The Japan Do - March
Japan DO - March 29-31, 2013
Welcome to the Japan Do - March 29/30/31 - 2013 Click here to take you to the direct EventBrite Booking Page Update 24 February 2013 (Just on 1 month to go...) Make sure you check the Eventbrite page often as we will update on a regular basis with the activity schedule and due to image restrictions per individual posts here on FT, the Eventbrite page will be the source of truth. You can find that here. http://japando2013.eventbrite.com/ The dates are now confirmed - Easter… Show more Weekend (for those who celebrate). That means welcome drinks are Thursday 28th March and the DO proper is 29/30/31 March, 2013. I can't tell you how excited I am to be a part of this event. I've always wanted to attend a Japan Do, especially given that Tokyo is my favourite city in Asia. First things first, the event is now completely sold out . We have in excess of 110 registered attendees. If you still haven't received a confirmation email, please PM me and I will sort it out. You need to book flights and accommodation (if you haven't done so already) and I will be asking for a volunteer to help compile travel itineraries so people can either share the train ride in or have a buddy to catch the bus into Tokyo. (Update - FT member Serfty has kindly volunteered to help us collate peoples flights and hotels, so look for a master post by him shortly which will be updated frequently) Unless you win the lotto between now and when the Do is on, do not even think about catching a cab from Narita Airport to downtown Tokyo! Let me be clear. Taxis are not that expensive and are one of the most used an easy to use forms of transport in Japan. In the words of our resident expert on Japan, mjm, he states "I would think that of all the descriptions I would use for taxis, “expensive” would be one of the last. I think that describing them as ubiquitous, friendly, clean, safe and a great way to get home 24/7 would be far more apt. Perhaps even encourage everyone to have the hotel business card in their pocket so they can just show it to the driver if a language barrier exists" This is good advice. Don't be apprehensive about catching a cab anywhere in Tokyo - but just bear in mind they wont be the most economical option from NRT to downtown. In addition - all attendees must be registered members of FT (or their significant others, - we call them +1's in Do language). If you have registered - make sure your name is on the list down below (now arranged alphabetically) Experience tells us that not all of you will show up - that's normal. Work might get in the way. Family issues might crop up. Other priorities might just simply take over. No problem. We completely understand. All we ask is that you let us know so we can take you off the list. Since the registration link went up, we've had at least a dozen people cancel. In terms of "events" - we need to set the expectation that it is highly unlikely that a sponsored airline event will take place. As you might appreciate, both JAL and ANA have their hands full with the 787 issue and convincing either airline to cater for 100+ frequent fliers is too big a challenge - even for the collective resources of the organising team. We do however have plenty of choices and options for things to do - so read on. Don't despair. We'll publish everyone's travel details within the thread so you can make contact with each other (ie if you're on the same flight from the US, UK, Europe, Asia etc). You dont need to volunteer this information if you dont want to (ie you are running away for the weekend or are too embarrassed to tell your other half that you are attending an FT event). We're blessed on FT to have some serious knowledge when it comes to Japan. 2 of the organising team are actually based in Tokyo - with one of the guys having lived there for 20+ years. The other person speaks fluent Japanese and has family there. Let me introduce them to you: JALPak - our very own JAL Forum Ambassador armagebedar - our very own ANA Forum Ambassador mjm - our resident Japan guru and long time resident NewbieRunner - Japanese native and expert on Tokyo. and myself. I've had the privilege of arranging 2 "Do's" before, so I know what's involved from a logistics and planning perspective. What we didn't realise is just how popular the first ever Japanese Do would be, which makes it even more fun to be involved with. But it also provides additional challenges for the organising team (who are all volunteers and have regular day jobs, families and busy lives). Please bear with us if things are still falling into place. Yelling at the organisers wont help nor will a constant barrage of