How Much Did Your Japan Trip Cost?

Thursday January 31, 2013 comments   

“How much did your Japan trip(s) cost?”
I get this question a lot.

I decided to write my usual answers in a post. Basically so I can just link to it when someone asks because 25 messages back and forth isn’t fun for either party. And though I really don’t like discussing money, I understand why it’s asked.

photos from my past Japan trips

Honestly, I find the question difficult to answer.
Because unless you live in Washington DC, stay at the same hotels for the same length of time buying similar stuff and eating similar foods and times that by 2 people (the perils of married life) our budgets will likely look quite different.

Airfare is the most costly part of my trips to Japan. DC to Tokyo is on average $1,200 round-trip per person. My flight takes about 20+ hours.

Hotels vary greatly. For Tokyo I prefer staying on the edge of Shinjuku. There’s a 12-hour time difference between DC and Tokyo so I like the plethora of late night & 24hr places located in Shinjuku for when I’m awake at 2 or 4am. Keio Plaza Hotel & Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku are examples of places I’ve enjoyed staying at while in Tokyo.

I budget more than I expect to spend.
If I think I’ll probably spend about $2K on shopping I make sure I have $3K set aside. It’s a safe buffer for unexpected purchases or fees like parking, luggage, room service, etc.

photos from my past Japan trips

For budgeting I always start off with what I want to do on the trip.

Pretty obvious, huh? I’ll have stores or cafes or day trips already in mind and I budget around those ideas for metro fare, food costs, bus fare, taxis, etc. I also usually know what I want to shop for be it makeup, beauty item, or clothing.

I like to recommend Good Luck Trip to help spark ideas. They do have sponsors so they may recommend the same touristy place over & over. But I did find Ainz Tulpe through them which helped me get most of the beauty products and makeup I wanted in a single store visit!

You can budget down to the exact fare you’ll need for day trips just by using Google Maps and choosing the rail directions. It’ll display the fare for each stop or transfer. You can also check rail fares and highway bus fares online too.

Because of all these variables I don’t think mentioning my exact costs is useful. I’ll just say that for us, our tax return roughly covers the cost of one trip (2 people.)

Entries about my Japan trips are all tagged “Japan trip” and show some of what I did, where I went, and what I bought while there. I’ll say that my 2008 trip was the most expensive because we traveled to Mt. Fuji and stayed at a ryokan with a private onsen and ofuro connected to our room.

It really depends on what you do, where you eat, where you sleep, how long you stay, and how much stuff you wanna buy.

I’ll end this entry by saying,
“How much would a trip to Japan cost you?”
Probably a few thousand.


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Getting Unstuck

Wednesday January 30, 2013 comments   

New post!

My blog was going through some growing pains. I appreciate the concerns, though they weren’t really necessary. No big deal you know. Left the default layout up while I stabilized my usual version with upgraded PHP. Thanks for the patience. I think I restored the database half a dozen times. Still need to re-tag posts, add smiles, etc.

I wrote this a few nights ago…

I’m not “stuck”, but I was thinking about all the times I have been; clothing-wise. I sometimes find it’s easier to focus on what I don’t think fits into my “style” compared to what I do. This is based on more than aesthetic. I take into consideration comfort and personal wearable track record.

I’ll find blouses and think “this is great, it’ll go easily with denim!”
But I rarely wear jeans… I have 1 pair of blue denim jeans! So why the heck am I looking at tops that go great with jeans!?

Old habits die hard. I used to wear jeans a lot. I just don’t feel myself in blue jeans most days. Neither a good nor a bad thing, just not for me right now.

Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget what I don’t wear. What items from my past (or even current) sit & sit; being passed over again and again rarely seeing the light of day. This drives me to shop smarter and with more intent.

Sure, sometimes something bought impulsively during a sale that has sat in my closet for months might suddenly become a workable loved item after a wardrobe refresh, but that doesn’t happen often enough to validate needless purchases in my closet.

Case in point: Zara Knit Top

zara striped knit top

I bought this knit top from Zara’s over a year ago. It was an impulse purchase because french naval stripes are my #1 favorite combination. I figured as a tunic and a warm knit it would go well with jeans… but every time I put the top on it felt too sloppy. Too tunic style. Plus the thick knit mixed with ¾ sleeves was rather hard to pair with DC weather. I was either too hot or too cold.

So I shrank it hoping a tighter fit would push me to wear it more. It did somewhat but then… the pockets. They were cute looking but not practical for someone who always tucked in shirts!

I think I wore this top maybe half a dozen times. I always put it away thinking it just needed the “right weather.” I considered selling it in my blog sale but convinced myself to wear it again. It looks flipping great when I wear it! I just don’t like wearing it because I want to tuck it into my skirts. Basically it just isn’t working for me and the only thing I like about it is the aesthetic.

So lesson learned? I bought it without much thought or deliberation. I didn’t visual just how it would fit into my current wardrobe.

Recently I spotted this in a few recent Madewell ads…

OMG salvation!? There’s no mention of this oxford yet so it’ll probably show up in a few months (late March maybe) for sale on the site. There’s a matching knit version for spring in their Lookbook but it has this lace panel in the front that I’m just not feeling. I want this elusive oxford version.

This shirt is on my Hunt List.

I just made that word up but it fits.

When it comes out I’m buying it if it meets my criteria of:

  1. long sleeved
  2. comfortable relaxed material
  3. basic striped design (no lace addons like that knit version.)

If they have a free shipping deal I’ll just order it online but I’ll try to catch it in stores if not.

Honestly though it looks more like a relaxed chino material which I’d be into for spring/summer.