Monday, July 20, 2015

Asia Trip Planning

My sister and I talked about taking my nieces on a trip to Asia for awhile now. Well, we finally decided on dates and bought plane tickets for late October/early November so I guess we're really going. At first I looked at fully guided tours, especially in Japan, but they cost a lot of money. After researching sample itineraries, I've decided to try and plan our own trip.

The plan is to fly from LAX to Japan, stay a few days in Tokyo then Kyoto, and continue to Taipei. Since we have 5 people, which is an odd number for hotel rooms (and taxis), we ended up booking all lodging through Airbnb. In Tokyo, we're staying in an apartment near Inaricho station (near Ueno Park) for 5 nights. This is followed by 3 nights in Osaka near Namba station, and 5 nights in Taipei near the main train station. It was a lot of work to find places big enough within our budget, yet near train/subway stations so we can walk with luggage. In total, the 13 nights will cost us about $2400 with Airbnb booking fees and cleaning charges.

I've also been trying to arrange activities each day, along with all the required public transportation rides. Tokyo has to have the most confusing subway system, primarily because there are several companies, all with their own lines and stations. Just because you see a station next to where you want to go on Google Maps, it doesn't mean it will be cheap nor convenient to get there.

Tokyo Subway Map - Only contains lines/stations for 2 subway companies

I'm still deciding to go with a tour of Mt. Fuji or plan it myself. After that, I think I'm done with Japan itinerary, but still have to figure out what we want to do in Taipei.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

New Favorite K-pop Girl Group

Um Oh Ah Yeh - MAMAMOO

Strange group name but lots of vocal talent. One thing I noticed was how effortless their performances are for a bunch in their early 20's. I guess when you're not worried about singing the right notes, you can focus on other parts of the live stage. In some of the other popular girl groups, half the members can't sing that well. They remind me of a younger Brown Eyed Girls.

Hope they come to KMF this year.