Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Japan Trip 2014 ~ Itinerary

Overview of my 3 weeks in Japan~

21/03 Friday - Arrive Narita - Narita Express to Shinagawa, Shinkansen Hikari to Shizuoka, local train to Nishiyaizu - 157 mins - Total:¥ 9,450(Fare:¥ 4,750  Seat Fee:¥ 4,700)

22/03 Saturday - Visit Kakegawa Castle

23/03 Sunday - Peter's Wedding!

24/03 Monday - Travel Fujieda to Nagoya - local train to Shizuoka, Shinkansen to Nagoya - 89 mins - Total:¥ 6,670(Fare:¥ 3,670  Seat Fee:¥ 3,000)
                        - Visit Inuyama {Oldest Castle in Japan} - Meitetsunagoya to Inuyama on Meitetsu Ltd. Express - 49 mins - ¥540

25/03 Tuesday - Visit Gujo Hachiman - Wide View train to Minoota, Nagaragawa railway to Gujo Hachiman - 155 mins - Total:¥ 4,190(Fare:¥ 2,490  Seat Fee:¥ 1,700)

26/03 Wednesday - Travel Nagoya to Hikone - Shinkansen Hikari to Maibara, local train to Hikone - 45 mins - Total:¥ 3,740(Fare:¥ 1,490  Seat Fee:¥ 2,250)
                             - Visit Hikone Castle & Gardens, Genkyu-En

27/03 Thursday - Visit Uji - Special Rapid Service to Kyoto, local train to Uji - 82 mins - ¥ 1,320

28/03 Friday - Visit Ryotan-Ji in Hikone
                     - Travel Hikone to Shin-Osaka - JR Rapid Service to Kyoto then Osaka, Hankyu line from Umeda to Mikuni - 95 mins - ¥ 2,130

29/03 Saturday - Visit Osaka Castle, Kema Sakuranomiya Park, Namba - Osaka subway day pass ¥ 600 {weekend & holiday price, normally ¥ 800}

30/03 Sunday - Visit Nara - Hankyu line to Umeda, Yamatoji Line Rapid Service Osaka to Nara - 70 mins - ¥ 990
                      - Visit Floating Garden in Osaka {fantastic night views of the City}

31/03 Monday - Had planned for Koya-San but missed the train & next connection wasn't for another hour so just picked a destination at random from the train station at Osaka
                        - Visit Kobe - local train Osaka to Kobe - 30min - ¥ 390 - Should have got off at Sannomiya as that seems to be where most of the tourist attractions are, getting off at Kobe put me down by the pier which turned out to be quite nice as well. Mostly shopping malls & a Science Centre for children but offered a great view of Kobe Port Tower
                         - Visit Hyogo - local train Kobe to Hyogo - ¥ 120
                         - Visit Osaka Castle at night

01/04 Tuesday - Travel Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima - subway from Higashimikuni to Shin-Osaka, Shinkansen Hikari to Hiroshima - 144 min - Total:¥ 10,410(Fare:¥ 5,800  Seat Fee:¥ 4,610)
                        - Visit A-Bomb Dome, Gardens & Museums
                        - Visit Miyajima to see Floating Torii at night - Street car to Nishi-Hiroshima, local train to Miyajimaguchi, ferry to Miyajima ¥ 160 + ¥ 500

02/04 Wednesday - Visit Miyajima - local train from Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi, ferry to Miyajima ¥ 580

03/04 Thursday - Travel Hiroshima to Tokyo - Shinkansen Sakura to Shin-Osaka, Shinkansen Hikari to Tokyo, Yamanote line to Akihabara, Chuo/Sobu line to Asakusabashi - 312 mins - Total:¥ 18,560(Fare:¥ 11,660  Seat Fee:¥ 6,900)
                         - Visit Akihabara

04/04 Friday - Visit Ueno, Asakusa, Tokyo Skytree, Asahi HQ

05/04 Saturday - Visit Odaiba to see the Gundam, Shibuya, Shinjuku

06/04 Sunday - Travel Tokyo to Nagano - local train to Akihabara then Tokyo, Shinkansen Asama to Nagano - 122 mins - Total:¥ 8,200(Fare:¥ 4,000  Seat Fee:¥ 4,200)
                      - Visit Zenkoji Temple