email or PM. As stated, you need to registered for the actual Do in order to attend. There is no fee. We use EventBrite because it lets us track all attendees, allows us to mail the entire group and its a breeze to use in terms of event management (ie name tags, managing invidual events etc etc). See comment above - the only way you can attend this event is if you have a confirmation email from Eventbrite If payment is required for something, we will be totally transparent. For example, if we book a restaurant or need to charter a bus or book train tickets, we will spell out everything within this thread. There will be a separate registration link via Eventbrite and the sign-up process will be clear. You will be able to cancel and receive a full refund, provide you do so within the allotted time. Fair enough? Registration links are now active for all events... We are now going to ask for all attendees to pay a nominal booking fee to cover the restaurant reservation on the 1st and 2nd night. See separate links below within the agenda. This fee is non-refundable if you cancel within 7-days. As you can appreciate, trying to find a restaurant (or several) which can handle 100+ people is no mean feat, especially within Tokyo. The event organisers cannot be expected to financially guarantee a dinner reservation of 100 or more people Flights and Hotels: Thankfully, NRT and HND have a huge variety of flights for both US and Asia Pac based attendees. If you haven't booked flights, I'd be getting a wriggle on and looking for award/revenue flights now. All attendees make their own way to and from Japan. And we leave the choice of hotel to you as well. We will let you know if we decide to make one of the hotels "base camp" but Japan can be a challenging place (for some). As we said, we don't recommend using taxis from the airport to your hotel and and the subway, which incidentally puts virtually every other train system in the world to shame, can be intimidating for first time users (although don't panic as there are English translations for just about everything) and plenty of staff willing to help. Do not leave Japan without using the train system as they are an example of how to run a public transport system. In addition, hotels can be pricey. Those of you who want to bunk in with someone, feel free to start a thread on this topic. (Grand Hyatt, Hilton and Park Hyatt seems to be where a lot of people are staying). Getting into Tokyo from Narita Airport 1. Train Just about every time I travel to Tokyo, I catch the Narita Express. The train station is in the basement of the both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 and you can buy tickets either when you clear customs and come out into the main arrivals area, or you can simply head on downstairs (it is well sign posted and in English) and buy your ticket at the ticket office. Trains take 53 mins to get into Tokyo station. I think this is simply the best way into town as the trains are fast, run every 30-mins, are spotlessly clean and effortless to use. Cost is approx US$35 one-way from Narita Airport to Shinjuku, Shinagawa etc. (and just a whisker less to Tokyo station) More details here http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/index.html The best value for anyone travelling into the city on Narita Express is to buy the Suica & N'EX package. http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/suica-nex/ 2. Buses The other popular option is to take one of Limousine Buses from the airport. They drop off at all the major hotels. Again, it is a super efficient service and costs roughly the same as the train (ie JPY3000 per one way journey, which is approx US$32). The bus does take a little longer and the downside is that the buses can get caught in traffic (whereas the trains dont). Some of you who like travelling "above ground" will like this option The bus company runs services from both Narita and Haneda and also a service between the 2 airports. All the details are here: http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/ The Do Schedule Thursday March 28th 1. Welcome Drinks http://restaurants.tokyo.grand.hyatt...urant/bar.html 6pm till late (don't stress if you cannot make the Welcome drinks as the Do doesn't really kick off until Friday morning). We typically use the Thursday night to hand out lanyards/name-tags and for people to break the ice and get to know one another. Some of the best memories I've had have been at the kick off drinks! Everyone pays their own way and I am very happy for people to buy me any sort of Japanese beer... Friday March 29th 1. Tokyo Fish Market, 5am start! Tour ONE (Due to the size of the group now, we