My last evening in Japan

E827AC0D-A707-4521-98A6-493CAF575F92.jpegYes, my journey was fantastic. Almost everything worked out the way I planned and expected it – and even richer and more impressing.

No, my journey was absolutely not as prepared… Since my mother died surprisingly in September, this was a severe shock for my family and changed a lot.

I thought of cancelling and postponing but…

Yes, my decision was right.

No, my decision was wrong.

It depends on how you see it…

For this blog it meant that I had no words…

But since I started this blog with so many good intentions, I will write some short reports and reflections. But slowly…

I am sitting in my comfortable hotel room at the MyStays Premier Hotel in Omori now. Suitcases packed. Ticket for the Narita Express plus seat reservation already booked…

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I‘m in Asakusa, Tokyo…

Right, I am in Japan since Sept. 28th, and will stay until Nov. 5th.

What happened? I planned to write many reports, but…

My dear mother passed away in September, totally unexpected. I was not able to write a line. Sorry!!

It was a difficult situation. Should I cancel the trip? And postpone it?

For different reasons, I decided not to cancel my five weeks‘ trip but believe me that I had to meet strange situations with my emotions.

Being overwhelmed by emotions, is quite disturbing in Asian countries with the consequence that I started to wear these white masks that you maybe know. Japanese would not only wear them to protect themselves or others from diseases but sometimes also to hide themselves.

My travel program started with a round trip, followed by meditation days and ten days with my Japanese friend Madoka. And now I am spending a week in the quarter Asakusa in the centre of Tokyo.

Japan really is worth visiting but it is not easy to travel here.

More as soon as possible!

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Flights are arranged… Now the next steps!

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Thanks to the great assistance of my youngest son Peter aka Your Mate (http://steemit.com/@yourmate), my flights are booked. And also a travel insurance.

We found an attractive solution at

http://www.kiwi.com.

It is very comfortable and reliable to book on this website.

As I wanted to fly from Vienna to Osaka but to fly back from Tokyo to Vienna with few stops being able to select the day of departure from Austria and of leaving Japanese within a time3 frame, we found quite an attractive solution relatively soon.

I will leave on September 27 with China Airways, with a stop at Taipeh. The flight back will take place on November 5 with Aeroflot Russian Airways with a stop in Moscow.

Peter recommended me to book a travel insurance and we fixed it immediately after the booking. We went to the site

http://www.durchblicker.at to compare and to make our decision.

Peter has very good experience with the insurance company

Hanse Merkur.

That’s why we applied there.

My next steps will be the following:

Looking for a nice hotel room for the first days in Japan for th epurpose of accomodation – just somewhere in Osaka.

Next step is to plan the route.

Third is to write a packing list and to learn how to travel with as little baggage as possible.

I am tied up with a lot of other obligations right now and also need some extra hours of rest here, My busy life makes me feel very exhausted and therefore I started with meditation and yoga exercices for more health and for a peaceful mind – more here…

I will watch some travel tip videos in the meantime.

There is still some time left until the end of September!

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The beautoful motif is a small token from Madoka. It shows the helmet of a Samurai, a Kabuto. I like it a lot. If you google for pictures of Samurai helmets, you will be surprised how many varieties there are.

 

Great Culture Insights, Travel Hacks and a big Surprise

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Time for Booking

In the meantime I am rather late for the booking of my flights to Japan.

But I intend to do it within the next days – with the personal assistance of my world traveling youngest (whose thrilling travel reports you can read here yourmates.world and who is on a two months home leave now).

Plans what to do together

My dear friend Madoka is writing me almost every day and sending me nice family photos. I wish I could publish them! Their two little grandchildren are so cute!

In the meantime, our plans get more and more concrete. Madoka send me a proposal top spend a dasy at an Onsen near Tokyo together. I am very happy and pleased. What an honour to be invited to got to an Onsen as a companion of a Japanese lady!

What is an Onsen?

An Onsen is a traditional Japanese bath.

Definition English https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onsen

Definition German https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onsen


The colorful Kabuki figure shaped in the form of a paper flying dragon is used for decoration for this article. It is one of the gifts Madoka sent me for some birthday.

What is Kabuki?

It is a Japanese classical dance-drama.

Definition English https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabuki

Definition German https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabuki


A big surprise for Madoka and for me!

Yesterday my youngest son Peter, also known as “Your Mate”,explained to me that he would continue his world trip in August and with the intention to meet me in Tokyo in October!

There has been a father-and-son-meeting at Saigon this spring and now… How fantastic! I am about to tell the good news to my dear Madoka and of course nothing could be more wonderful than to meet somewhere in Tokyo altogether!

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You can find Your Mate’s travel reports here:

http://yourmates.world


Travel Ninja Hacks by Sergio Facchin

I am studying these tips by Sergio and my next step ist to do the booking of the flights.

http://goodbyematrix.com/travel-flight-hacking-serie/ (German)

http://goodbyematrix.com/hidden-travel-ninja-kurs/ (German, kostenpflichtig)

Of course you will discover a lot of travel and flight hacks in English in the web on your own. I intend to add some useful links in both languages at my link page.


