Miffa is da # 1

Friday, August 31, 2007

Miffa's travel to Japan. Hokkaido vol. 2

planning our journey at Mandarin while old parents were sleeping

Two days in Tokyo to let my old parents rebuild themselves (long travels are not good for elderly people) and we were on our way to Haneda airport (much closer to the city than Narita).

We decided to visit the Nothern Island of Hokkaido attracted by its nature and wildlife. It’s is Japan’s second island regarding territory and it concentrates most of Japan´s national parks.

Hokkaido (北海道) is the land of Ainu people who were the original inhabitants of this Island. The main city of Hokkaido it’s Sapporo that many of my father’s friends surely only know the name because of Sapporo beer. Anyways there in 1972 a Spanish skier won the only gold medal that Spanish skiers have gotten in all winter Olympics.

During winter Hokkaido is normally covered with snow and temperatures are below zero and can reach up to – 20 Celsius in the northern part. Sapporo ski resorts are world famous and during peak season Australian guys go there to ski as we go to Andorra.

Well Hokkaido has several volcanoes, too and sometimes, you know...

The best way to arrive to Hokkaido is definitely by air. You can take a train that only takes like 40 hours and go by bus but apart from spending the most valuable resource – your time- once there you will have a very limited ability to move.

So, do as many Japanese that usually go there during summer, buy a ticket to new Chitose airport – the busiest airport of the world- and rent a car in the biggest rent a car station that you surely will sea in your life. I would say that almost half of the cars that are there are rent a car ones.

If you can not speak a word of Japanese and of course cannot read it, just do not worry about. Even Japanese people are not the best on earth dealing with maps and everycar has the most sophisticated GPS on board that you surely have seen. How much did you pay for the crappy Mercedes command or BMW GPS?? Please if you have some friends from Japan please do not show them switched on.

In a double din format they pack a Hard Disk Drive with all the maps, radio, TV, DVD + CD, mp3, almost any item that you use every day. Btw, Phone support was missed and in Japan you can not drive while you’re on the phone.

The only bad thing about those devices is that everything is in Japanese, an even if you would able to change the menu to English, still you have to input the addresses in Japanese. Big problem? Not big deal, you can input telephone numbers and something called Mapcodes. If you want to visit a mountain surely it has no telephone number but surely a ropeway or store will be close to it or you can use Mapcode.

Did I mention, Sapporo beer is from Sapporo city??

And, still you can use the “try to identify” Japanese calligraphy!!! Very frustrating for a mad Father Bunny who was three hours looking for a spot near Furano.

And what about renting a nice Subaru Impreza to feel like a WRC driver? It can be done, just add several thousand yens more to your renting budget.

A drivers paradise, yes this is Hokkaido with nice mountain roads, cheap gas, cheap rental prices and nice cars like our Toyota bB that you won’t see ever in Europe. I must say too that our car was 4wd and so they were all the rental cars. Too many rainy days and snow –in winter- make that option a good idea.

And when you give a nice 4wd car to a car freak like my father you surely will do more kilometres than needed and will move much faster than locals. Thank good we did not rent the Subaru because the curvy roads, a revving engine and Father Bunny would have been a sure ticket to a Japanese jail or even worse.

Hmm, next time we will discuss about our itinerary

------EOF english version ---- Rude Spanish underneath -------------

Note: after some complaining about my Spanish writing – I have learned it in streets, so that is the matter, mate- I ‘ve just decided to make it checked by a friend of mine.

Después de dos días en Tokyo para que los viejos descansasen ( a la gente mayor no le van bien los viajes largos) estábamos en ruta hacia el aeropuerto de Haneda (mucho más cerca de la ciudad que el de Narita)

Decidimos visitar la isla de Hokkaido atraídos por su naturaleza y vida silvestre. Es la segunda isla de Japón por tamaño y en ella se encuentran la mayoría de parques naturales.
Hokkaido (北海道), es la tierra de los Ainu, los pobladores originales de esta isla. La principal urbe de Hokkaido es Sapporo, que muchos de los amigos de mi padre sólo conocerán por la cerveza del mismo nombre. De todas formas allí en 1972 un español ganó la única medalla de oro que un esquiador de esta nacionalidad ha conseguido en unos juegos de invierno

Durante el invierno está normalmente cubierto de nieve a las temperaturas pueden llegar hasta los 20 bajo cero en la zona norte. Los resorts de esquí alrededor de Sapporo tiene fama mundial y los esquiadores australianos van a ellos como la gente de aquí se va a Andorra,

La mejor forma de llegar a Hokkaido es, sin duda, por vía aérea. Puedes coger un tren que sólo tarda 40 horas o ir en autobús pero aparte de que gastaras el más valios de tus recursos, el tiempo, una vez allí tendrás una movilidad muy reducida.

Ryokan life

Así, que como hacen muchos japonés durante el verano, compra un billete para el Nuevo Aeropuerto de Chitose – el aeropuerto con mayor tráfico del mundo- y alquila un coche en el centro de alquiler de coches mas grande que, quizás, veas en tu vida. Me atrevería a decir que la mitad de coches que circulan por aquí son alquilados.