are going to run this event on Friday morning an Saturday morning). The challenge will be is that the fish market doesn't accept reservations and can only handle a max of 50 people per tour per day, so it will be first come, first served. I'm told that even if you do miss out on the tour, there is so much to see and do just by walking around on your own, that you wont be disappointed. Plus the opportunity to eat sushi and sashimi at 6am is something not to be missed! The other important thing is transport to the market at that hour of the morning. You are either going to have to walk or catch a cab . The trains won't be running at this time. Tsukiji Market (築地市場, Tsukiji Shijō) is a large wholesale market for fish, fruits and vegetables in central Tokyo. It is the most famous of over ten wholesale markets that handle the distribution of fish, meat, produce and flowers in metropolitan Tokyo. Tsukiji Market is best known as one of the world's largest fish markets, handling over 2,000 tons of marine products per day. The sight of the many kinds of fresh fish and other seafood and the busy atmosphere of scooters, trucks, sellers and buyers hurrying around, make Tsukiji Market a major tourist attractions. In fact, the numbers of visitors have increased so much over recent years, that they have become a problem to the course of business, as the aging market's infrastructure was not anticipated to serve as a tourist spot. Tsukiji Market consists of an inner market where most of the wholesale business and the famous tuna auctions are taking place, and an outer market whose retail shops and restaurants carter to the public. A few restaurants are also found in the inner market. In order to avoid interference with business, different rules should be followed when visiting the different areas of the market: Visiting the tuna auction The number of visitors to the tuna auction is limited to 120 per day, the maximum number which the market's infrastructure can accommodate. Tourists, who wish to see the auction, have to apply at the Osakana Fukyu Center (Fish Information Center) at the Kachidoki Gate, starting from 5:00am on a first-come, first-serve basis. A first group of 60 visitors will be admitted to the auction between 5:25 and 5:50, while a second group of 60 visitors will be admitted between 5:50 and 6:15. Expect that the maximum number of visitors is likely to be exceeded on busy days, and that some later arriving visitors may not be able to see the auction. Successful applicants will be able to view the auction from a designated visitor area. It is not allowed to view the auction from anywhere else or to use flash photography or to interfere with the business action in any other way. Visiting the wholesale area The wholesale area consists of hundreds of small stands in a large, crowded hall, where buyers and sellers hurry along narrow lanes with their carts and trucks. It is an exciting area for tourists to view and photograph the fish and the action, but it is also an area where tourists are likely to interfere with the professionals working there. Consequently, in order to prevent accidents and interference with business, tourists are not allowed into the wholesale area before 9am, when the peak of the business activities take place. Even when visiting after 9am, tourists are asked to refrain from bringing any luggage into the market and to be constantly alert of what is happening around them to avoid blocking traffic. Visiting other areas of the market Instead of visiting the inner market, tourists are encouraged to visit Tsukiji's outer market, which is located just adjacent to the inner market and caters to the public. The outer market consists of a few blocks of small retail shops and restaurants crowded along narrow lanes. Here you can find all sorts of food related goods, knives and fresh seafood and produce for sale in smaller (than wholesale) portions. A visit to Tsukiji Market is best combined with a fresh sushi breakfast or lunch at one of the local restaurants. There are restaurants both in the inner and outer market area, which are typically open from 5:00 in the morning to around noon or early afternoon. A few more general rules for visiting Tsukiji Market Since Tsukiji Market is a site where serious business is conducted, it is important for visitors not to interfere with the action by adhering to the following additional rules:
Do not enter areas restricted to authorized personnel!
Do not obstruct traffic!
Do not bring large bags or suitcases into the market!
Do not enter the market in high heeled shoes or sandals!
Do not bring small children or pets!
Do not smoke in the market!
Do not touch anything!
