Japan had been on our travel list for quite some time. I had been once with my family on a tour when I was young, but I don’t remember much. LJ has always wanted to visit the country that represents half of her heritage.
In the fall of 2010, we started thinking seriously of going in Spring 2011 during the cherry blossom season. I did some research on flights and learned that seat sales on JAL happened in early January.
In January, I found flight prices to Tokyo on JAL that were too good to pass up. I booked them immediately for April 21 to May 10. And when I book a flight, it means a trip is officially on! For the next couple of months I worked on an itinerary and booked hotels.
Then on March 11, 2011 disaster struck. We woke up to hear that a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit offshore of the north east coast of Japan that followed by a huge tsunami hitting the coast and ripping apart everything in its path. Over the next few days, the news coming from Japan got more dire. While heart-breaking, it was also warming to see the strength, unity and civility of the Japanese during this time of crisis.
“Are you still going?” would be the line repeated over and over to us. But we maintained a “wait and see” attitude. Our scheduled trip was 6 weeks away and it was too soon to make the call. If our trip was any earlier, then perhaps we would have. We had our heart set on going, but we weren’t going to deliberately put ourselves in danger either. The most northern point of our itinerary was Tokyo, so we focused on monitoring Tokyo’s progress over the weeks.
On April 1st, we decided to go ahead. We both thought it was important not to withdraw our tourist dollars and to do our part to help the Japanese get back to their normal lives.
I set up this blog for two main reasons. I know many people are concerned for our safety, so I have taken measures to ensure I will be able to provide updates on a regular basis. Secondly, I also know there are a lot of travellers out there who are on the fence as to whether they should travel to Japan. I know I have spent countless hours on the internet reading various blogs and updates from people who have decided to go to Japan. I would like to be able to do my part by paying it forward. If I can help out a couple of fellow travellers, then mission accomplished!
This trip is not so much to see specific sights, but to soak up and immerse ourselves in this fascinating culture from the old to the new….and of course, to eat some amazing food!!
So follow along with us on our journey and we will make sure to blog and tweet regularly of our adventures!