Third in a Series
Arriving in the Shinjuku train station, Tokyo’s busiest, can be a bit intimidating, especially after a trans-Pacific flight with little sleep and in the middle of rush hour.
An unfailingly polite people in every other way, Japanese commuters plow through the station like bullet trains, with little deference to gobsmacked tourists staring in bewilderment at the maze of signs and passageways. These folks appeared to be on a mission, and accomplishing that mission — getting to wherever it is they’re going — wasn’t about to let us stand in their way.
If you don’t like crowds, you might want to avoid Tokyo — the world’s largest metropolitan area at nearly 38,000,000 people — and beat a quick retreat to the Japanese countryside.
Fortunately, our Airbnb host, Yasu, had provided us with a video of… Continue reading
Second in a Series
My previous travel experiences in Japan had been very brief before my wife, Catharine, and I flew off to Tokyo in early April, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
How much of a language barrier would we find? Is Japan as expensive as it’s reputed to be? Would we face greater-than-average logistical problems there?
Those taking an organized tour to Japan can avoid most of these potential problems, of course, but — just as some people enjoy figuring out how cars or watches work — I like figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B while traveling as efficiently and economically as possible.
I also like to follow my own schedule, choose my own lodgings and restaurants, and not have to follow a guide around. (This isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed some wonderful… Continue reading
For baby boomers, saving money on accommodations can be tougher than for young travelers.
Dormitory-style hostels and CouchSurfing may have much less appeal than for those in their 20s or 30s.
Camping — at least the type (unlike “glamping” or glamorous camping) that leaves you trying to get a decent night’s sleep in a bag on the ground — can be tough on the back (with legitimate concerns that you might not be able to straighten up at all in the morning).
But, as guest poster Jesse Miller contends, “It’s still possible to enjoy a five-star housing experience without paying a five-star price.” The key, Miller says, “is to live like the locals do. This means avoiding more traditional options (such as pricey hotels and resorts) and immersing yourself in opportunities to interact with the… Continue reading