How to get there Tsukiji Market is just above Tsukiji Shijo Station on the Oedo Subway Line. Alternatively, it can be reached in a five minute walk from Tsukiji Station on the Hibiya Subway Line. The closest JR station is Shimbashi, from where you can walk to the market in about 15 minutes. From Tokyo Station Take the Marunouchi Subway Line from Tokyo to Ginza (3 minutes) and transfer to the Hibiya Subway Line to get to Tsukiji Station (3 minutes). The fare is 160 yen. From Shinjuku Station Take the Oedo Subway Line directly from Shinjuku Station to Tsukiji Shijo Station. The one way trip takes 20 minutes and costs 260 yen. Hours and Fees Hours: Outer Market: varies by shop, typically 5:00 to 14:00 Wholesale Area: open to visitors after 9:00am Tuna Auction: open to visitors from 5:25am to 6:15am (restricted to 120 visitors/day) Closed: Sundays, national holidays and some Wednesdays The tuna auction typically gets closed to tourists for a few weeks over New Year to ensure a smooth and accident free course of business during that busy time of the year. Admission: Free *All Japan Fish Market content and images courtesy Japan-Guide.com 2. Sumida River Water Bus - 10.30am Full update is here Japan DO - March 29-31, 2013 Japan Guide page for: Hamarikyu Gardens http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3025.html Water bus http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3042.html Asakusa http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3004.html 3. Welcome Dinner and Drinks Traditional Japanese Izakaya - These are wonderful little watering holes and restaurants which are littered all over Japan. We're probably going to try and take over 3-4 of them - around Yurakucho (under the train tracks). Food is traditional Japanese (grilled chicken, grilled meat, Sashimi etc) Sort of like a Japanese "tapas". Beer and Sake is a given. Of course non-drinkers will be fine - and people with dietary restrictions need to ensure they either eat first or are happy to find something on the menu. There will be enough people who speak Japanese to assist you. You'll need to prepay a deposit for dinner - if you intend on showing up. A separate link will be up shortly and the deposit will be US$20 plus the transaction fee which Eventbrite charges. Booking Link will be here. And full venue details and addresses will be confirmed in due course. Saturday 30th March 1. Japan Bullet Train - Nagano Shinkansen (Tokyo to Nagano) The train to catch is 08:36 (Asama 509) from Tokyo, arr. Nagano 10:18. From Nagano 14:26 (Asama 530), arr. Tokyo 16:12. Booking details will be up shortly. Everyone will be responsible for booking their own ticket and you will be able to do this online. I'm going to lead this trip - a 90-min blast on a super fast Japanese bullet train to the city of Nagano. Trains leave often but assume we will set off from Tokyo station around 8.30am. We'll then spend the day in Nagano taking in the sights, find a local place to eat and then charge home again in the early afternoon. Ticket prices will be approx JPY15,000 per person (approx US$165 return) but we are working on finding discounted tickets. More details here http://jreast-shinkansen-reservation...o_d/index.html Here's a link of what to see in Nagano http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6001.html 2. Fish Market Tour TWO 3. Cherry Blossom Walk around the Imperial Palace Full update here Japan DO - March 29-31, 2013 4. Dinner Cruise (all invited) Depart: 18:00 Return: 21:00 Location: Haneda Airport Pier Cruise: Loop around Haneda Airport on a Japanese-style yakatabune Food: Tenpura and Japanese hotpot Drinks: Beer, sours, oolong tea, cola (all-you-can-drink) Price: 7,500 JPY/person (81 USD) plus Eventbrite booking fee Payment: All attendees must pay in full via the Eventbrite registration link here The tour operator will provide a bus to transfer for us from the Haneda International Terminal as it's close and indoors, and people who come early can do some spotting. More here: (websites in Japanese only!) http://www.yakatabunekamiya.com/fune.html http://www.yakatabunekamiya.com/kashikiri.html Sunday 31st March Free day Optional Activities (Not yet planned) Volunteers welcome (if you would like to arrange or lead) Boat Cruise Around Haneda Airport A boat for up to 20-25 passengers may be chartered for 60,000 yen for the first hour and 10,000 yen for additional 1/2 hour. The standard cruise takes 2 hr 30 mins (total of 90,000 yen or 3,600-4,500 yen per person). Approx US$40 per person Starts and ends at Tennozu Isle Pier (5 mins walk from the monorail station) - Haneda Airport - Tokyo Gate Bridge - Odaiba - Rainbow Bridge - Tennozu Isle Website: http://www.zeal.ne.jp/plan/310.html Useful Links: Japan-Guide.com Japan Toursim The event team will continue to advise us of some of the best sights and sounds of Japan, which will hopefully suit the majority of people and