Si no hablas Japonés y por supuesto tampoco lo lees, no te preocupes. Incluso los japoneses no son la caña cuando se trata de orientarse con un mapa en este idioma y todos los coches tienen los sistemas de navegación por satélite más sofisticados que hayas visto. ¿Cuánto dices que pagaste por tu navegador Command de Mercedes o el de BMW? No se lo enseñes a tus amigos japos si no quieres que se rían de ti.

En un formato doble DIN encontrarás un disco duro con todos los mapas, la radio, la tele, el dvd y cd y todos lo que necesitas, aunque faltaba el soporte del teléfono, que esta prohibido utilizar mientras conduces en Japón.

Lo malo de estas joyas es que todos los menús están en japonés y aunque pudieses cambiar el menú a otro idioma, deberías introducir la dirección en japonés . ¿Una putada?, que va.. puedes introducir números de teléfono del destino o algo que han llamado Mapcodes. Si quieres visitar una montaña, seguro que no tiene teléfono, por eso los Mapcodes. Si todo falla puedes intentar descifrar la caligrafía japonesa pero es muy frustrante para Padres Conejo que buscan – sin éxito- un lugar

And, still you can use the “try to identify” Japanese calligraphy!!! Very frustrating for a mad Father Bunny who was three hours looking for a spot near Furano.

Y… alquilar un magnifico Subaru Impreza para sentirse como un rey del mundial de rallies. Si lo puedes hacer y sólo añadiendo unos miles más de yens a tu presupuesto

Un paraíso para los amantes de la conducción con preciosas carreteras de montaña, gasolina barata, coches de alquiler baratos y coches muy monos como nuestro Toyota bB que no veras nunca en Europa. Debo decir que nuestro coche era tracción total y como el nuestro todos los de alquiler. Demasiados días lluviosos y nieve – en invierno- lo hacen aconsejable.

Y cuando das un coche mono 4x4 al viejo –que le encantan los coches- seguramente harás más kilómetros de los necesarios y te moverás de A a B a una velocidad más alta que los nativos. Gracias a Dios que no alquilamos el Subaru o las carreteras llenas de curvas y un motor potente junto a un padre un poco ido hubiesen sido pasaporte a una cárcel japonesa o aún peor.

Hmm, mejor os hablo del itinerario más tarde

PD: Los que siempre os quejáis de que sólo esta en Ingles no veáis que coñazo es esto de dos idiomas. ¡¡¡Como no me leáis os mato!!!

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Miffa’s travel and adventure: First days, back in Tokyo

I must admit that with my father really mad about one of our suitcases lost since last Sunday (the one who contains all our presents) is really difficult to cope with jetlag and post vocational syndrome.

Anyways the good thong about it is that you get up early and therefore you have a lot of time to post your adventures.

We booked our flight with the cheapest, money must be saved for thing that really matters a Chinese proverb says, and this was Air France. The journey from Paris to Tokyo in a new Boeing 777-400 was the worst flying nightmare that me and my parents has suffered in all our lives.

When the passenger in front off us reclined his seat the mini-tv screen touched our nose. I think I’ve read in a newspaper that European people average height has increased over last 50 years but it seems that Air France just doesn’t care.

Ok. We will throw more shit over them at the end of this series, they have lost our baggage and they wanted to charge us 300 euros for extra baggage. Phuckers!!!

After a really bad flight we got the airport limousine bus from Narita and we landed in my favourite Tokyo hotel – The Mandarin Oriental- where they welcome back me as a VIP guest.

Unfortunately my parents are rather old so after a brief walk around Ginza they were so tired that they decided to remain in the hotel for our first day. That was not a bad idea if you take into consideration the nice offer Mandarin has.

Now after being hosted in Cerulean Towers and Hyatt I just definitely say that Mandarin is the best and when talking about price / quality is even better. Anyways the non included breakfast that starts at 3500 yen doesn’t not include bacon, sausage and potatoes as it did in our first visit and when you pay more than 60,000 yen a night this little details can be a bug issue when dealing with perception/value freaks like my father.

Next day we just took care of Tokyo, and we decided to follow Mother Bunny’s favourite track around Omote Sando and Aoyama. Mr. Evaseé provided us with the map that all the spies use when in Tokyo and together with our notes we visited almost every store, shop, bar, restaurant and ice cream cart that rules!!!!

A nice approach to the “hot Tokyo” before our next day destination: ten days in the northern island known as Hokkaido – Japan’s wildest spot-

Our next post will statr in Haneda Airport


Debo admitir que con el Viejo tan cabreado por culpa de la perdida de una maleta desde el pasado domingo (la que llevaba nuestros regales) es muy difícil sobreponerse al jet lag y al síndrome post vacacional

De todas formas lo mejor del caso es que te puedes levantar pronto y por consiguiente tienen un montón de tiempo para publicar tus aventuras

Reservamos el vuelo con la compañía más barata, el dinero hay que ahorrarlo para lo que realmente importa, dice un proverbio chino, y la más barata era Air France. Nuestro vuelo desde Paris con un 777-400 fue la peror pesadilla que yo y mis padres recordamos en toda nuestra vida.

