Japan Dreaming: Pretty Good Number One

Pretty Good Number OneFishing 4 Deals focuses on budget, domestic travel.  But anyone can dream, right?

Lately, I have been dreaming about traveling to Japan.

There are a number of things that intrigue me about Japan:

  • the natural beauty
  • J-pop culture
  • traditional arts like pottery and paper making
  • the trains
  • manufacturing industries
  • hot springs
  • old Japan
  • fashion
  • the gardens and temples
  • and, of course, the food

To indulge my fantasy, I picked up a copy of Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo, by Seattle-based food writer Matthew Amster-Burton.

The book is about an American couple and their adorable eight year old daughter Iris, who rent an apartment in Tokyo for one month.

 Tokyo is the opposite of the DMV.  It is the least annoying place I have ever been to.  –Matthew Amster-Burton

Amster-Burton used Kickstarter to crowd source the publication of the book in ebook form.

Here’s what one reviewer said about  Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo, published in February 2014:

The layers of the city, its extraordinary food pleasures, its quirkinesses, emerge as the author and his family spend an intense month living in Tokyo and exploring widely . . . Warning:  this book will make you hungry.  You’ll yearn, as I do, to catch the next plane to Tokyo, so you can get eating.  —Naomi Duguid, writer and traveler
Japan by RailAmazon has the kindle version of the book on sale for $3.99.I am not going to Japan any time soon, but in the meantime, I enjoy reading travel books.

I’ve picked up a copy of Japan by Rail, which offers incredibly detailed advice, down to how to find your platform, where to stash your bags, and where to exit the train station.

I am planning my miles and points accrual strategy with this trip in mind, focusing on collecting United miles and Ultimate Rewards points for the airfare, and Barclaycard Arrival points for the Japan Rail Passes.

The goal is to stay at hotels as close to the train stations as possible.  Japan Rail has a network of hotels throughout the country adjacent to rail stations.  These hotels offers discounts to rail pass holders.  The JR hotels would be super convenient but are mostly lux properties on the expensive side.

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Ten Loyalty Programs with Birthday Bonuses (+130 more)

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 3.06.35 PM
Virgin America Birthday Bonus

Today my thoughts turn to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11.

Today is also my birthday.

Today while most people are remembering the tragedy that occurred 12 years ago, I find my inbox overflowing with birthday greetings from various frequent flyer and loyalty programs.

It’s strange.  I guess birthdays are big business, and loyalty programs everywhere are getting on the bandwagon.

These are the birthday benefits I’ve racked up:

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Japanese Taiko Drummers at Dulles International Airport

Taiko Drummer
Taiko Drummer – Mark H. Rooney

In celebration of Asian-American Heritage Month, Japanese Taiko drummers will be performing at Dulles International Airport (IAD) on Thursday and Friday, May 30 and 31.

The free performances will feature DC-based musician Mark H Rooney.  Taiko is a dynamic form of full-body drumming based in Japanese tradition. Rooney combines that traditional foundation with a modern sensibility to create performances that are full of energy, endurance, and excitement.

The performance on Thursday May 30 will take place from  3 to 5 p.m. on the departures level – east side.

On Friday, May 31, you can catch the drummers from 10 to 11 a.m. on the departures level – east side;  From 11:15 to noon, the show will move to Gate B41, post security.

The performances are sponsored by All Nippon Airlines (ANA) and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

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Gangnam Style @ Dulles International Airport May 3

Catch the Gangnam Style dance phenomenon this Friday at Dulles International Airport.

Psy Gangnam Style
Psy Gangnam Style

The performance is part of a Korean cultural festival Friday afternoon in celebration of the May 2013 Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

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