Alisa | October 3, 2017

Japan voyage nr. 0

It is only a couple of days prior to our takeoff to Japan and the most essential preparations are finished by now. What is left is to pack our bags and not to miss the flight.

Such control freak as I am, we still started our planning process relatively late by my standards – less than two months before takeoff. We had the tickets already, but the actual trip seemed to be so distant that neither me nor Ilya could force ourselves to start making the plan and reservations. We started making arrangements more or less actively about one and a half months ago and during this time I met more new people than I have in last five years. What makes me say that? Before we decided to go to Japan I didn’t have anybody I know there. But now the list of souvenirs we are bringing to Japan from Estonia is already longer than the one we intend to bring back.

Some remarks about our packing experience:

Surprisingly enough, we found six adapters and electric socket plugs compatible with Japan standard in our household. Now as I am writing it, i think there is seventh as well… o_O Also, considering the amount of tech we are inevitably bringing with us, I found one useful recommendation on YouTube: bring your own powerboard. It allows to use only one socket plug adapter and all the devices can be used with just European plugs. We’ll let you know how it went in our later posts.

And about baggage we are taking with us, there is one more fact worth mentioning: the Japan-bound flights allow for 2x23kg check-in baggage items per person + one carry-one item. However, we decided to proceed with our regular two-bag setup. Since we’re going to be using public transport a lot – less baggage is more convenient. And we’ll purchase additional baggage on the spot if needed.

Many recommendations I have stumbled upon suggest bringing minimal amount of clothes and shopping there. He-he! With my height no way I am hoping for that to turn out well =) So I am bringing all my stuff with me. But I am packing only a bare minimum of cosmetics with a plan to go on a shopping spree.

During the planning period we agreed not to make strict schedule for the entire duration of our stay and leave some of our time unplanned for more flexibility. How it turned out: we have one fixed full day arrangement in every city we visit (total 3 days of sightseeing with private guide) and 5 half-day tours/classes/experiences. In addition to arranged plans we came up with a list of things we want to see-taste-experience. In fact, it became a really long list. So we made an interactive map of the interesting spots, which was a nice idea. It allowed to group the points of interest based on location, so if we go to, say, Akihabara or Shibuya, we can be sure we won’t miss anything we wanted to try.

At the moment, I am pretty sure we got everything we wanted regarding tours, classes and experiences. All the dates worked out fine so far and even some unexpected date changes matched our intentions perfectly. We already got acquainted with our guides who will be helping us during the trip. Can’t wait to meet them.

As a result of planning process my itty-bitty inner pedant developed a huge excel workbook with all kind of cross-reference tables, charts, to-do lists and budget planning equations. Interesting, if Ilya have ever tried to make any sense of all those columns and numbers? (editor’s note: “No he hasn’t”) In addition to that, we will be highly dependent on stable internet connection during our trip for navigation and research, so majestic 1,2GB/day data limit we have secured for us doesn’t seem like an overkill, although it seemed a lot at the time of choosing the data plan.

We have acquired a lot of useful information from our good neighbors, who visited Japan this spring. So their first-hand experience answered some of our pressing questions. And still I can’t help a feeling that I am not entirely prepared. =) Ilya is more relaxed about this entire situation. He does not have any specific expectations, so he does not have much to fear. I, on the contrary, have my expectations so high, I am afraid, I myself cannot live up to it =). So I am happy we didn’t leave all the packing/planning for the last moment and I have couple of days to unwind and start the vacation of my dreams with a cleared head. Luckily, Ilya has always been a good sport about my anxiety and endless concerns, so he gives me feeling that all will work out in the end. After all, it is just an adventure, isn’t it?