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Showing posts from July, 2014


I cannot go anywhere overseas right now. I don't have a valid passport. They sliced the cover, all adornments faded into obscurity, right before my very eyes. But that's okay, a new one should arrive soon. My passport wasn't quite the full decade old, but it would have been on the border of six months validity remaining at its next use, an entry requirement for many countries. Stamps from 12 countries though it's seen more, three visa from only two: China, Vietnam. Six pages out of 32 devoid of additional markings. What amazing adventures the passport, along with its owner, has had.

Coping with turbulence

I'll share what I've done to overcome my turbulence anxiety in the past as it was really getting to the point of interfering with my flying. It comes down to visualising flying and visualising your feelings. I remember my early experiences of flying, about twenty years ago. I was very excited about it and often used to sit in the rear of the aircraft for the view, not knowing or caring that this is the worst spot for turbulence. I have no memory of being particularly concerned about turbulence. I even flew all the way to the UK and back without being worried. Okay, so I have established that there was a time I didn't worry. Hold that thought. Then I think back to those times when I did experience bad turbulence. I know when it started - flying back from NZ and the seatbelt lights were illuminated mid-flight with a warning from the pilot. I remember flying so many times between Sydney and Canberra, a short trip of maybe 25 minutes airborne, yet so often bumpy. It

Stories from Japan

Google+ provides an alternative way of exploring our recent trip through Japan with their Stories feature: Sydney to Matsuyama Hiroshima - A Memorial Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima Mazda Factory and Museum Tokyo DisneySea Odaiba Flying home from Narita

A Washout Part 2

I previously wrote about how fortunate I was to complete the length of the Sanin railway line in Japan three days prior to a section being closed due to heavy rain. Shortly after we returned from our latest trip to Japan Typhoon Neoguri passed over a large portion of Japan causing widespread damage. The inundation from the typhoon caused  mudslide which killed a 12 year old boy at Nagiso and also severely damaged the train tracks of the Chuo line there. Nagiso Station in 2008 The Kiso River flooded at Nagiso We've been to Nagiso before, it's the closest railway station to historic Tsumago. I was thinking of taking my Mum along that line on our trip earlier this year, in order to connect up to the Oito Line at Matsumoto. Instead we caught the Takayama Line from the city that gives the line its name to Toyama, completing that line after a section had been washed away back in 2006. And of course we completed the Oito Line this last trip. This vulnerability o

Homeward bound

I really wish that Tokyo Teleport was real with access to Sydney. For a supposed aircraft lover I get awfully anxious and tired of long overnight flights. It's always the same on the final day. Shop until you are overloaded. Catch the train to the airport. Fly off home. After reserving seats on the Narita Express for the late afternoon we caught the Saikyo/Rinkai Line to Oimachi to shop for some items at the Ito Yokado department store (kind of like a Big W). We returned to Shinjuku to eat at Tokatsu Wako, located in the Subnade underground shopping street near our hotel. Then more shopping (H&M, Muji) before hurrying back to the hotel where I collected the luggage and B and Alex at a last meal at Sakura Sushi opposite. The hour long journey on the Narita Express is always a nice way to relax before or after a flight. I'd had a bad night before and was again feeling apprehensive about the upcoming flight home. At Narita Airport we got our two zaisu (floo

Teleport to Venus

Today I travelled through a Teleport. It took me out to Venus Fort. Then I went over a rainbow And returned to somewhere I know We caught a train, one drove a car But really we didn't go very far. We've been looking to purchase some Japanese household items on this trip and heard about a chain of stores called Nitori . There's one at Odaiba , so we caught the Rinkai Line from Shinjuku to get there. The exit station is the futuristically, and unfortunately inappropriately, named Tokyo Teleport. I would gladly use a teleport to return to Sydney rather than fly past Typhoon Neoguri. There are quite a few shops and activities at Odaiba. We started at Megaweb, which hosts a large Toyota showcase of their technologies and cars. If you have an International Driving Permit or local license, and can speak Japanese, you can test drive one of their cars around a set track. There are also some driving activities for younger kids, though the choices are limited for non-Japan

Tokyo DisneySea

I was never a great fan of Disney as a kid, but I'm beginning to understand its attractions. Last year we visited our first Disney theme park; Tokyo Disneyland and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the long queues for a number of major attractions. "For Alex's sake" yesterday we tried out Disneyland's neighbouring attraction, Tokyo DisneySea, prepurchasing tickets at Shinjuku Takashimaya's Disney ticket counter. To reach the park from Shinjuku involves a 15 minute train ride on the frequent Chuo Line Rapid to Tokyo Station, then a long walk to the Keiyo Line to Maihama. This time we caught the Mickey Mouse windowed Disney Resort Line monorail to the DisneySea park entrance. Alex was delighted to finally use automatic gate tickets at the monorail station (you can also use IC cards) rather than the attendant gated JR Passes we have been relying on. Once through the ticket gates a large globe, appearing to be suspended by water, spins slowly. The gatew