07/04 Monday - Travel Nagano to Hakuba - Wide View Shinano to Matsumoto, Oito line to Kamishiro - 160 mins - Total:¥ 3,970(Fare:¥ 2,270  Seat Fee:¥ 1,700) -- There is also a bus that runs between Nagano & Hakuba which takes 60-90 mins and costs ¥ 1500-1800

08/04 Tuesday - Snowboarding Goryu & Hakuba 47

09/04 Wednesday - Snowboarding Goryu & Hakuba 47

10/04 Thursday - Travel Hakuba to Tokyo Narita - Oito line to Matsumoto, Azusa to Shinjuku, Narita Express to Terminal 1 - 378 mins - Total:¥ 10,860(Fare:¥ 6,260  Seat Fee:¥ 4,600)

It was a pretty action packed 21 days and I feel like I covered a LOT of ground.. this is probably not the way most people like to travel but I wanted to maximise my time as best I could... I was absolutely shattered by the end of it.. Luckily train travel in Japan is pretty easy and stress-free and most importantly very comfortable..

I had to make a few last minute changes of plan due to weather as well as difficulty finding accommodation due to Hanami {Cherry Blossom Viewing}.

Apart from Koya-San, I also gave up going to Okayama for a day exploring Miyajima. If I had a do'over, I might have done Hikone as a day trip from Nagoya rather than spending two nights there as Uji is easily accessible from Nagoya as well, although in the end I quite appreciated having some time in a small town and not having the hour travel time back to Nagoya and being able to go straight back to the guesthouse after a very wet day.

The only bonus about doing day trips is not having to pack and unpack luggage and lug it to a new place.. which, after 3 weeks on the road and amassing quite a bit of shopping, is an absolute Godsend..
xx Caz

Friday, 28 March 2014

Hostel Etiquette - If you are leaving early in the morning...

I'm blogging a facebook status I posted a few days ago.. as this was one of the comments...
"I love how you are sharing this, as if it would actually educate some fool. Except well, you don't suffer fools.....so probably this isn't really going to help anyone, except well crack a smile that it was you and not us."
So, I've decided to come out of blogging hiatus to make a public service announcement:
"if you are leaving early in the morning, have your stuff packed and ready to go, do not spend half an hour rustling plastic bags at 5am.. It's massively annoying for other people trying to sleep.. Also do not put your alarm on snooze then bugger off to the bathroom.. Your alarm also does not need to be at max volume.. And no, don't turn the main room light on to check if you've left anything.. Use the light on that phone you didn't bother to put on silent last night.. Oh and loud conversations in the hallway are really not necessary either..."
I should also add, if you anticipate coming in late at night, to have the things you might need next to or on your bed so you're not having to fossick around in your suitcase/backpack for them when people are already asleep or trying to sleep.. I generally leave my pj's next to or under my pillow when I head out during the day and my toiletries bag next to my bed (under the bed if I'm in a bottom bunk or out next to my luggage if I'm in a top bunk).. that way if I end up coming back late, I can drop off my day pack, grab my pj's, towel, toiletries bag & hit the showers with as little time in the room & making as little noise as possible. I make sure everything I need is in my toiletries bag.. from face/body wash, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush/toothpaste etc. to all my lotions and potions as well as a clean pair of underwear.

Alternatively, just come in and pass out in your bed fully clothed which has proven to be a popular option on many occasions in my hostel coming's and going's...!! Not personally.. I hate sleeping in my clothes.. but it is something which I have often witnessed over the years..

There are many other things I've learnt about hostel life and living.. I did live in a hostel for a year and have cumulatively probably spent about that again, in hostels during my travels.. maybe I'll do a series of 'Hostel Etiquette's..??
xx Caz

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Hitting a wall...

I've hit a wall today... I woke up.. I got out of bed to see off a house guest.. I changed the bedding in preparation of another house guest arriving tonight... I did some cleaning and...


