Back to work on hotel & airfare package

While I am recovering after hearing my sister won’t be able to go with me on the trip to Tokyo, I now have to get back to work and find a travel package that will work best for me.

Recently I have been focused on just finding the best airfare with my sister booking the Courtyard Marriott in Ginza.  Now, I have to find a place to stay as well as get the best deal for the airfare.  Time to roll up the sleeves and get to work.

In the past, when I had planned to fly solo (before sister agreed) I had been looking at the major travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity, etc. to find the best hotel and air deal and now I have to return to them. I will now have to return to these sites, mixing in Kayak and maybe even some of the airline websites, to find the best travel package that won’t destroy the budget.  I may even reach out to find a travel agent that may have some better connections than I can find. The budget does take a hit though, having to cough up an extra few hundred dollars does hurt.

To all my fellow travelers out there, do you have any suggestions to finding the best airfare and hotel combo package?  I will look at booking air and the hotel separate as well, all in an attempt to save a few bucks yet while still keeping it easy and not trying to complicate this trip.

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Hiroshi Yamauchi passes away at age 85

News came out yesterday that former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi  had passed away at the age of 85 at a hospital in Central Japan.  Yamauchi took the Nintendo company back in 1949, from a very simple card-game company to one of the largest video game and electronic companies in the world.

As a kid I grew up in a Nintendo world.  The first console I remember playing was the NES and Super Mario Brothers 3.  I would waste tons of hours on that game, trying to get to World 8 and avoiding World 4, the sky world (yes, my memory still works partially).  Then there was the N 64 and some of the greatest games like Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, Mario Cart, and the list goes on.  Then there was the Game Boy and the Pokemon franchise that wasted hours of my young life as well.  Nothing could be having Charizard on your team back in the day!

RIP to Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi.  He elevated a franchise that became a major part of my childhood growing up and still can occupy some of my time these days.  I still have that NES, it still works and I still have the legendary Duck Hunt.

Typhoon Man-yi bearing down on Japan

I’ve talked before about the weather and natural disasters that occur in Japan.  From the volcanoes (Kagoshima a few weeks ago) to the earthquakes and threat of a tidal wave, Japan has quite an array of weather and natural events that can occur.  Living in Florida, we deal with hurricanes, tornadoes, and tons of lightning.  But one I haven’t mentioned before are typhoons and one is coming right at Japan with Tokyo in its eyes.

Typhoon Man-Yi, with winds pushing 100 MPH, hit Japan and has moved up the cost, avoiding Tokyo but putting more fear and pressure on the Fukushima plant as they continue to deal with that mess there.

A typhoon is something that a Florida boy like myself has dealt with, a hurricane (just a different name).  I remember in 2007 when Florida was hit with 4 hurricanes that year.  My hometown shut down, we didn’t have power for a week, and it was a tough time.  I would sweat to death at night in 90 degree, humid heat, just to wake up the next day to clean up debris in the area.

The storm that has hit Japan has left many areas washed out, mudslides and other major problems that the country now has to clean up and rebuild after.  It has also claimed several lives showing how strong these storms can be.

This is just something else to make note of and have plans for flight delays and know where the embassy is for us when we do visit.  We are visiting in May, not the rainy season or storm season for Japan, but mother nature does what she wants so we need to be prepared for this and any kind of natural disaster what could arise in Japan.

Japanese government taking more action, but it’s not enough

It was reported last week that the Fukushima leaks are much worse than TEPCO had been reporting.  The contaminated water is now seeping into the underground water levels and making its way to the Pacific ocean.  I said the Japanese government needed to do more and they are.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government was working on a plan, estimated around $470 million, to contain the leaking water in the plant area. There plan is to freeze the ground under the containers that are holding the water to make sure anything that leaks into the ground won’t be able to spread and reach to the ocean (although a lot already has).  Abe sounds like a smart guy, but I just wonder what has taken so long for them to take a big step like this is containing the leaks.  Why not reach out the world community?

It was mentioned the Governor of Tokyo still says Tokyo is safe and shouldn’t not take away from them trying to land the Olympics.  I think they need to wake up and focus everything on the crisis at hand and not worry about sporting events.

Figuring out Narita Airport

As I continue to figure out things for myself, I am beginning on working on figuring out the largest airport in Japan, Narita International Airport.  I will continue to study the diagrams of the airport terminals and read their guides about how to get through customs, but I figured I turn to the internet for information.

After the plane lands from the insanely long flight from the US, I would assume I would stand up, gather my belongings and head to the terminal.  From what I have read, you then go through passport control where you tell them what you are doing in Japan. They take a picture of you, stamp your passport, and then send you to baggage and customs.  This is where I get confused.

I’ve read in some places they will go through your bags and check and in other places, they only spot check some bags coming through customs.  Now I’m not trying anything stupid like smuggling stuff into Japan (come on now) but I just want to know what is the process through customs and getting through all the checks before finding my way to the buses, train, or a taxi to get me to Ginza.

So I’m reaching out to the internet world to see who has ever flown into Narita airport from another country (the USA or another, doesn’t matter).  I would like to know each step you took when you made your way off the plane and through all of customs, from passport to getting your bag.  So if you have flown into Narita and gone through the process, please let me know.  I want to know everything you went through, what to know, little things that will make it faster, and how long it takes.  Does it take an hour? How long will I be sitting in line?  I appreciate any information you all can give.  Arigato!!