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