It begins here, folks…our super-sized report of our trip to Japan!
Why Japan? Well, it sort of became a question of, “Why not Japan?” I had spent two years amassing enough frequent flier miles to get Lance and I to Europe for free-ish (those pesky fuel surcharges’ll get you every time!), but suddenly we were significant over the amount we needed, and within striking distance of enough miles for two roundtrip tickets to Japan. We scrambled to liquidate our hotel points programs to transfer those points into miles so we’d have enough. Finally, right after Christmas 2011, we were able to book our two round-trip tickets to Japan for the hefty price of…like $180 total (taxes be damned!).
Of course, this gave us PLENTY of time to plan. Or, more accurately, it gave me plenty of time to plan. I researched hotels and transportation, did language audio lessons, booked tours and classes, etc., etc., and then rearranged everything a dozen or so times. Lance admitted a few days before the vacation, “Wow. I have no idea what we’re doing on this trip.” All the while I’m panicking trying to keep everything straight in my trusty day-by-day planner/binder full of confirmation e-mails, train passes and so forth.
Finally, the big day came: October 20, 2012! We drove to the airport bright and early that morning:
Since we had a frequent flier mile award ticket, the routing from Philadelphia to Tokyo was not fantastic, and meant that we had to stay overnight in Chicago before connecting on to Japan.
Problem? NO! We both love Chicago. It is my super-favoritest place in the United States. I so badly want to live there it’s not even funny, so when we had the chance to actually get a “free” day in the city, I did not complain. Continue reading