I am now sitting on the couch feeling just rather blah about life... It's a beautiful sun shiney day outside my window and I just can't muster up any energy or enthusiasm about it...

I think I need a holiday... After a super busy July and a busy start of August... I think I am tired and run down and getting far too caught up in things that really don't matter..

I think I need some time alone... Even though I like to think I present a pretty authentic self... it still sometimes feels like an effort to be surrounded by people.. to be engaging... to be social... things which I just can't be bothered with right now...

I either need to go away and think far too much about things and process it all or just go away and not think about things and start with a clean slate... I feel like I'm stuck in this limbo at the moment where I can't do one or the other and it's just the same empty thoughts that have taken up residency in my brain... cluttering my mind with I don't even know what...

It's one of those days where I feel like I might burst into tears for no apparent reason other than 'just because'...

Maybe I just need to umplug... switch off and lose myself in a good book... I don't remember the last time I read a book....
xx Caz

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

I'm totally not looking forward to...

Google reader shutting down on Monday... all I can say is WHYYYY???? Whyyyy Google??? Whyyy???

I've signed up to feedly... and I've tried to use it and get used to it... but... I keep resorting back to gReader... gahhh...

*fist shaking*

That is all. Good night.
xx Caz

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Sensory Stimulus - Sound

Let's be honest.. it's not often I walk without being plugged into my ipod... there are times I've left my earplugs in even after my ipod's died, just to avoid crazy homeless people trying to talk to me...
And believe me... THEY DO!!
Case in point : My gay male friend & I, walking home after dinner the other night... Walk past a homeless man who comes up and goes "So what's it like having sex with a woman?"
Our reply : *silence* keep walking, avoid any eye contact...
Homeless guy : Something arather about something bleeding... then goes on with "Oh well, you look like you're past it and in your menopausal stage anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter..."
We keep walking to try get away from him...
He then yells out : "I'll pray for you!"
Uhhhh... thanks?!

Ummm... yup... If I hadn't been so paranoid about him stabbing me with dirty junky needles I probably would have pissed myself laughing at the fact that of all the male friends I've ever walked with, it had to be when I was with a GAY male friend that we get accosted about "our sex life"...


This post is actually about the different things I have heard today...

Please note, I am sitting at "Mrs Macquaries Chair" overlooking the Sydney harbour, Harbour Bridge & Opera House... (just to paint you a picture)

The interesting conversations at home with Kevin about WOOF'ing and farming and where we source our food... (that's a whole other post!)

Conversation with Rohan about travel, hoarding, life overseas, electronic music, work etc & the sounds of cooking, chopping, boiling, frying while he made us lunch...

Walking past flats and hearing random snippets of tv... or radio.... Wondering what they are watching or listening to.
Basketballs bouncing against the concrete court.. the scuff of trainers.. two men talking...
Two young children speaking Japanese on the playground...
An ibis flip flapping as it took off in flight...

Coming across a contemporary art exhibition entitled "Scream" at the old Gunnery, the random sound snippets of conversation, commentary & sound effects of the exhibition...

Birds tweeting & chirping, conversing in the Botanic Gardens

Walking past people who have their ipods blaring and wondering what they are listening to...

The crew setting up the stage for Carmen... walkie talkies buzzing.. men & women talking/shouting...

The sound of the waves lapping at the sea wall
Sea planes and helicopters overhead
Commentary from a Hop On/Hop Off tour boat as it goes around the Harbour
Screams and yahoos from the jet boat tour... giving them a wave..
Sounds of the couple exchanging kisses in the sun..

Sound of tourists lining up to take photos
A wedding photographer barking instructions to the bride & groom on the rocks..
Conversations of the pairs of friends out enjoying the sun...
Spanish, Chinese.. Filipino..?

Sound of boats putt putting around the harbour...
Speed boats thudding up and down on the chop..
Squawk of a duck..

Phone ringing and reminding me it was time to leave!

Do you ever walk around and listen to the world around you?
Do you ever just eavesdrop on people's conversations?
Or do you usually have headphones on??
xx Caz