Japanese Style Originator

A very entertaining and educating show series with rich informations about Japanese life style and culture  – food, handicrafts, clothes, traditions. It is in Japanese and I use German  or sometimes English subtitles, depending on my mood.

It can be enjoyed by Netflix users: http://www.netflix.com

I also started watching all kinds of Asian movie series on Netflix (Chinese, South Corean and Japanese to learn as much as possible about the Asian way of life. It is helpful to liste to spoken everyday Japanese – but it is time to continue learning useful phrases again. Because of other onligations I nearly had no time to coninue studying the Japanese language.


Netx time, I will write sone words about meditation and how I managed  my flight booking.

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This picture shows the original Japanese snow lantern in my garden close to a pond with some Koi and wild carps which I was donated by my friend Paul last Christmas.

I do my best to leave nature the way it is. But what looks like “just nature” (without intervention) i reality affords some care. Gardeners will know what I mean. For me, this is like arranging flowers in the Japanese style (Ikebana).


 

Exciting! Now it’s getting real! (ENG | GER)

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Now it becomes concrete! Now the travel plans become real!

Since Madoka has learned from me that I first go on a sightseeing tour on my own and then want to spend a week in Tokyo, she has been actively involved. The number of our mails is increasing.

Madoka (she lives in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiba,_Chiba) suggested that we share a hotel room in Tokyo and simply spend a few days together. She would accompany me to some places of interest for foreign tourists.

In the meantime, a second proposal has been received from her. It is a well rated four-star hotel, which is centrally located.

For me it is totally exciting how the whole thing develops. I had no idea what kind of hospitality to expect. Would Madoka stop at a one-time meeting? Will she introduce me to her family? Come to the meeting with her grandchildren?

Now I know at least something concrete that awaits me: my girlfriend herself, and she would take several days off for me! That is far more than I had hoped for!

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She and her husband advise me to make a reservation as soon as possible. So it turns out that I will probably have reserved a room in a hotel in Tokyo earlier than the flights there and back!

Language Issue

We’re both in a jam before we meet again. How will we be able to communicate? Luckily, as my friend reassured me, I have an interpreting app on my mobile phone (ULT). If there is any confusion, she can say something to me in her language and there will be a translation on it promptly and vice versa.

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Meals

It’ll probably be easier to communicate about food. I wrote to Madoka that I’d like to try ramen. This Japanese noodle soup is supposed to be a popular delicacy. Promptly she replied that she loved ramen, but preferred Udon. Something new again! I looked up immediately…

Udon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udon

Ramen http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen

I also found out that kitchens that offer ramen will now spread throughout Europe. Well, I haven’t found a place yet, but there are surely places in Vienna that offer ramen.

Yes, and both of us love ice cream. But in October….? 😉

http://www.holiday-weather.com/tokyo/averages/october/

Checklist makes sense

So, now it’s really so far. I have flights to take care of….. and make me a checklist.

My credit cards, for example, are not optimal. A Visa card is recommended on the Internet. But maybe this travel tip is sponsored by Visa-Card? So research.

I was surprised to learn that cash is the norm in Japan.

What about mobile phones, the Internet, train rides…?

Anyway, I plan to continue talking about the next steps, and little by little my page with the link tips will grow.

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To the three photos: All three figures are small dolls that Madoka gave me as presents on various occasions.


GERMAN | DEUTSCH

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Nun wird es konkret! Jetzt werden die Reisepläne real!

Seit Madoka von mir erfahren hat, dass ich zuerst im Alleingang eine Besichtigungstour mache und anschließend eine Woche in Tokio verbringen will, wirkt sie aktiv mit. Die Anzahl unserer Mails häuft sich.

Madoka (sie wohnt in der Präfektur Chiba unweit von Tokio http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiba) schlug vor, dass wir uns ein Hotelzimmer in Tokio teilen und einfach einige Tage miteinander verbringen. Sie würde mich zu einigen Sehenswürdigkeiten begleiten, die für ausländische Touristen von Interesse seien.

Inzwischen ist ein zweiter Vorschlag von ihr eingelangt. Es handelt sich um ein gut bewertetes Viersternhotel, das zentral gelegen ist.

Für mich ist es total spannend, wie sich das Ganze entwickelt. Ich hatte bisher keine Ahnung, was mich an Gastfreundschaft erwartet. Würde es Madoka bei einem einmaligen Treffen bewenden lasen? Wird sie mir ihre Familie vorstellen? Mit ihren Enkelkindern zum Treffen kommen?

Nun weiß ich zumindest etwas Konkretes, das mich erwartet: nämlich meine Freundin höchstpersönlich, und sie würde sich mehrere Tage für mich Zeit nehmen! Das ist schon einmal weit mehr, als ich erhofft hatte!

 

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Sie und ihr Mann raten mir zu einer raschen Reservierung. So ergibt sich, dass ich nun wohl früher ein Zimmer in einem Hotel in Tokio reserviert habe werde als die Flüge hin und retour!

