Author Topic: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun  (Read 6830 times)

Offline shwarmabob

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Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« on: August 03, 2015, 02:00:45 PM »
Tokyo was chosen to host the 2020 Olympics. We decided that we cannot wait another five years and anyway it's more comfortable to watch the opening ceremony from the couch, so why not go now. But to get back to beginning of the story: the light lit up in my head, when after engaging in the point hunting hobby for a few months, one cold winter night I attended Dan’s CH seminar and as he was going through the slides, I am trying to takes notes and eat my burger at the same time, and well … he mentions some pics and intricacies about Japan and there goes my burger. I think I am going to send him the bill from the dry cleaners. I ended up hungry, but learnt a lot from the seminar. (disclaimer: Shwarmabob doesn’t receive commission for advertising)

As the spring rolls around, and I need figure out the when, where and how part of our summer plans. Skip the Pennsylvania camping trip this year, after all you can go camping in Hokkaido (we won’t). I start making inquiries about the August climate in Japan. My co-worker confirms that August is hot and humid. If we are unlucky we may catch a typhoon or two and if that is not enough to discourage us, the schools are out too. In short, it is the worst time to travel. As luck has it August is also when schools are out in our hemisphere and Shwarmabob Jr. and Ms. Shwarmabob do not tend to their educational endeavors. I briefly contemplate if we should visit Mongolia instead (better weather), but then being aware that it is Mrs. Shwarmabob’s lifelong dream to visit the Land of the Rising Sun and sleeping in Jurtas on the Mongolian steppes will not score me nearly as many brownie points on the home front I decide to stay with the Japan option. Our teens, Shwarmabob Jr. and Ms. Shwarmabob, are easier to appease: their bickering is not confined by geography; it is a constant source of entertainment whether we are camping in New Hampshire or visiting the other side of the globe. Will they even notice that we left the five boroughs? – I wonder.

to be continued, in the meantime sayonara

Offline Yaalili

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2015, 02:44:11 PM »
Cool keep it going.

Offline stbaum

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2015, 02:54:44 PM »
a sense of humor! loving it :) keep it coming!!
My greatest achievement? I am fluent in FRIENDS quotes

Offline morgs

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2015, 04:13:04 PM »
The tr's on DDF are really starting to get serious ;D

Offline shwarmabob

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 05:57:49 PM »
The search for tickets started. Having a Chase United card was helpful, piecing together four available seats on each flight segment was somewhat challenging with some bumps along the way. On a late spring evening when the kids were chased away from the computer and out of the living room, Mrs. Shwarmabob was toiling away in the kitchen, I am staring at open spreadsheets and search engines on the screen and spent so much time with a United rep on the phone that Mrs. Shwarmabob started to come in giving me looks wondering whom am I smoozing with. This can be especially unnerving when she still has sharp objects from the kitchen in her hands. Concurrently, frightening sounds emerging from the kids’ room make me wonder if the house will be demolished while I am trying to concentrate on my conversation so the United agent gets us to the correct destination. Even so, like Odysseus on his way home to Ithaca, I bravely sail through these challenges, the stars align and I get our reservations confirmed. I announce my victory to the family, smiles and stunned disbelieve follow. My vacation time gets approved at work the next day– phew – another milestone completed.

Now, it’s time to improve on our rather measly knowledge on Japan. For the next few months, the local librarian must wonder why a frum family takes out every book on Japanese gardens (Mrs. Shwarmabob), castles and history (myself). Peter Barakan's Japanology Plus (highly recommended!) from NHK (Japanese Broadcasting Corporation) makes its nightly appearance on our YouTube screen in the living room. Tokugawa’s battles are discussed at the dinner table. By the time the summer comes along we great one another with “Ohio Gozaimas” instead of good morning and Ms. Shwarmabob reports to her brother who is away in yeshiva that Tatti completely lost his marbles. The teens conclude that there was not much to that to begin with. Anyhow, they are busy with school. B”H at least Mrs. Shwarmabob shares my enthusiasm.

The best part of a vacation is a change of mindset. The journey starts in a person's mind. The trip starts with your inner journey. The two weeks that we are going to be away is extended to several months of planning, preparing and daydreaming. The anticipation and excitement makes those tedious corporate meetings and miserable commutes much easier to handle.

To be fair, finally, a week before departure Ms. Shwarmabob tells me sheepishly: Dad, I am really excited about our trip. Bubala, just about time!

Shwarmabob Jr. naturally decides to dwell into the shogunate’s history just as the time comes to start packing the suitcases. If it wasn’t for Mrs. Shwarmabob, he would end up without pajamas, underwear and toothbrush in Tokyo and I am not even sure that he would be bothered by the lack of these mundane items.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 06:11:36 PM by shwarmabob »

Offline Yaalili

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 06:06:55 PM »
Lol :)

Offline shwarmabob

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 06:38:59 PM »
As for the practicalities - the point tally for the trip was:

4 * 70K United points EWR-NRT, KIX (Osaka) - - NYC
4 * 4.5K Avios to fly from Tokyo Haneda to Okayama on JAL
----------
298000 Chase UR total

Yes, I have to admit flying the cattle class here. Put me in Cherem on ddf! Cherem not Charem!
No, flying Y was not so much fun, but F or J would have cost another 418,000 UR and I decided to be frugal and save those points for a rainy day. Having access to Priority Pass helped to ease the pain with some screwdrivers along the way.
The total fiscal hit for the trip was roughly the same as a very modest summer camp for one teen.

Offline yitrap

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 06:46:40 PM »
Love the style! can't wait for the rest

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2015, 07:20:16 PM »
Wow, you have a great writing style, OP! Very entertaining to read. I can't wait for more, including all the pics you must have taken! Keep it coming!!

Offline TimT

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2015, 07:37:27 PM »
Wow, you have a great writing style, OP! Very entertaining to read.
+1. Maybe you should be the official writer for the TR's that get put on DDMS.

Offline cozmohoot

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2015, 07:40:10 PM »
Alol

Offline Moshe123

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2015, 07:47:22 PM »
Love to read this style.

Offline Ydad

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2015, 09:01:45 PM »
Have me smiling all the way through!

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2015, 09:47:55 PM »
Great TR so far. Can't wait to see what you did with the family in Japan.
Quaerite et Invenietis.

Offline shoobi

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2015, 10:36:36 PM »
Hilarious writing i love it. (Tip: Break it up into more paragraphs, makes for easier reading)