April 18th, 2007


Planning For August

So... Going back to Japan for the WorldCon in August.

For the short term, that means being relatively frugal to recover from under-budgeting for this year's taxes (and for the extension of the recent trip) so as to cover the trip (although about half of my hotel is already paid for, as is my membership, but I'll need to pay for the rest of the hotel/lodging, the plane ticket, and incidentals), and my quarterly taxes.

For the longer term:

Need to figure out exactly when I'm going. I'm thinking of shifting most of the trip to before the convention, even though that means more time spent in August and less in September, so the weather will probably suck more. But the next two items kinda dictate that:

I want to climb Mt. Fuji, so I need to think about that. Which includes researching access and amenities (huts, I think, if I plan to see the top at dawn), and figuring out exactly how I'm going to deal with suitcase/backpack/hiking gear, etc.

I want to see a Rakuten Eagles game. Which might be just barely possible, since they're playing in Chiba the week before the convention, I believe. Also want see another game in Yokohama, maybe (albeit less so if I see a game in Chiba), but there's nothing in Yokohama that particularly needs to be planned for ahead of time, so I'm not going to worry so much about that. Outside possibility (if I take the north option instead of the south option wandering around) -- see a game in Sendai proper.

I need to figure out where else in Japan I plan to go besides Fuji-san and Yokohama, and whether or not it makes sense to get a rail pass, and for how long, etc. -- was originally thinking Takayama and Chuubu Sangaku Kokuritsu Kouen ("Japanese Alps" National Park) and Nagoya (you can't really get to Takayama without going through Nagoya anyway) -- may skip Nagoya, though (August, yikes). Alternately -- given the time of year -- perhaps it makes more sense to go north again this time, perhaps back to Akita for the things I missed (Tazawako, hiking in Kakunodate), and up through Aomori and a bit of Hokkaido. I'm probably going to give that serious consideration, especially with already packing the hiking gear for Fuji-san and such.

Also, need to make sure that whatever my schedule is, I miss obon.


At any rate, I'm not making decisions today, or probably for a couple months yet.
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ueno kouen


Who here is planning to go to Yokohama for the WorldCon?

It might not be a bad idea to coordinate some of the trip planning, depending on what you want to do, etc. So, opening this to comments (hah, as if it wasn't already open), and if you're going and have any sort of tentative plans and/or things you want to do, spill.
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domo-kun flat

It's Laurel's Fault!

Okay. I was thinking, now that I'm tired and cranky and useless for any productive endeavors (plus, uh, a couple beers which went straight to my head, since I haven't eaten in a while and the afore-mentioned fatigue), about possible itineraries.

First off... Before the con? Not so much anymore. Too close to Obon, which apparently (when it's not in July) is August 16th. So the weekends on both sides? Busy. Expensive to travel. Not good. So much for the Rakuten Eagles -- I'll just get copies of the fight songs and memorize those or something. For singing in karaoke, obviously. Whenever I get around to it. And have money to blow on CDs. Next month. I am truly a loyal fan.

But... I want to climb Fuji in August, since stuff starts shutting down in September. Plus, the whole "Tuesday to Thursday" for travel day things means I kinda have to come early, anyway, otherwise I won't be there before the con starts. So, we're looking at a Aug 23rd departure (Aug 24th arrival). But I still want to get a JR pass and go somewhere, which means something like a Sep 11th return (not exactly an auspicious day, but). Which is a little long, getting a bit close to three weeks -- but if I got a JR pass, I'd want to take advantage of the whole time, and it's expensive to travel on actual weekend days. Hmm. But... Assuming I don't cut a day off the ends or something and pay an extra couple hundred or so for a ticket, here's a possible plan:

23 Aug - Depart Denver.
24 Aug - Arrive Narita, go to Tokyo (no reason to stay in Narita this time).
25 Aug - Find something interesting to do in Tokyo, stay in Tokyo that night.
26 Aug - Wander in the general direction of Fuji-Yoshida. Stay in Fuji-Yoshida.
27 Aug - Start walking up Fuji-san. Look for huts. Get lost. Stay in Hut. Something like that.
28 Aug - Ah, dawn. Wake up. Appreciate the sun from the summit. Walk down Fuji-san. Wander to Yokohama.
29 Aug - WorldCon starts. Hang out until the end, Sep 3rd. Party. Drink. See various things around Yokohama, but mostly try to stay inside where there's AC.
04 Sep - Fly to Matsushima on shinkansen with JR Pass. Take about three hours to get there from Tokyo, but won't be able to get the pass at Tokyo-eki until about 10AM. Still, if the weather's good, and it's not too crowded, could ride the boat around the islands and such in the afternoon. It'd be nice. Stay in Sendai that night.
05 Sep - Fly to Tazawako on shinkansen, hike around. Continue onward to Akita for hotel.
06 Sep - Wander back to Kakunodate, hike around. Stay in Akita that night.
07 Sep - Scenic train ride along northern Touhoku coast to Aomori (it's apparently the best stretch for nice scenery). Continue to Hokkaidou (probably Hakodate).
08 Sep - Wander up to Sapporo, wander around that part of Hokkaidou for a couple days.
10 Sep - Train back to Tokyo -- long stretch of shinkansen, long stretch on non-shinkansen. If I start in Sapporo, probably take 10-12 hours total, so will eat the whole day.
11 Sep - Kill time in Tokyo, until I go to Narita, and depart.
11 Sep - Arrive in Denver. Possibly, if the plane isn't broken this time, before I leave.

Of course, the whole week after the con is pretty much open to change on the spot, pending weather. So anything could happen with a JR Pass. Akita early, shinkansen back to Matsushima (only about three hours away)...

So... Anyone want to come with? Probably for the post-con stuff, mostly, as I do highly recommend Matsushima, and if anyone wanted to come to Hokkaidou (or even just bits of Akita-ken)... Trust me, you can see the best parts of Tokyo in three, four days on the outside. And it'll be hot and nasty there anyway. I promise to be a mediocre tour-guide.
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