I like to over prepare/over think my travel plans. I always do this. I write a bazillion lists of things I need, itineraries and what I am going to pack. Normally I am travelling with Henry so I have to think for both me and him and it gets kinda stressful, he always forgets something major and packs at the last minute much to my annoyance. Well this time I'm going with my sister and she is pretty well organised so my calls every day to see if she has read over the Tokyo travel guide I bought her for Christmas or to see if she has bought a suitcase or luggage tags yet is really starting to grate on her. I wish I was a cool and calm person about travel. Instead with about 1 month before we go I want to do test runs of packing my suitcase to see what will fit and if it will be under Jetstars strict 20kg baggage allowance. I am taking a crazily small suitcase (well compared to my giant one which could fit me and Henry with some room to move) because I don't want a repeat of my 56kg bag last time I left Japan (well I did live there for 1 year, but most of the stuff was bought in the last week as gifts for people). So because of my small suitcase I am now searching for useful small things to take with me.
The most exciting of which is this AMAZING travel towel I bought at Kathmandu at DFO on sale for $24.95 down from $49.95. It is the size of a bath sheet but folds up really small and flat. Now I guess it may seem weird to bring a towel with me even though we are staying at friends houses, but towels in Japan are the size of hand towels (in fact smaller) and I really don't feel dry unless I can snuggle up in a huge towel. Plus its going to be winter and FREEZING cold even inside peoples houses (um ok so in Japan people generally don't have heaters they have a Kotatsu, which is a strange table thing that has a heater attached underneath that you place a blanket over and sit in...like this picture:
So basically everywhere else is FREEZING and the SAME TEMPERATURE as OUTSIDE due to the paper thin walls (so I'm talking -1 or something) but your legs are toasty, almost burning, warm! Yes, Japan is a crazy place. I can't wait till my sister sees her first Kotatsu. Oh and some Kotatsu's double up with a hot pot on top to cook Nabe in (a warm tasty winter soup). It makes sense....in Japan. I think some of my friends will have heaters, but we will definitely see small towels and kotatsu's at the Ryokan we are staying in (traditional Japanese guesthouse, the full monty honky donk Japanese experience; tatami mat room, futons, kotatsu's, onsen bath, green tea ceremony and a yukata for each guest) so I want to be prepared.
Next up we have a backpack. This is from Rivers for only $20. We will be taking backpacks on our 5 day journey to see beyond Tokyo to see beautiful Kyoto, crazy Osaka, peaceful Nara, serene Himeji and sombre Hiroshima. They need to be small enough to fit into coin lockers at train stations as our itinerary is very tight and sometimes there is no time to go from 1 hotel to the next to drop off our bags.
Also at Rivers I bought some socks. These were so cheap, the black socks were only $1.80 so I bought 3 pairs and the fluffy red hikers socks were $2.95. Like I said, it's going to be cold so I need to wear socks, even to bed. How exciting is this blog post? Hayley bought some socks.
By the way, how cute is my suitcase? It is bigger then it looks, I would say its a medium sized suitcase. I bought it in Japan at Comme Ca in Shinjuku for Y1900 or $19 (old exchange rate) to send home all my magazines and clothes that didn't fit into my suitcase (I sent home 20kg's in the bag for $200 via the post office, so I know it can hold that much...so yeah all up leaving Japan last time I had 76kg's of stuff, woah!)
The only problem is Hachiko has chewed through the only handle strap (thanks Hachi). Does anyone know where I can get a luggage handle fixed or replaced in Melbourne? Do shoe and bag repairers do luggage handles? As its the only handle on the suitcase its the only way for baggage handlers to move it about, I don't want it to break off and them to drop the bag and loose it or something. Ahhh travel, it makes me so stressed.