Well it’s official: after two years I am finally going to Japan again! Last year I wanted to go, but I had recently changed jobs and couldn’t afford to take 2+ weeks off, so my wife and kids went without me. I stayed home and played a ton of Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns1 instead, plus preparing for certification as minister’s assistant. It was an unusually hot summer in Seattle, but not very interesting either.
However, this year I have been at my current company (think of a famous cartoon mouse) for over a year, and will be taking two weeks off to visit Japan. My wife and kids will go ahead of me and stay for 5 weeks. I will fly the same route 3 weeks later and then come home with them. I will be going in mid-July and then returning in early August. I would prefer to fly some other time of year, but my daughter can’t take 5 weeks off from school, so this is the only time we can really do it.
In general, flying to Japan almost yearly gets pretty expensive. We try to fly ANA directly when we can, but at this time of year, with 4 people2 it gets pretty expensive. This year such a flight would’ve costed over $6000, and other airlines aren’t much cheaper. Thankfully, we learned from other Japanese housewives that we can fly through Canada first to Japan, and save some money. Turns out it will cost us only $4300 which is a huge savings. We’ll do a layover in YVR (Vancouver) for a few hours before going to Japan. It will make the flight 13 hours, not 10, but we’ll arrive in Japan in the early afternoon rather than late at night, so that still works out better than the past arrangements we’ve done.
Anyhow, I don’t have big plans for Japan. All my friends who lived there have all moved back to the US, and most of the time I’ll be babysitting my two kids, seeing friends, etc.
However, I do hope to visit a few temples and shrines this year. My short list is Yushima Tenmangu, Asakusa Sensoji, Tsukiji Honganji3 and maybe Kawasaki Daishi (the big Shingon temple closest to my wife’s home).
I’m also trying to build up my Japanese listening comprehension lately, since it’s gotten pretty lax over the last 2 years. More on that in an upcoming post. 😉
Anyhow, looking forward to the trip. 🙂
1 Neither of which is particular pertinent to the blog, unless you like JRPG’s. 😉
2 Our kids both fly for 70% the price of a seat since they are under 11, but over 2.
3 Albeit I tend to grumble about Jodo Shinshu Buddhism lately, that particular temple is a really great temple to visit. It’s kind of a unique place, and very family friend.