be as moderately priced as possible. The team will also offer any assistance for those first timers to Tokyo, whether it will be tips and tricks for navigating the subway systems, which hotels might be best or some of the most popular tourist attractions. As I stated, I'll happily lead the Fish Market tour as I've never done it before and always wanted to. Plus there's something to be said for eating Sushi and drinking Japanese beer at 6am in the morning. In short, the Japan Do promises to be a great time. Whether this will be your first visit, or you are a regular, make sure you arrive with an open mind, be prepared to immerse yourself into a wonderful environment and don't be afraid to meet new friends. The Japanese people are incredibly warm and friendly, the culture is wonderful and in my humble view - the food is magnificent. The beer and sake is even better. Don't worry about not being able to speak Japanese, that's half the fun. I've lived and worked in Asia for 15+ years and visited Japan countless times and I don't speak Japanese. The only things I know how to say are "please bring me 2 beers" and "give me your underpants and bra. Quickly". Sadly, I haven't used the second phrase too often. Look forward to seeing you all in Tokyo over Easter 2013. Watch this thread now as in due course, all the registration links will go up for each sub-event and I'll also be emailing people regularly from this point on - check your inboxes from "Eventbrite". Regards The Japan Do Event Team (eightblack, mjm, JALPak, armagebedar and NewbieRunner) **Images courtesy The Japan-Guide.com Registered and Confirmed Attendees (as at 30/01/2013) Registration closes 31 December 2012
Mr. kboy1 (husband of kboy1)
Note : There are 9 attendees who do not have FT handles, nor are they listed as +1's of existing members. I will be writing to you all shortly and you will have the opportunity to join FT and send me your FT handle in due course. There are also 2 sets of duplicate registrations - which I will write to shortly as well Miscellaneous: a. Do Etiquette : There is no right or wrong at Do's. You don't have to participate in anything. It's entirely up to you. If you want to simply grab a couple of FT friends and do your own thing, go right ahead. But half the enjoyment (in my experience) is hanging out in a different city with like minded people. I can promise you Tokyo is a ball of fun. Sensory overload awaits the first timer. From the trains, to the people on the street, to the food, the culture and everything in between. I know I have said it before, but it is my favourite city in Asia, quite possibly favourite city of all time). b. Clothing/Equipment : Comfortable walking shoes. Expect to walk a lot. Thru subway tunnels, around the streets, between activities. You need to be prepared. c. Money : The Japanese still do most things with cash. ATM's aren't as abundant as you might be used to. When we pay for the meals (and if you are joining us) we will ask you to pay any balance you might owe in Japanese YEN. Not Pesos, Euros or the Polish Zlot. Taxis want cash. Its not to say you cant pay your hotel bill and many restaurants with your card, but the organisers are not getting into a dogfight at 1am in the morning because 13 people all want to pay their share of dinner on their Chase Sapphire card. Be prepared. Please bring local currency. d. Deposits : The event organisers will do as much as they can to minimise you having to outlay anything prior to arriving, however for meals and some activities, we will require you to prepay a deposit. This will be in USD and you can pay via PayPal (and use a credit card). EventBrite, the software application we use to manage the whole event will charge a small admin fee to process deposits. This fee is shown clearly on the payment page. If you cancel within 7-days of the event, you will forfeit any deposit you will have paid and any deposit funds left over after the event will be donated to a local charity e. Currency The Japanese Yen is currently trading at 92 yen to the dollar. Roughly speaking - the train or bus trip from Narita to your hotel is JPY3000, which means it's going to cost around US$32. You can pay for "most" things with your credit card (ie train tickets, hotels, restaurants) and there are ATM's at the airport etc. f. Cellphones/Wi-Fi The local event team tell me prepaid SIM cards aren't the easiest things to procure. Watch your roaming charges if this is first time out of the US. Wifi will be available at all the major hotels etc g. Weather Historically, March is around high 50's during the day and high 40's during the night (around 15C to 8C). Check before you travel and pack accordingly. More here. http://www.accuweather.com/en/jp/tok...weather/226396 h. Artwork - Major artwork kindly supplied by our resident design expert and Senior Mod - Prospero
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