I hope you’re all doing really well. This picture was taken two weeks ago now, in the park “Planten un Blomen” in Hamburg city centre. We were just out for a Sunday stroll, enjoying the bright, clear weather when we came across this outdoor skating rink. How much fun is that! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind recently, between pressure at work and family visits. I cannot believe it is almost the end of February already.
It’s just 40 days to go now until our Japan trip! It is almost completely planned and we fly from Frankfurt to Osaka which was very reasonable actually, just 425€ each way per person with Lufthansa! I normally wouldn’t consider Lufthansa because the prices tend to be way out of our league, but we were pleasantly surprised and booked back in January. We havent’ yet bought our “21 day all-you-can-rail” JR rail pass tickets but will do this when we’re paid at the end of the month. They’re quite pricey, but we didn’t want to spend all of our time in the (famously crowded) cities and we will be traveling around for 3 weeks, basing ourselves in 3 spots. So we figured it would be a good investment, rather than buying single tickets everywhere (which we did for Italy).
..and also this cool ninja house that we saw on tv …
Then it’s off on the bullet train to the Southern Island of Kyushu to a small hotspring town called Yufuin, for some time out and relax in a traditional Ryokan with its own hot spring. Ryokans are expensive and typically their price includes half board, but I think we got a good deal through a hotel comparison website hrs.de. My logic was that by using air b&b or a hotel comparison website, we can also pay in Euro before you go, so you don’t have to take out so much yen when you’re there.
Then we will make our way via Mount Fuji to Tokyo (hotel also booked via a comparison website) and we will have 5 days here and then back to Osaka before flying back. We’ve planned in a few days on our return for being jet lagged. I’m not so experienced with long haul flights and this will be the longest flight I’ve ever done.
We struggled a lot to decide on exactly what to do and where to go, trying not to run around too much is always a challenge for me since I don’t want to miss out on anything! Price versus comfort is always a conundrum, but I don’t think we’ve done too badly for ourselves, since Japan has a bit of a reputation for being prohibitively expensive. It would be wonderful if there was the possibility to see a sumo wrestling match or a geisha performance… but we’ll have to play that one by ear.
It’s always been right up the top of our list of places we’d love to visit, so, 2015 is definitely the year of getting it done!
Also in Febuary, I sorted out my much long-put-off pension. I finally kept my appointment with my bank advisor. I initially went to apply for a mastercard for our trip, just in case, because in Canada it wasn’t always possible to take out cash with our visa cards. At the end of the meeting he asked if I wanted to discuss anything else, and I plucked up the courage to ask for an appointment to discuss my pension!
I think the change has been that I have been working intensively on some personal growth and personal boundary issues and have to say that I find these two podcasts really helpful The Anxiety Guru and The Overwhelmed Brain. These guys have a LOT of information to share, so I tend to balance it out with some wonderful and very calming and empowering meditations from Medium Laura Evans. I’m doing regular yoga classes, even if it’s just once a week, and I feel like communication is just flowing more naturally now, even if everything is not perfect.
It feels good to have this sorted, but I need to get my spending under control again in order for it to be workable. I think a proper budget is in order…