Cuando el cabrón que teníamos delante (cosas de la traducción) reclinaba el asiento la puta televisión nos tocaba la nariz. Creo que he leído que los europeos hemos crecido en las ultimas décadas pero parece que a los de Air France no les importa

Ya nos cagaremos en su puta madre más adelante, nos han perdido el equipaje y son bastante cabrones, a parte de querer cobrarnos 300 euros por exceso de equipaje, Hijos de su put* madr*

Note: this is the Spanish that I have learnt at school, do not complaint

Después de un vuelo de mierda cogimos el autobús desde Narita y acabamos en mi hotel preferido – El Mandarin Oriental- donde tuvieron la delicadeza de recordarnos como antiguos huéspedes.

Por desgracia los viejos están acabados y después de un paseito de nada por Ginza se me encamaron como perros y se sobaron hasta la cena. No era mala idea si tienes en cuenta todo lo que un hotel así te ofrece.

Después de estar en el Cerulean towers y en el Hyatt el Mandarin es el mejor – con gran diferencia- en cuanto a calidad / precio. De todas formas el desayuno – no incluido- que vale 3500 yens no incluye ni bacón, ni salchichas ni demás mierda que sí incluía en abril. Y si te gastas más de 60.000 yens en una put noche de hotel detalles como este joden muchísimo a viejos encabronados como mi padre.

El siguiente día nos centramos en Tokio y decidimos seguir la ruta preferida de Mamaá Conejo alrededor de Omote Sando y Aoyama. Mr. Véase nos proporciono un mapa que usan los espaias internacionales –como él- Chicas tengo su teléfono. Y no nos quedo ni una tienda, ni un bar, restaurante o carrito de helados por inspeccionar.

Una buena aproximación al Tokyo más caliente antes de nuestro primer destino, el salvaje Hokkaido

Nos vemos en Haneda

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Miffa’s travel and adventure: Planning my trip to Japan

Yes, I was wearing my hi-protection gear to cope with the heat wave

Travelling to Asia has several added difficulties to cope with; you should know a little of their culture and sometimes you must know a little about their language.

This has been not a big deal for a hongkonese bunny who can communicate both in traditional and Mandarin Chinese, or for Mother Bunny who has great knowledge of Mandarin.

Japan was a forbidden travel destination for my parents (as they used to think it was the most expensive place on earth). It was not after my deals with native Japanese bunnies and some persuasion that they really decided to visit Tokyo. I must admit that the plane ticket from Beijing to Tokyo was more expensive than the one from Barcelona to Beijing, but after all we were dying to visit the city.

Father Bunny overprotects me, but i love him a lot
In our five days there our expectatives were high but the experience doubled the initial expectative.

So we decided to further explore Japan. We thought we will need something like 30 days at least, and we were right. Planning a trip to a place that you don’t know and where more than 120 million people live is not easy so we took some time.

First as soon as on April 23rd Mother bunny made a nice gift to Father Bunny: 4 different tourist and cultural guides about Japan.

After several weekends reading all of them the initial travel schedule is made. All the places are carefully chosen and then it was only a matter of air tickets and hotels…

Big mistake, getting tickets was not so easy and after some concerns about edreams (who did not pay the airline we booked in our Australia travel) we decided to rely to Father Bunny’s Chinese Travel Agency. Booking hotels outside Tokyo was even worse with a lot of time using the network and emailing for confirmation.

Me at Imperial Palace Kyoto

If you have friends you have a big treasure, it’s said and our friends from Cafemiffy reviewed our travel plan and gave us the most valuable and better of the advices.

So we changed that it was required and thus we got was we thought it was the perfect itinerary.

And it was, but let me tell you how to improve it a little bit (of course adding more days)

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Back from Japan.

Hands up bunny!! Japanese police stopped me speeding wild in my Toyota bB

Yesterday I landed in CDG where almost everyday the police and the French army enjoy themselves using explosives over missing luggage. Me and Father Bunny do not like people in camouflage outfits and assault rifles in ANY airport but we find real pathetic that they even usually carry a backpack.

Ok. Ok, you know that we got mad when we’re packed in a plane for 14 hours and when you arrive to CDG you have to start again with all the pathetic security checks.

Some of my friends at BCN would like to be there to share some food with me

That’s the wrong part about traveling and it’s getting worse but I must say that our decision to visit Japan after visiting Tokyo last April was a good move.

Planning the trip was huge effort from Mother Bunny and Father Bunny, more than three weekends planning and… finally the good advice and support from our Japanese friends – Cafemiffy- who did more for our planning that we were able to do in two months.

More than 1500 pictures are waiting for cleaning and classify… several kilograms of maps and brochures are waiting too. And a lost parcel is in someplace which contains a lot of presents for family and friends.

To be continued

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

The new Sapporo beer star

Well, indeed this is not the post i wanted to write but i am stuck in an old coin operated 64kbs machine with only a screen and thank good Father Bunny hacked the usb port.

More to come.

Regards to all the beer lovers.

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