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Messages - bendor

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1
Trip Reports / Re: Mr & Mrs. BenDor in Japan and HK
« on: February 12, 2020, 02:09:31 AM »
(A year and two months later then planned...  ::))

Day 1 and 2: Friday and Shabbat in Tokyo

Friday was our first day touring Tokyo. Our plan was to take a free walking tour of Ueno Park, provided by the Tokyo systematized goodwill guide club. We’ve been very happy with free walking tours we’ve taken in other cities, and this one was no exception.
Even though we had left with plenty of time, we arrived a minute after the tour was scheduled to begin, due to getting lost while exiting the metro station. This being Japan, the tour had already started – but we hadn’t missed much 
Waiting in line to board the train
Our guide’s name was Fuji (like the mountain) and he was an English teacher for many years, before becoming a guide at the TSGGC (they actually call it that). He gave a background of Japanese history, and a brief intro to Tokyo, before we headed out of the TSGGC club house into the park.
P_20170324_110304 Fuji, our guide
IMG_6291 Saigo Takamori, a legendary Samurai
IMG_6286
P_20170324_113759
The tour was very informative, and it also gave us a chance to ask him some questions about Japan and the Japanese.
After the tour finished, we continued walking around the park ourselves, before heading back to the Prince Sakura and checking out for Shabbat. We had booked an airbnb closer to the Chabad house for two nights, both because it had a mechanical lock, and because the Prince Sakura had no award space for Friday night.
We packed the things we’d need in to a carry-on, and the rest of our luggage we left with the bellboy to keep until Sunday night. We also had them place a large box containing all of our frozen food into the freezer.
IMG_6299 The streets of Tokyo
The airbnb was small (like most apartments in Tokyo) but cozy, and served our need adequately. We got ready for Shabbat, turned off the motion detector in the front hall and set a timer on the air conditioner. Almost forgot to unplug the toilet!
It was a 5 minute walk from our apartment to the Chabad house, and we arrived just in time for candle lighting and mincha. The shul, located in the basement, was not full but well attended – about 20 men, and 8-10 women. Davening was soon over, and we went upstairs for dinner.
Dinner was simple, but good. R’ Mendi had returned to Israel unexpectedly, so two regulars (both mashgichim, one for the OU and one for the OK) helped things along. After dinner we returned to our apartment and went straight to sleep.

Shabbat morning we woke up, davened b’zman, and then preceded to Chabad for Shacharit. It was pretty much the same crowd at davening and at lunch, although two local families also joined. The husband’s were both Jewish, one Israeli and one American, who had been living in Japan and met and married Japanese girls (who both converted).They both had children, and I got to hear the crazy story of how they managed to get a mohel for a bris..
 I also met an old highschool friend of mine, and parents of a different high school friend… All in the Beit Chabad in Tokyo. It’s a very small world, especially if you’re Jewish :P
After lunch, all of us tourists were figuring out what to do with the afternoon. Some decided to make the long trek to the “center” of Tokyo, but we decided we weren’t up for the hour trek to Ginza, and asked if there was anything nearby. We were told that the best local attraction to do on Shabbat is visit Happo-en gardens.
Happo-en is a classic Japanese garden about 10 minutes away from Chabad. The Rabbi from the OU walked us most of the way, as he was staying at the Sheraton which is just around the corner from the garden.
Words don’t do it justice, and I don’t have any pictures of my own, so you’ll have to go there to experience it 
An unexpected bonus is that Happo-en is also a very popular wedding hall. We got to see 5 different wedding parties while strolling through. What was even more interesting to see was how some of the couples had a very “western” ceremony (and were dressed accordingly), two of the couples were dressed in traditional Japanese wedding garb – and the ceremony was very different too. Alas, no pictures.
Soon it was time for some menucha, and we headed back to our Airbnb for a nap.
We returned to Chabad for Seuda Shlishit and Maariv, where there was a much smaller crowd.
After Havdala, we returned to our Airbnb and geared up for our evening walk to National Azabu Supermarket.
Azabu, an area inside Minato, is the location of many international embassies and consulates, as well as a large foreign population. To cater to these foreigners, a few “international” supermarkets opened up, with many imported products. National Azabu is one of these. While they do stock some kosher supplies, you can’t rely on them having anything specific. But it was fun to walk around, and try and spot an OU or KLBD on various items. In the end we left with some frozen Raisin bagels (OU).

