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: Jin, of KAT-TUN, joyful (JE - Jin joy)
I got back from Scotland on Monday night, after an okay trip, but the worst march through bloody Frankfurt airport I'd ever had. It literally took me 50 minutes to get from the gate to the train, and there were no queues, meaning most of that was walking. And I'd packed, um, a little heavily.

See, I like to stock up on things while in Scotland. Very important things like tea and drugs and macaroni pie.

Photographic evidence )

There was a bit of frantic repacking at Solo's house when it turned out that in its original state, the suitcase weighed some 35kgs, so I ended up transporting a lot of cheddar via hand luggage. (I half expected someone to claim that 'cheeses are liquid' but was glad to find out that the air safety stuff hasn't gone that insane yet.)

I did appreciate the new development on air safety that lets you keep your electronic devices on during take-off and landing as well. My flight out was the first time I got the 'put them in flight mode, please' announcement, but nobody really dared do anything with it except one woman who kept her Kindle out. On the flight back, though, a girl across from me was working on her laptop and I was crushing candies during landing, and apparently that was fine! \o/

What I did on my vacation )

A very special and singular event! )

~~~

Totally unrelated to anything: the Japanese learners among you might know this website and I'm the only person who only recently came across it, but it's actually interesting whether you learn Japanese or not. Kanjidamage has a somewhat different approach to learning kanji, and while I didn't adopt the method (I'm set in my ways, and those ways work for me) I found the website hilarious, in a good way. I particularly recommend the Introduction, or why most kanji textbooks suck as well as Kanji Facts.
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)
My Jin tag has never been more accurate.

Cut for the benefit of anyone who really does not want to read about a relatively lucky person agonizing over her luck.

Jin concerts, Pi concerts, stuff. )
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: (geänderte verkehrsführung)
On Monday night, I became a Witness In A Criminal Investigation (tm). After my stolen bike, this is an awful lot of police interaction for a fluffybunny law-abiding (mostly) citizen.

Read more... )
jona: (geänderte verkehrsführung)
My Days Of Adventurous Indecision:

-- I have signed up for a Japanese cooking class at a local evening school for next Sunday. I was also tempted to sign up for *cough* 'Singles Cooking & Brunch' the Sunday after -- mostly this is in the name of socialising more and occasionally talking to people not Solo. However, the 'teacher'/chef is, among other things, a 'Diet assistant', and especially as this doesn't cost nothing, I am a bit leery of the combination of 'singles' cooking' and 'diet assistant' and how that might boil down to 'let's all talk how we'd be happily married off if we were LESS FAT!' Though perhaps this is an unfair suspicion. But anyway, IDK. Decisions, decisions...

-- Do I stab or strangle [personal profile] solo for ripping up the structure of an ALMOST FINISHED EPIC? Please vote here!

-- Do I sign up for the university's Japanese class again? I skipped it last semester because I knew I had to travel so much; I'll travel less this year, but still a bit, and also it's on Monday evening running VERY late, and IDK, IDK. The evening school has the same courses, only for twice the money (no uni employee discount), but better times. IDK, IDK.

-- Do I want the OTW tote bag enough to throw them $100? I am for the first time feeling like I'm doing well enough I should be donating to shit, so I've set aside some money for that in January -- not huge sums, mind. And the $25 donation 'feels' like the right amount. Only that tote bag is really cool. IDK, IDK.

-- DECISION ITEM CANCELLED

This last one screws up my list a little bit because decisions were made this morning, and tickets and hotels have been booked, and I'm going to TOKYO from 14-24 April YAY!

*goes off to bully people who write posts about going to TOKYO and label them 'Gah.'*

*stinkeye*

*comes back*


blah blah blah )

We're going to generally try and keep things stressfree, and not deal with spreadsheets of who's when were. But we are totally up for ~adventures~ and meeting people, just let us know!

*

In very different news, we've also started posting fic for our kink bingo square. I know it's practically impossible for authors to talk in public about their comments without sounding whiny or passive aggressive, so I probably shouldn't EVEN IF I'M NOT, but, srsly, this was like the weirdest posting experience ever. We actually went to check if the post was broken because, while we've had more than one story that got comments in the single digits, those were all on... gen stuff or 'unusual' stuff (the Akamepi, most notably), not straight-up porn. Porn is our thing. I actually started cracking up about this. The fannish tides are a weird, weird thing.

