Off to Japan

My family and I are taking a vacation next week … to Japan. Not a virtual one, but a real one. We have family on a naval base outside of Tokyo (my brother-in-law commands a battleship), so the opportunity was too great to pass up. I showed my students the basic path we will be taking with Google Earth yesterday (which gave me a chance to talk about the features of the new version of Google Earth — we did some exploring of Mars yesterday before zooming through the galaxies).

In case you are wondering, the trip from here to there is about 6500 miles and it takes about 14 hours. And we have three kids with us. Now is the time I could use some new-fangled technology that beams you from one side of the planet to the next in less then a few seconds.

Has any of my readers been to Tokyo? Any suggestions?

Here is a map of our journey:

View Larger Map

Peace (in travel),

  1. I traveled with a group of educators and high school students to our sister city, Ashikaga, several years ago. Our plane landed in Tokyo, so we drove through it twice, but that is the extent of my knowledge. Here are a couple of ideas. Visit the 100 yen store and buy something that you can use at home. I happened to buy nail polish remover because I needed it but every time I get it out at home and see the Japanese writing those happy memories come flooding back. Exchange money for 5 yen coins (with holes in the middle). Threading black cord through the coin made great necklaces for my students when I returned. I had fun eating at a McDonalds and visiting a grocery store. (I think it has something to do with the familiar in a foreign place. It was also fun to compare the sizes and options.) I hope you have a great time and build lots of memories!

  2. Dear Kevin,

    Take along whatever technical gadgets you have for the kids. It’s a long trip. I’ve been to Japan twice on previous band trips and will be traveling with 45 students in April. I know, I’m crazy, but the experience has been amazing.

    Some great places to see are Asakusa Temple (great temple and some of the best souvenir shopping around) (unbeli, the gorgeous Buddha at Kamakura (unbelievably serene), Tokyo Tower (so you can really see how dense the island is), Ginza (one of the most elite shopping areas in Japan), Akkihabar (electric town which is a must for all techie geeks. Be careful here because the prices are good but not all the electronics are compatible at home. Do your homework and cost comparison. Also, don’t forget your passport as you can get really good discounts sometimes.), Harajuku (just walk through it, it’ll blow your mind, but not sure as I’m don’t know how old your kids are. It’s a teen culture area. Google it.) and of course the Imperial Palace.

    And of course, you can’t not go to Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea. There’s nothing like It’s A Small World in Japanese. Most of us found it interesting in these two places that all of the main Disney characters have to be Caucasian so they’re hired from Canada and the states, The extras can be Asian.

    Let me know if I can help with more info or anything else. Take lots of pictures and have fun. Would love to hear about the trip when it’s done.


    • Michelle
      Thanks so much for the tips.
      I am going to write them down. We’ll see how much ground we can cover (my kids are 4,8,11 and our nieces in Japan are 3,5 — so maybe limited).

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