2
Up In The Air / Re: Ex-TLV Routes and Flights Discussions
« on: December 22, 2019, 10:00:12 AM »
Aside from the wiki which isnt so accurate, any way to check on google flights for a list of non stop destinations from TLV? (or from any other airport for that matter)?
I use http://www.flightconnections.com. They keep it updated on a regular basis, and has bunch of useful features.

3
Amazing TR so far, and I can't wait for the rest of it! Looks like you really enjoyed your trip in Japan. And I'm definitely taking notes on your packing tips.
You're giving me inspiration to go and finish my TR too.. ;D
I took the liberty of adding your TR to the list in the Japan Master Thread

It's been 14 years since I was at Costco in Japan, but I recall them having lots of kosher items like they do in their US stores.
We didn't visit a Costco either, as IINM they are all located in suburbs, and not easily accessible by public transportation - so out of the way for most tourists who aren't renting a car.

4
Up In The Air / Re: Random airline-questions.
« on: August 07, 2019, 10:20:47 PM »
UA 90 out of EWR is delayed from 1050pm until 2am. Any idea if the TSA will still be open two hours before? Or should I get there extra early.
Leaving from terminal C.

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Up In The Air / Re: Random airline-questions.
« on: August 07, 2019, 12:39:25 AM »
Aren't all NYC airports considered one airport in regards to weather? I would call again.
HUCA worked! I have been placed on the direct flight.
Now just to figure out what to do with the rental car I'm supposed to be returning to LGA...  :-\

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Up In The Air / Re: Random airline-questions.
« on: August 07, 2019, 12:15:25 AM »
Weather changes are coded in the computer system
Thanks.
Is there any constellation in which they *do* allow a change to the direct flight? Like if my LGA-IAD flight is delayed, and I'd miss IAD-TLV?

7
Up In The Air / Re: Random airline-questions.
« on: August 07, 2019, 12:03:07 AM »
I'm flying LGA-IAD-TLV tomorrow (United).
Just saw that there's a weather notice for tomorrow, so thought I'd try and call in and switch to the direct EWR-TLV.
The agent said that she can't change my flight, quoting the terms that appear on the website verbatim:
"The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before August 10, 2019, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​" And LGA and EWR are not the same origin.

Is she correct? Or should I HUCA? The wait times are just terrible, so I'd like to hear your opinion before I try again...

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Up In The Air / Re: Flying with infant
« on: July 28, 2019, 02:26:11 PM »
It's fine.
I forgot to mention that they're both full size..
Hope it works out in our case as well!  ;D

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Up In The Air / Re: Flying with infant
« on: July 28, 2019, 12:55:10 PM »
Flying on United with infant, has his own seat.
Looking to check a stroller (in a box) at check-in, and check another one at the gate.
Any one have any experience? Twitter agents still haven't gotten back to me  :(

10
Credit Cards / Re: Citi AA Master Thread
« on: July 17, 2019, 10:44:14 PM »
Anybody have a spare personal (9 digit) mailer they'd be willing to sell/give away? I'm still within 24 months of my last card and my mailers have stopped coming :'(

11
Up In The Air / Re: BA Avios question(s)
« on: July 07, 2019, 10:56:55 AM »
question- i have't booked a BA flight in years. I am booking a BA flight via american (domestic). I have an aviator card, how can i get free baggage? Like, how do i change the ffn after flights are booked?
I actually asked AA on twitter, and they said I can just show my credit card at check-in
(Though I then needed to cancel the award flight, so I never actually tried it)

12
And there’s an Amex offer.

Quote
... Offer valid online only for transactions made at Shipt.com or via merchant mobile app...
Did the offer work for you when purchasing directly from target.com?

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Up In The Air / Re: Ex-TLV Routes and Flights Discussions
« on: May 29, 2019, 04:14:36 AM »
Great news. Didn't realize there was enough demand to fill 3x weekly, I guess i was wrong.
You might not be. This is ElAl we're talking about  ::)

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Credit Cards / Re: Money Management in Israel for Olim
« on: May 29, 2019, 04:11:23 AM »
זה"ב is the Israeli name for IBAN (I think it's an acronym of זיכוי העברות בזמן אמת)

Bank of Israel manages an alternative money-transferring system for domestic-only transfers (similar to ACH, I guess), where the transfers only go into effect the following business day.

15
Goods For Sale/Trade / Re: Hertz Vouchers
« on: May 28, 2019, 04:59:14 AM »
Do free day vouchers work for one way rentals too?

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