The art of traveling lays within its unpredicted things occur during the process. Get lost in strange places, dealing with a scam or going to places that are not planed before. This year my Japan trip has a few surprises along the way.
- Forget To Book The Hotel Upon Arrival
Usually, I booked a flight ticket to Japan departed at night and arrived in the next morning. Having that on my mind, I booked a hotel on the next day date of my actual arrival. So I thought I will arrive on 23 April, but it turns out that I arrive on 22 April. I did not realize this mistake until 1 day before my departure. I was panicking. I immediately look for a hotel to stay upon arrival. Luckily there is still hotel available in Sapporo on that date. I stayed at Hotel Mystays Sapporo Aspen. It is a pretty good hotel to stay in and it is located very close to Sapporo Station and not that far from our Airbnb on the next day.
- Failed Acquire Pocket Wifi On The First 5 Days Of Vacation
I always rent a pocket wifi from e-connect Japan for their excellent service. I did order it from November 2018 and choose Sapporo post office as the pick-up place, which is apparently also within walking distance from Hotel Mystays Sapporo Aspen. I am thinking, “this is perfect, just go there and grab the wifi then go”. However, when I am at the Sapporo Post Office, It turns out my wifi order got canceled and I cannot get it that day. And if I want to order another one, it is only going to be available on the next 5 days, which is 1 day before I leave Sapporo.
Nevertheless, not having pocket wifi in Sapporo is really annoying, especially when I need a google map to go everywhere. My phone for some reason cannot be used for internet. Also, we got lost a couple of times. Getting lost is a fun part of traveling right? On the bright sight, none of us is focusing on our phone during traveling on those days. No updating status, no reading the news, no watching youtube or uploading pictures on Instagram, so we just enjoy each other company. We still can get wifi only when we are at our Airbnb place.
- The Japanese Golden Week
Apparently, during my travel, there is a Japanese Golden Week take place from 29 April to 6 May 2019 throughout Japan. Japanese Golden week is similar to holiday or a long weekend for Japanese. No wonder it was very crowded. Next time I would check the golden week date before coming to Japan so that I can avoid the overly crowded places everywhere in Japan.
Where ever I go during that date is packed full of people, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. The picture above in Harajuku pretty much sums up the crowd everywhere else in Japan I guess. It is a little bit inconvenient traveling with my son, but since we already there we should just go with it and enjoy it anyway.
- Overpriced Taxi Price
The one thing that is lacking when taking a taxi in Japan is not many Japanese taxi drivers can speak English. I wanted to go from Haneda to Odaiba area, I look it up on google maps and the distant is like 10 minutes away for about 3000-3800 yen. Then I get on the taxi while looking at the maps. It turns out the taxi was taking the long way to Odaiba and takes around 30 minutes to go there. He turns into the wrong way and we were kinda unnecessarily circling around from Haneda area to Shibuya to get to Odaiba. In the end, the taxi meters goes up to 11.500 yen and I am just so confused. That’s is way more than the amount of money I supposed to pay and it is the driver fault that he took the wrong way plus we did not speak the same language, so it was a mess. No, we did not fight or argue since we do not know how to talk to each other. in the end, with some kind of body language improvisation. We solve the problem, I am paying half the price which is 5000 yen, and the driver apologizes. All good.
- Hotel Scam In Osaka
This probably the worst unexpected thing I have to deal with during my trip. I have booked an apartment for 3 nights in Osaka. Just like everything else, I have booked it in advance. Around 7 months prior to my arrival in Osaka. Normally, the place I booked will tell the address details to me since the booking. Whether it is a hotel or Airbnb, they will provide you with location information, how to get there, and how to check-in. I choose this apartment because of its excellent location and fairly priced. At that time I did not think about it much. Until 1 month before my arrival in Japan, I still have not received information or check-in details about this apartment. By the way, it is not Airbnb properties.
I email the agent website where I find and booked the apartment from. The website says that everything is gonna be fine and that the apartment owner will directly send an email to me.
One week before Osaka, that apartment replies my message on the agent website, saying “welcome to our bla…bla…blaa.., and don’t forget we only accept payment in cash”; But still not saying anything about the location or the check-in process.
Then they replied saying, “did you know that some property will tell you the check-in information one week before your arrival for safety reason “. I am like, For safety reason? Seriously?? Is the apartment is not safe to stay in or what? Then why bother renting it?. What kind of lame reason is that?
Keep in mind that I am already in Sapporo by the time that message come. I planned to go to Osaka within a week of that message.
One week left and I still got nothing about my booking. I continue to ask the agent website every day, and they keep giving me the same answer. I tried to contact the apartment through the number they give me. Guess what? No answer. I texted them and get no answer. I even ask my Japanese friend to help me calling them through the phone in case they only speak Japanese. But that did not work either, because once again they did not pick up the phone or reply to any text we send to them.
It seems like they do not have a good intention to provide me with the information and they did not even bother to respond to anything, including the messages I sent to the agent website.
I was so pissed off and disappointed. On the day I supposed to check-in to that apartment, I still have no clue. In the train to Osaka, I decided to look for other hotels, I am so worried that I cannot get one since it was the golden week in Japan. And most hotels already fully booked. Then I manage to get one hotel room in Osaka. Right after I confirm my booking in that hotel, I immediately send an email to the agent website. I am telling them that I demand a full refund and will not pay for anything related to that booking, because it was entirely their fault. This problem disturbs my trip to Osaka, as a result, I have to spend more money on accommodation.
My trip this time has some miscalculation, but I still enjoy Japan and I still love Japan. I just consider it as a traveling experience and should not prevent me from enjoying my holiday. I will be more careful in choosing accommodation. If an accommodation does not give you a proper confirmation and information within 1 week after booking, I think you should just find some other places. Do not risk it, even if the price seems so cheap for what you are getting.