*

Perhaps a strange link from me, seeing as I don't watch Sherlock (any of them... I get confused there are SO MANY), but I came across a link to A Scandal in Fandom: Steven Moffat, Irene Adler, and the Fannish Gaze, and while the fandom specific details are entirely irrelevant to me (do not care about any of the people named in the title, or in Sherlock, or... you catch my drift) I found the analysis of the fannish gaze rather cool and well-presented. Worth reading even if you don't care about the specific fandom. (Though it does contain spoilers. Which I also didn't care about. That tells you something.)
jona: (JE - akame#1)
Hello, hello!

I am back from Japan, and while my level of radiation poisoning has not yet been determined, my level of OMGITWASAWESOME is pretty...high.

It's slightly being interfered with by my level of arghdunwannadostuffIneedtodo, but since Monday is a public holiday here, I don't even feel too stressed about it. I'm currently trying to get all my photos on the same HD so I can sort through them both for developing and for holiday picture posts -- I was doing some on the go in the early days but that got totally swept away in holiday relaxation.

The nice thing is, I don't seem to have jetlag. I had two nights in a row I slept between ten and eleven hours, which must be making up for my two transit days, but they were all at decent, timezone appropriate hours. *fingers crossed*

I still need to watch the season opening of The Good Wife. I DL'd it first thing on Friday, but I was too zonky to retain any details. Then, I need to decide where to put my Kame poster -- I never really wanted posters again after I left my Star Trek Museum room behind in 1997, but the DB poster was too pretty not to get, and also I have a Pi poster that was to cheap not to get, and argh. IT IS HARD.

Randomly, because it amused me:
Sunday planning in #hashtags, by Teh Solo and some other person )

I'm also trying to ignore the fact that if all goes well, I'll have to be on a train to Paris on Wednesday for Srs Bsns, and will have like one day to reactivate French language semi-skillz last used in 2000. #izold
jona: Jin, of KAT-TUN, joyful (JE - Jin joy)
Seeing as I will be hanging out at the airport and other bookstore-equipped places tomorrow before flying off:

Does anyone have recs for me in terms of holiday books, beach novels, etc? (My perfect beach novel is light, amusing, and may be low on calories, but the characters are still not a waste of space.)

'Ow.'

Jun. 5th, 2010 02:56 pm
jona: (GKS - fight-oh!)
For reasons that don't need explaining at this juncture, I ended up joining my mother, my brother, my mother's BFF and three other kids on a trip to a climbing adventure park yesterday. The weather was gorgeous, the forest was lovely, the mosquitos were huge and the Julia was a big scaredycat. But it was fun. :-)

Climbing adventures with pictoral proof! )

***

Brief KATTUN-related musings: I was very very pleased when No More Pain leaked; after Going! I was really worried the whole album would be like that -- maybe an overreaction, but SRSLY, the music they did the other time Jin was gone really didn't work for me either. So when I heard NMP and thought 'wow, this is actually cool!' I got way more hopeful about the rest of the album.

As for Kame: not happy with Sweet. :-/ I did finally watch some fancams of the vampire solo, though (I'm sorry, Kame! I am a rare freak who really doesn't care about vampires! It wasn't you!) and am wildly entertained that Kame has progressed to essentially making out with people on stage. Go Kame!

***

In other news, this morning I bought sunscreen FOR MY FRIVOLOUS HOLIDAY WHICH IS STARTING NEXT FRIDAY YAY. I have been mostly laid back about the holiday; I was still in a slightly different place when I booked it and that desire to 'get away from it all' has abated. But standing in front of the sunscreen shelf, I had a little Moment that I'M GOING ON HOLIDAY WITH SUN AND COCKTAILS AND SURFING LESSONS AND POOLS AND YAY!! I bought four different types (two for face, two for body); my forearms notwithstanding I currently resemble feta cheese, but I do hope I won't need to slather on the level 30 protection at the end of the week anymore. And it felt just like buying... really nice clothes or something. It was AWESOME.
jona: (GKS - bigin)
So, while hanging out in chat this morning with [livejournal.com profile] mnemonic_psych and [livejournal.com profile] flamesword and [livejournal.com profile] ayuzak and some other chick I've never met before, I had a few funny moments when I realised that my fannish abbreviations weirdly enough do not always match up with other people's brains. (Disconcerting, I know. After I was once again reminded I'm scary, I think I should at last be capable of some mindo controlu.)

