Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Travel Plans

We've given up on trying to book a room on the Twilight Express. Uncertainty over whether it will be running and difficulty getting the reservation made us decide that we simply can't wait any longer, as our remaining hotel reservations depended on it. We'd prefer to spend at least three days in each city so we don't waste so much time in move in/move out, but this is not always possible on account of the number of days we have and the things we want to do. So, having made the decision to give up on the luxury sleeper, we asked our travel agent to re-do our hotel reservations.

The current plans are as follows:

Aug 24 - 25: Drive from Bay Area to Mehama, Oregon.

Aug 26: Drive to Portland and spend night at Holiday Inn Express PDX because our flight the next morning is at 06:20. A co-worker who lives nearby has agreed to let me park at his place, and in exchange (although he was not going to charge me), I gave him the free hotel night voucher that Lisa and I won at the Sea-Pac radio conference. Screw up our sleep schedules. Heck, we might not even sleep in the hotel room tonight, on account of it would be better if we slept on the Seattle-Honolulu flight tomorrow morning.

Aug 27-28: Fly PDX-SEA-HNL-NRT, arriving 21:05 local time. Pray that our Business Class seats allow us to sleep when we should sleep, relative to where we are arriving. Collect rail passes; try to make tricky reservations (see below). Take Narita Express to Yokohama.

Aug 28 - Sep 4: Yokohama Grand Intercontinental (Worldcon Aug 30-Sep 3)
Sep 4: Day trip to Kamakura

Sep 5: Train to Hakata, with stopover at Hiroshima
Sep 5 - 6: Hakata Miyako Hotel
Sep 6: Nagasaki. Lisa has the mildly odd ambition to be one of the small number of people to have visted the first three atomic bomb sites in sequence. (She already has Trinity Site.)

Sep 7: Train to Osaka. Our travel agent kept trying to steer us away from Osaka, as do the travel guides, because "it's an industrial city, not very interesting." Well, it has things we want to see, because we have strange tastes. Probably we'll spend some time in the Hobby Center KATO Osaka today.
Sep 7 - 9: Osaka Granvia Hotel
Sep 8: Expoland amusement park, mainly because we want to ride the self-propelled monorail if possible.
Sep 9: Modern Transportation Museum. Trains!

Sep 10: Long day on trains, going clear up to Aomori.
Sep 10 - 12: Jal City Hotel Aomori
Sep 11: Seikan Tunnel behind-the-scenes tour. This is why we're based out of Aomori, as the material we've found on this consistently says that you have to book the tour out of Aomori or Hakodate station. This may also be the most challenging part of the trip linguistically, as the tour is Japanese-only, but Lisa is excited over it, and I'm interested, and hope they won't be too annoyed with a couple of gaijin with limited Japanese.

Now things get slightly unclear. When we get to Japan on the 28th and collect our rail passes (I have the exchange orders right here), we'll see about what overnight sleeper trains may have available space between Sapporo and Tokyo Ueno. There are four trains I can find, starting with the ultra-luxurious Cassiopeia to three other more pedestrian services. I don't expect to be able to get space on the Cassiopeia on account of it books up early and there's no way for us to access reservations early enough; however, there may be a chance at getting space on one of the other trains. If we do manage to get a "sleeper" for September 12, we'll book it, try to cancel one night of our hotel reservation at Aomori, and take a train up to Sapporo on the morning of September 12 to ride back that night to Tokyo on the "sleeper." If that doesn't work, then we'll take the train back to Tokyo the morning of September 13.

Sep 13 - 15: Shinogawa Prince Hotel Tokyo. I have no specific plans for Tokyo, and am uncertain at this time what Lisa plans for us to do.

Sep 16: Narita Express to Narita; spend tonight at the Holiday Inn Tobu Narita for one night. (We've asked the IC Yokohama Grand if it's possible to ship one of our bags from Yokohama to here and store it for us for two weeks; we're willing to pay -- we just would rather not lug the extra bag of Worldcon-specific stuff with us on the rest of the trip, and we figured storage would be cheaper than shipping the bag as unaccompanied baggage back to the USA.)

Sep 17: Our flight isn't until 20:55, so we have today to visit Narita before heading over to the airport to fly NRT-HNL-SEA-PDX, arriving at just before midnight local time in Portland, where we will spend the night at the PDX Sheraton, cashing in some StarPoints that were on the verge of expiring.

Sep 18: Collect my van from my co-worker and drive to Mehama.

Sep 19 - 21: Work from Oregon.

Sep 22 - 23: Drive back to California.

Whew! I get tired just thinking about all of this! But OTOH, I'm getting very anxious to get this show on the road. I keep wanting to start packing now, and have been making a large pile of "things to go to Japan."

Edit, 22:00: Correction noted from comments.
Tags: japan, travel, worldcon

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