Sprachproblem

Beide haben wir einen Bammel vor unserem Wiedersehen. Wie werden wir uns verständigen können? Zum Glück, so beruhigte ich meine Freundin, habe ich auf meinem Handy eine Dolmetsch-App (ULT). Wenn es Unklarheiten gibt, kann sie in ihrer Sprache etwas zu mir sagen und es gibt darauf prompt eine Übersetzung und umgekehrt.

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Essen

Einfacher wird es vermutlich sein, sich über Essen zu verständigen. Ich schrieb Madoka, dass gerne Ramen probieren möchte. Diese japanische Nudelsuppe soll ja eine beliebte Köstlichkeit sein. Prompt kam ihre Antwort, dass sie Ramen liebt, ihr Mann jedoch Udon bevorzugte. Wieder etwas Neues! Ich schlug sofort nach…

Udon https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udon

Ramen https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen

Dabei fand ich auch heraus, dass sich Küchen, die Ramen anbieten, nun in Europa verbreiten werden. Nun, bisher ist mir noch keine untergekommen, aber in Wien gibt es sicher auch Lokale, die Ramen anbieten.

Ja, und wir beide mögen Eiscreme. Aber im Oktober…?

https://www.wetter.de/klima/asien/japan/tokio-s476620/oktober.html

Checkliste macht Sinn

So, nun ist es also wirklich so weit. Ich muss mich um Flüge kümmern…. und mir eine Checkliste machen.

Meine Kreditkarten beispielsweise sind nicht optimal. Im Internet wird zu einer Visa-Karte geraten. Vielleicht ist der Reisetipp aber von Visa-Card gesponsert? Also recherchieren.

Überrascht hat mich der Hinweis, dass in Japan Barzahlung üblich ist.

Wie sieht es mit dem Handy aus, mit dem Internet, mit den Zugfahrten….?

Jedenfalls habe ich vor, über die nächsten Schritte weiterhin im Plauderton zu berichten, und meine Seite mit den Link-Tipps wird nun zügig wachsen.

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Zu den drei Fotos: Alle drei Figuren sind kleine Puppen, die ich von Madoka zu verschiedenen Anlässen geschenkt bekam.

Planning, a snapshot and one more useful Web Tip

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Travelling to Japan in Time…

Again, I must confess that I could write so much more in this blog but life keeps me extremely busy and it has become a fight to have some free minutes for blogging. And absolutely no progress with my Japanese, too bad.

If I keep that busy and hardworking, chances are I will not even manage to prepare my travel to Japan in time… 😉 No, the plan remains the same:  Flight to Japan at the beginning of October and enjoying a couple of weeks over there with enjoying famous places, reportin g my impressions and the most important destination and purpose: visiting Madoka and her beloved ones.


A Rough Planning

This is what I am planning at the moment and I think I can get more precise soon.

Flight via Dubai (or other stop) to Osaka. Two days in Kyoto, Visiting Tojinbo (nature monuments) and the coast. Kanazawa and the garden Kenrokuen. Shirakawa-go and Toyama (“Japanese Alps”).  Yamanouchi (Monkey Park) and stay in Nagano.  Fuji-Hakone-National Park. Kamakura (Hase-dera-Temple). and then finally Tokyo for at least one week, but better more. Maybe a visit to Nikko.

As I love both nature and culture and as a lover of the Japanese traditions, I will try to find an equilibrium between city life and countryside…


One more nice person I found in the wide wide web… is

Yuta Aoki

Here is his blog:

http://www.yutaaoki.com with his bio: http://www.yutaaoki.com/blog/about-me

But you can also follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/ThatYuta and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/YutaAokiOfficial/

He is author of books, but I know him from his YouTube channel with good introductions in Japanese conetmporary culture and very interesting tutorials about learning Japanese https://www.youtube.com/user/YPlusShow

Maybe this is also something for you, just have a look and watch some of Yuta Aoki’s videos…


My Comment to the photo…

This is weird mixture indeed. I started decorating a small table and this has become out of it (but will change again!). The handpainted fan is a gift of my freind Paul. It was crafted and painted by Shaolin monks during their stay in a hotel in our region, the Hotel Larimar.

All three red colored gifts are items from my dear Japanese friend Madoka.

Left and right are beautiful kaleidoscopes. and the beautiful decoration in the middle is meant to bring me luck (like the fan).

The glass items left and right are so-called Vajras or Dordjes, as used in Tibetean ritual ceremonies. They are made from natural quartz crystal.

The rose buds are just decorations, and so are the white objects left and right which have little LED lamps inside.

A very special souvenir and gift, however, is the colourful paper weight right in the middle. It was a Christmas present from Paul and was purchased by him in a renowned manufacture in Scotland during one of his many trips to the Bristish Empire.

Ah, and the birds, a bit hidden! They don’t belong to me, but were gifts to our youngest sons – souvenirs from the island Murano (near Venice, Italy).


Thank you for visiting my blog!

As simple as it is, I do hope it gives you some inspirations…