It made me think about the JE fannish glossary. What do you call the various songs, dramas and Other Stuff involving Johnny's when you can't be bothered or don't have the character count to type out the full thing? With one-word titles, it seems kind of obvious, but what about the more long-ass things?

I would put this in a poll, but I wouldn't know how. So I'm just randomly surveying you all.

Stuff I came up with for what I usually call things:

Tatta Hitotsu no Koi = Tatta
Gokusen = GKS
Real Face = RF
Bokura no Machi de = Machi
Don't U Ever Stop = DUES
Kami no Shizuku = KnS
KAT-TUN= KT (which, from a shipping POV, is really quite iffy...)
Queen of Pirates = QOP
Break the Records = BtR
CartoonKAT-TUN = ctkt/CTKT
Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge = Yamanade
1 Pound Gospel = the boxer (lately OPG)
Nobuta wo Produce = Nobuta
Majou no Jouken = Majou
My Boss My Hero = mbmh

*~*

In other news, I'm celebrating my scholarship failure by running away to Scotland for a week. Any local/local-ish/widerUK people/previous victims of Yami The Cat want to join me and [livejournal.com profile] solo____ for a fannish day in the period between 12 and 19 May? We even managed to plan this one with a convenient weekend in the middle of it!

*~*

Thoughts of the day: I should really update my user info. Possibly with minipigs. Also, tomorrow I may or may not go to a climbing and adventure park with Dudley and his BFF and my mother. But only if I can get my jeans to dry before then.

*~*

State of the Collaboration, 32: Jin is making professional progress, but he's not happy about it. Also there is cake.
jona: Akame looking cute and telling me to cheer up, emo pornographer (JE - cheer up pornographer (cute))
We left the house. Twice. Three times! In two days. This is starting to feel newsworthy. :-)

Today [personal profile] solo had to work and I got to hang around in Glasgow for a few hours, which I mostly enjoyed walking around on non-slippery, properly de-iced ground while listening to KAT-TUN rips and then eating utterly gross British pizza that was just perfect for the moment. (Not so enjoyable: finding out that Primark won't take my VISA. I'm now wondering if it's somehow to do with the current money chip drama going on in Germany. Thankfully Solo gave me some pocket money so I could pay for the pizza.)

And this morning we even walked all the way to the post office. We are so outdoorsy.

Even better, yesterday we met up with [profile] mananeh, whom I totally neglected to call Moo at any time but hope I still get to do that because I think it's an awesome nickname. We met up for 'coffee' which was quickly amended to drinks which turned into dinner at [personal profile] solo's house and watching more concerts. We had fun! [We are good at understatement.] And we even behaved (I hope) and didn't get too tinhatty, nor did we bring out the chainsaws.

Psst, [profile] mananeh, you still have to link me that chart! And thanks again for coming, I'm really glad we got in touch in time for my Scotland visit, it was excellent fangirling! (Solo, who is currently entertaining the cat with a sock over her hand, is nodding vehemently.)

Tomorrow we must. write. more. Possibly after Solo has bought herself a new computer and I have bought some chocolate. (Little treats for everyone. :-)

Oh, and I have an appointment with the dude who'll give me the key to my flat next Tuesday! YAY! I finally get to, like, see it and all. Possibly useful. *g*

State of the Collaboration, 30: Tego advocates pet ownership. Jin says no to drugs. Kame doesn't say much. The authors say 'more wine, please.'
jona: (je - akame#2)
In light of my departure for Scotland and [personal profile] solo's cupboard under the stairs tomorrow morning, I figured it was a good opportunity to get at least one efficient day in. And I think I kind of managed.

Today I:

-- Did my taxes for 2008.
this is actually very small potatoes if you were a) poor and b) 'self employed' in 2008, but I like saying I did my taxes anyway
-- Cancelled my contract with the place where my furniture is stored.
-- Went for a run.
-- Wrote list of instructions re: flat/key-giving-person for mother.
-- Wrote to internship boss about internship documentation and for keeping up with my former project
-- Made my mother's small trolley fit for Ryanair cabin baggage regulations

Proof. )

-- Copied sparklyboy video essential data onto my portable HD.
-- Packed.

Postponed project:
-- Editing all the currently open chapters.

I will be gone for 10 days, and generally online but possibly busy/drunk/braindeadfrompretty. Countdown! SMAP/KAT-TUN show! Cat! Cocktails! Food! And an actual room of my own. *g*

State of the Collaboration, 28: Jin, Kame, and the authors want out of the 5 chapters that are currently under edit again. The world ahead is so much nicer, why did we all have to go back?

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jona: (Default)
the paranoid android

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