After all this planning, the trip is almost here. We've been talking to our friend Masumi about this trip for nearly 2 years. We've been stressing about details big and small from figuring out the right dates for the trip to what are we going to do each day. I'm in charge of the big picture, thankfully Masumi has been working her magic to squeeze in all my wishes into reality. It is truly shaping up to be the trip of a lifetime.
Decisions that have been made:
* Our dates -- not as easy as one would think when juggling Don's work schedule with my desire to be home for July 4th with summer camps Ashley enjoys attending.
* Our basic itinerary -- 3 days at Tokyo Disney, a day in Nikko with her friend Hiroko and a rental car (which Hiroko will be driving, not us) and staying in a ryokan (like a Japanese B&B), a night in Tokyo, four days in Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka. Back to Tokyo for the last four days -- one of which will be a day trip to Mt. Fuji, plus catching a baseball game at the Tokyo Dome.
* New suitcases -- our old ones weigh 20 pounds empty and were purchased on the way to the airport on our honeymoon 20 years ago. The new ones only weigh a few pounds and hold the same amount.
* We've been stressing about the flight. I don't even want to think about how long it is!
* My camera. I realized last week the camera is not taking pictures as nicely as it used to. I bought the latest model of my Panasonic camera (I'm partial to the Leica lens) and am waiting for it to arrive in the mail. Meanwhile, my current camera will be spending some time in the repair shop as it is still under warranty.
* The language. Though Masumi says she will be with us the whole time, we are landing and taking the shuttle bus to the hotel without her. Yikes! I am listening to Japanese language CDs in the hopes of learning: Hello, Good-bye, please, thank you, do you speak English, where is the bathroom and (just added) where is Masumi?
* The culture. We don't want to embarrass our friend and her friends. Reading the books it seems there are lots of areas for us to make major faux pas from blowing our nose in public to adding sauce to our rice. And those are the ones I know about.
* The food. By most standards, we are fussy eaters. Ashley is the fussiest, Don is in the middle, and I'm on the most daring Pillsbury eater, but still not a fan of seafood. Add being tired and I'm even less likely to want to try new foods.
* Sleep. I like sleep. I don't sleep well in a new place. We are jumping between hotels nearly every other night. This is not a recipe for keeping me happy.
* Over packing: it is a tough juggling act. I do not want to do laundry on this trip vs. I do not want to carry a lot of stuff with us. I'd love to do it in two suitcases for the three of us, but it will most likely be one suitcase each, plus a carry on to survive the flight. I'm hoping the Kindle cuts down on the number of books to carry.
By the time this publishes we'll see how my worries matched up with reality.