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I’ve been having so much fun looking around, that I’ve neglected my blog. Sorry gang. I’ll see what I can do about that.

I HAVE been putting all my daily stuff on the What I Did page (take a look if you haven’t), but it’s time to start putting up snippets of what’s been going on during this trip.



It’s been almost 2 weeks since I landed in Tokyo, and now find myself in Seoul after a Not So Harrowing / More Annoying encounter with typhoon 12.   The blasted thing blew of out of the South China see and cancelled my sea voyage on the JR Kyushu Jet Ferry BEETLE, a ferry serving Fukuoka, Japan with Busan, S. Korea. My plans for a leisurely and other-timely train journey north through the Korean peninsula were DASHED on the 6 foot waves of the Tshushima Trough.   The BEETLE’s owners were kind enough to send me an email me the night before departure, which put me into Emergency mode. Here’s a little peak into how my brain worked that night.

“Dammit! I wanted to take a boat! Really? A TYPHOON??? Stupid typhoon! Sigh…okay, what are my options? My Japan Rail Pass expires tomorrow, and it will probably cost $150 or so to get to Fukuoka in a few days after the typhoon is past. And I don’t want to spend any more money than I have to.   I have the hotel reservation in Busan for after the ferry ride. Guess I need to cancel that.. Hmmm… okay, when should I leave – before or after the typhoon? Since my Japan Rail Pass expires tomorrow, should I just get my butt down to Fukuoka and wait out the storm? No! A quick check of airbnb and shows NO hotels under $250 a night less than 40KM from Fukuoka. Grrr. .   Okay, what else? What if I just stayed here in Kyoto and THEN took a train to Fukuoka??  (I zip down to the front desk of my guesthouse and inquire of Maki, the innkeeper, if another night is possible. YES! I scuttle back to my room/planning HQ.)   Okay, so I can stay here. But wait. My Japan Rail Pass STILL expires tomorrow. Dammit!   Okay, what about flying? No, no, no..I want to fly as little as possible to have a LEISURELY trip around the world.  Sigh….But there’s no other way. Fine.  Just……fine.  Check hipmunk for flights, bingo! Asiana has a flight out of Osaka Airport tomorrow.  I could get a bus to the airport, looks like one gets there from Kyoto station in about 50 minutes. It’ll be break even, financially, from here to Seoul, so…get to it!  But what do I do when I land in Seoul???   Quick email to my airbnb host in Seoul asking if I could come a night earlier. In due time, she says yes, no problem. So there it is.   Flight booked. Current reservations cancelled. New night booked. Just need to figure out which bus to take in the morning! Aaackk… Back to the front desk where Corri, another staffer, calmly tells me that my web research must be wrong because there IS no bus that goes from Kyoto station to Osaka Kaisen airport. Dammit! But there IS an express train. Which will take my Japan Railpass (ha! Get MORE value out of that pass!!!).   Seeing my manic state of affairs, she writes the info down carefully and in penmanship that no current American school child could pull off, hands it to me as if I’m on the edge, which I may be, and backs away. Smiling.    I go up to my room and resume packing.”

No, not that flight...

No, not that flight…

That’s about how it happened. The next day was magical. Every connection I made – city bus to train to gate to flight to flight time to Korean express train into the city to prearranged taxi to rendezvous point at the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon – was absolutely perfectly timed. Just enough time to be relaxed and never waited more than a few restful minutes to get to the next ride. I can’t remember when I’ve traveled so easily.   And the typhoon was still out there…

That's the ticket!

That’s the ticket!


  1. hi Dave, what an adventure I do not know how you can keep track of everything and keep going with you itinerary, booking, packing, having fun, etc. beautiful paces! keep having fun and be safe!…

    • Thanks, Matti,
      I’m not sure how my brain works either, but so far I’m staying out of trouble and moving along. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Yeah, I sympathize on public transit. We stayed in Hakone Tues. night because our rail passes’ last day was Tues., so I wanted to be somewhere near Tokyo Tues. night, so it wouldn’t cost too much to get to Narita sometime during Wed. (Thurs. AM departure.) That worked, but getting from way up on a mountain in Hakone to Narita airport takes forever. Turns out paying more for faster trains would only have saved us 70 minutes out of a total of a 5 hour trip. And that’s basically to cross the Tokyo metro area, which as you pointed out is large. 1 hour bus ride, standing, slinging all over the mountainside down to the train station, then 2 JR trains, then 1 other train with unclear names for the expensive vs. regular one, then passport check to even get out of the airport from the train stop, then a hotel shuttle bus. We had unclear train directions and some problems figuring out what ticket to buy. Despite people being helpful, I lost it at one point and got angry (in Japanese), and I know better. I apologized several times, and we moved on and found the right train.

    • The Rail pass is hard for me to complain about – it’s a smoking good deal while it’s valid. I saved about $100 using it very little. And I REGULARLY got the wrong train info from Thankfully, lots of sympathetic and knowledgeable helped me out. Sorry you had such a headache getting to Narita. And you speak some Japanese, right?

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