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Anxious to Return to Japan


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Tony Galiani

Japan ( and a few other countries) have ruined me for travel and so now places that are not as nice, efficient and clean drive me to distraction and frustration.

 

I have taken two trips since Covid restrictions have eased - one domestic USA and one to Europe.  Travel has been fairly dysfunctional with all types of airline issues (as if the airlines have forgotten how to run their operations).  Also lots of dirt, graffiti, disrepair and inefficiency.  Though to be fair, people have been generally welcoming which has been nice.

I finally got to watch the most recent NHK Train Cruise - how great - no graffiti, clean trains, no garbage all over the place - just a different world.

 

So I spent yesterday looking at flight options even though I know Japan is still closed.  But I plan to be ready the moment it opens up.  Hopeful for later this year but thinking January/February will be more likely.  After all, who wouldn't want to go to Sapporo and freeze at the Snow and Ice Festival?

 

Ciao,

Tony Galiani

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maihama eki

We are ready to visit Japan again too. This is the longest stretch we have gone without a visit since the 90s.

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sutenai

Crossing my fingers that Japan will get a handle on their vaccination program (this seems to be the sticking point at the moment) and that I'll be able to go before the end of the year. I'd rather not make it an even two years since I last stopped by... and that was just a long layover. It's been too long, to the point where I'm actually considering making a Japanese layout... 😅

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Why not start on a little Japanese layout or diorama now and help dull the japan travel hunger pangs! 😜

 

jeff

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MeTheSwede
On 7/13/2021 at 1:33 PM, sutenai said:

It's been too long, to the point where I'm actually considering making a Japanese layout... 😅

 

Well, I missed Japan so much that I took up railroad modelling as a hobby just to be able to create a piece of Japan for myself. 😅

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Tony Galiani

Well, I am trying another Japanese layout to follow up on my Chihiro theme but my trains never seem to run as well as the trains in Japan .....

Tony

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Tony, you’re probably not doing your proper shisa kanko! 
 

jeff

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bobbodaclown
On 7/9/2021 at 9:21 AM, maihama eki said:

We are ready to visit Japan again too. This is the longest stretch we have gone without a visit since the 90s.

Yes, likewise for us ☹️

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Tony Galiani

Jeff - you are right!  I will have to try that!

 

Oddly enough, without realizing I was doing shisa kanko, I have been going through that practice after I load my car to head out for a musical performance.  I point at everything and tell myself what it is.  I have an irrational fear, or maybe it is rational, of showing up for a performance without the necessary gear.

 

Tony

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Lol I use to do the same pointing when loading up the club layout stuff, especially when we did the build on the fly layout and had a massive number of things to transport and keep track of! I also do if running the old club layout when bringing trains in and out of the big yard, always going down the switch ladder to make sure everything is set and throttle is the right direction. Pointing really helps!

 

jeff

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marknewton

Pointing and calling isn't exclusive to Japan. When I was part of a two-man crew on freight trains we would call the signals to each other and repeat the call. Saved us from getting into trouble a number of times.

 

I still do it now on suburban trains, where I'm usually by myself. It still keeps me out of trouble. 👍

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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Another one just waiting for Japan to open up again. I have a feeling that flights and hotels will be over-booked immediately when an announcement is made.

 

BA were offering discount flights at the weekend and I nearly booked. Their policy allows for them to be changed and you only pay the difference, but of course if all the prices shoot up you may end up paying a lot. Also they are known to be difficult about refunds.

 

Fingers crossed I guess.

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1 hour ago, mojo said:

BA were offering discount flights at the weekend and I nearly booked. Their policy allows for them to be changed and you only pay the difference, but of course if all the prices shoot up you may end up paying a lot. Also they are known to be difficult about refunds.

There's been some pretty tempting offers alright, but the "generous rebooking policy" of certain (most?) airlines can be a bit of a "scam". Plus, since it's a special exemption they can (and will) change it without notice. I've only booked refundable tickets (hurray for frequent flyer miles!), even if Scandinavian has a pretty generous refund policy at the moment - simply because you never know when that's gonna change.

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I did my first post-Covid trip to Europe earlier this month and it was quite the experience.

 

With regard to booking and changing flights, I am seeing lots of complaining in travel groups about flights booked at low fares and for specific schedules only to have the airline cancel the flights or change schedules with limited options for rebooking.  I just got an e-mail blast from Delta this morning outlining their plans to do better and reduce delays and flight changes and other problems.  One can only hope.

 

If you do opt to fly right after things open up, then pack plenty of patience.  My outbound flight was delayed by an hour; my return flight was going to be delayed four hours and require an overnight stay before I got home but I lucked out and got an alternate flight as I was at the airport early.  The list of things that went wrong was pretty long - in the hands of an author like Bill Bryson it would make a great comedy read.  Most of the issues were just annoying but the double bounce missed landing with go-around on my first flight was somewhat disconcerting.  It is as if the airlines have forgotten how to fly.

 

Having said that, I am eager to be traveling back to Japan and do hope it becomes an option soon.  Right now, hoping that I can make the Sapporo Snow and Ice Festival in early 2022 as I am not sure if going much sooner will be possible.

 

Ciao,

Tony Galiani

 

 

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I'm still waiting for Aeroflot to repay me the money for the flight they cancelled last year.

 

Realistically I don't expect myself to be travelling abroad anywhere until maybe next summer. Getting stranded somewhere because some politican made some random panic decision is no fun.

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I think it comes down to personal risk assessment.  I am getting to the point where I am worried about aging out of travel so I take every opportunity I can.  Had I been stuck somewhere, it would not have been the first time and I would like to think that I would have managed it okay.  And trip insurance helps.  But this is definitely not for everyone.

Ciao,

Tony Galiani

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23 hours ago, sutenai said:

There's been some pretty tempting offers alright, but the "generous rebooking policy" of certain (most?) airlines can be a bit of a "scam". Plus, since it's a special exemption they can (and will) change it without notice. I've only booked refundable tickets (hurray for frequent flyer miles!), even if Scandinavian has a pretty generous refund policy at the moment - simply because you never know when that's gonna change.

 

In the EU (and still in the UK because they have not changed the rules yet) if the airline cancels you are entitled to a refund.

 

Problem is that the airlines don't make it easy. They want to offer you a voucher instead. Refunds can be slow to come. I had some booked for May (I know, I'm an idiot, but both the Japanese and British governments were saying it would be okay by then) and in the end I had to do a credit card chargeback to get a refund. I booked via a broker which makes things more difficult.

 

Even if you book with the airline they will try to make it hard to get a refund. For example BA won't cancel the flights until the very last day before which they have to start paying compensation, which is three weeks from the date of the flight. So you will know well in advance that you can't go, but unless you wait for that day you can only take up their free rebooking offer.

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