Back in Japan for another business trip. Took the “regular” flight out of Orlando on United/ANA through Chicago to Narita, Tokyo. My trip this December, which started November 29th Orlando time, is the most complex, involving two cities (Osaka and Tokyo) and requiring I use Japan’s train system more extensively than before.
This screen capture of Google Maps shows the essential route from Tokyo to Osaka. I had to take two trains, the Narita Express from Narita to Shinagawa, and the Shinkasen Hikara from Shinagawa to Shin-Osaka, or Osaka. I would have gotten to the hotel about 45 minutes earlier than I did, but the Narita Express was so quiet and I was so tired I slept through the Shinagawa stop. I had to take a train back two stops, and there the very nice train personnel helped me to change my ticket to a slightly later train.
After two years of travel to Japan I’m still impressed by the quality of the Japanese rail system, now even more so after having ridden on the Shinkansen. Compared to flying on a contemporary Boeing 737 jet with a domestic US carrier, the interiors are spacious and comfortable with plenty of leg room, allowing me to lean back and nap. Both the Narita and the Shinkansen are smooth and quiet. One thing I did notice and that’s the apparent speed. While you’ll read the occasional story about high speed runs, the speeds through the heavily urbanized corridor I traveled were more “sedate.” But that’s not a problem when someone else is doing all the driving while you just sit back and relax.
I’m doing something very different for me. Now that I’ve got an iPhone 6s Plus I’m using the back-side camera rather than pulling out my Olympus E-M10. And I’m very pleased with the results I’m getting. I fully understand now why so many prefer smartphone photography, especially on the iPhone. If I were forced to I’d leave all my interchangeable lens cameras at home and just use the iPhone. As it is I only have the E-M10 and a few, very compact lenses.
I’m also using a WiFi hotspot rental I picked up at Narita. For about $10.50/day I have 4G LTE connectivity with unlimited data. My iPhone and MBP are wirelessly linked to it. This gives me the connectivity I need for a lot less money than if I were using AT&T in Japan. AT&T on travel is just too damned expensive.