He who would travel happily must travel light.
— Antoine de Saint ExupĂ©ry, 1900 - 1944
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yossi

Amateur Traveler

About me

I'm 42, Male, from Israel

I'm interested in:
Natural landmarks, Historical landmarks, Nature parks, Nature viewing, Wildlife viewing, Photography, Hiking, Kayaking / Canoeing, Art galleries, Food & wine, Archaeological sites, Live concerts, Shopping, Aboriginal experiences, Off-road / All-terrain vehicles, Sailing, Ballooning, Paragliding

Where am I now?

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My route

Israel
Hong Kong (S.A.R.)
Japan
Germany
United Kingdom

Link to this journal

Nippon Express

Apr 2010 - Aug 2013

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. After years of thinking about it, months of planning, at least one failed attempt and several bumps in the road, I finally arrived to Japan.

1

2

Getting cold feet, are we?

As mentioned before, getting here wasn't that easy. You might think that all you need is a plane ticket, a couple of clean underwear and a map. Well... in my case it wasn't that easy...

12:00pm

Going to Japan was a dream of mine for quite some time, but I never had the chance to actually go thru the whole thing. When I left NYC about a year ago I had a pretty clear plan - get a world map, put a pin in all the places I would like to go, connect the dots and get movin'.

Well, guess what? That's not exactly what happened.

As usually the case with such elaborate plans (at least in my own very limited personal experience), stuff happens. I won't bother you with the details but would mention that starting a new business and the groundwork for the development of this wonderful new platform (yes, yes... I do obviously mean this website), were definitely some of the highlights.

So I started trimming down the list of my "must go" locations, and eventually ended up with a much shorter list and a new plan. What started as a very long trip that would probably last months (if not years) to complete, turned into several shorter trips that I figured would be easier to accomplish. At the top of the list was Japan, of course.

Problem was that by the time I was ready to go, I had about a week to prepare or else I'll be missing most of the nicer travel season. You might think that such nonsense won't stand in your way, but I decided I appreciate the comforts of travelling at the right time more. Friends prefered calling it a lame excuse for getting cold feet.

Well, yeah. There's that.

This was last year.

yigal said:
Posted: 9 Jun 13, 08:51am

test 5...

yigal said:
Posted: 9 Jun 13, 08:47am

test 4...

yigal said:
Posted: 9 Jun 13, 08:46am

test 3...

yigal said:
Posted: 9 Jun 13, 08:38am

test 2...

yigal said:
Posted: 9 Jun 13, 08:33am

test...

Fast forward to '10

Once the first trip was pushed back it was impossible to hold the flood and pretty soon all trips were put on hold. Considering that at the same time we've decided to put the development of the platform into high gear, taking time off was out of the question... until new year's eve 2010.

7:00pm

Working on a travel site definitely gets your wondering urges rolling again. By December I've made it clear that nothing is going to change my plan this year. My excitement was so contagious I even managed to convince my partner in crime (well, at least I thought I did...) to take the plunge and join the trip. (Unfortunately for him, for personal reasons, he had to stay behind... but I'm still hoping for a surprise later on the trip).

Juggling between the continued development and preparing for the trip was far from easy, but come March we were almost done with our tasks and I was all set to board the plane on my way to Japan.

Tokyo, here I come...

(Here ends the boring part... I hope).

yigal said:
Last updated: 10 Apr 10, 08:39pm

admit all charges... ;-)

All airports look the same...

11:00pm

If you're not familiar with east-bound flights from Israel, a short note: because of obvious political reasons Israeli airlines can't fly straight eastward. Instead they are taking the extreme scenic route... to the north across Turkey, then east over the southern edges of Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan (...and probably over EVERY other possible stan in existence), and most of western China. A long and bumpy ride, to say the least.

(On a side note: the best way to clear the aisles in an airplane when they become overly crowded with people walking around and bothering the crew is let the pilot wiggle the stick for a bit. In a matter of milliseconds everyone's back in their seats. I suspect it's a conspiracy and all airline pilots are in on it. My pilot was way too fond of this trick).

After 11 hours We've arrived to Hong Kong. As it was my first time anywhere in this region I was expecting to at least see something out of the window. All I saw was a huge gray cloud and the runway. Hope I'll get to see a little bit more on the way back.

After a short connection (which I spent mostly walking in the wrong direction trying to reach the the departure gates), I was back in the seat for another flight on my way to Narita airport near Tokyo. Less bumpy this time.

Once I got to Narita airport I understood why did I get such a great rate for the flight over. As my flight was probably the last one to land that night, most of the airport was already deserted, and you can forget about any easy public transportation to Tokyo. If you got deep pockets you're welcome to try the taxis. Most probably it'll take a big chunk of your budget. More recommended is to book a room for the night in one of the hotels next to the airport (there are quite a few of them), and head into the city the morning after, when the cheaper public transportation commences.

Cherry blossoms in Shinjuku

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