De eerste week zit er bijna op!

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Zo, we zijn al bijna weer een week in Japan.
We zouden tropische stormen hebben, aardbevingen, hevige regenval en weet ik veel wat al niet meer.

Wat we hadden was een zeer vochtige, warme, 33-40 graden hitte iedere dag.

Eerlijkheid gebied te zeggen dat we eergisteren wel wat buien hadden, maar daar bleef het ook bij. Gisteren zijn we uit Okinawa naar Fukuoka gevlogen, dat is op Kyushu, één van de 4 hoofdeilanden van Japan. Ik zit dus nu weer op het Japanse “Vaste land”. Vandaag hebben we 8 van de 9 hellen van Beppu bezocht. Dat was best interessant, maar daar over later meer.

Nu volgt een foto impressie van wat we tot nu toe gedaan hebben (tot en met gisteren ochtend).

Eisa plastic in plastic

Eisa plastic in plastic

Bovenstaande zijn Eisa dansers (traditionele Okinawa folklore dans, zang en muziek). Op ieder station van de Monorail van Naha op het eiland Okinawa zelf, staat zo’n plastic in plastic weergave (lijkt net echt glas in lood).

Naha monorail, Yui Rail

Naha monorail, Yui Rail

Bovenstaand zie je een trein van Yui Rail, de monorail van Naha op Okinawa. Dit is de enige “trein” die ze op het eiland hebben. Voor de rest ben je aangewezen op bussen of op taxi’s die ongeveer 1/3 kosten van wat je in Nederland betaald. Op de 1e echte dag in Okinawa hebben we her en der wat rond gelopen en niet echt iets productiefs gedaan. We hebben wel heerlijke Kuroi Buta Tonkatsu gegeten. Yum!

Uitzicht over Naha

Uitzicht over Naha

De 2e dag ben ik met Robert en Michel naar de geheime ondergrondse legerbasis van het Japanse leger in de 2e wereldoorlog geweest. Boven op een heuvel stond een mooie uitkijktoren met dit uitzicht over de stad en de zee. Het was een beetje mistig op het moment, maar dat trok een uurtje later weer op.

Ondergronds leger HQ

Ondergronds leger HQ

We moesten wel een heel eind naar beneden, de grond in, het was er benauwd en erg laag ook. Ik kon er maar net rechtop staan en Michel moest her en der bukken.

Gyokusendou

Gyokusendou

Die zelfde dag zijn we met een taxi naar Okinawa World pretpark geweest. Ik wilde graag het Eisa programma wat ze daar opvoeren nog een keer zien. Je mocht er helaas geen foto’s maken. We zijn ook nog maar een keer door de grot heen gehobbeld. De Eisa show was de moeite wel waard. Ik heb Michel en Robert daar ook voor het eerst Taco Rijst laten eten. Ze vonden het beide lekker (en dat is het ook).

Shabu Shabu

Shabu Shabu

Omdat Martijn het nog nooit op had, zijn we deze avond Shabu Shabu gaan eten. Een serie dunne plakjes koe of varken die je door bouillon heen haalt waar je zelf groenten en tofu en Udon noedels (dikke noedels) in kan doen.

Na het door de bouillon halen van het vlees, dump je dit in een bakje saus en eet je het op.

Draken Dans

Draken Dans

Op de 14e ben ik mee gegaan op een tour. Met een grote touringcar gingen 27 van de 29 mensen op pad langs allerlei toeristische dingen op Okinawa eiland. Als eerste gingen we naar Ryuukyuu mura, een soort dorp van de oorspronkelijke inwoners van Okinawa, voor dat Japan het ingepikt had.

Hier kon je traditionele dingen zien als een draken dans, en ook Eisa. Helaas ging die Eisa demo niet door, omdat we al weer de bus in moesten!

Hedo Maza mo

Hedo Maza mo

Schitterend uitzicht bij Manza Mo, helaas hadden we ook hier maar 15 minuten de tijd. Had hier graag wat langer gebleven.

Niels op Hedo Manza Mo

Niels op Hedo Manza Mo

Yup, ik was er echt. Met een achterlijk petje op mijn kop wat ik prompt verloren ben in de bus. Het petje was wel nodig, omdat ik anders verbrand op mijn hoofd -_-;;

Zo de lunch in het Sweets Village

Zo de lunch in het Sweets Village

De hele groep aan het eten in Sweets Village, een tourist trap pur sang. Gewoon een grote winkel waar ze allemaal vieze cakejes verkochten en waar we ongelofelijk vet vlees (varkens spek met de huid er nog aan) en zeewierbeestjes te eten kregen. Na de rijst had ik er genoeg van en ben beneden maar een Chocomint ijsje gaan halen. Die tijd hadden we beter op Manza Mo kunnen blijven.

Strand

Strand

Een van de vele stranden onderweg. Helaas stopten we er niet.

Churaumi Aquarium

Churaumi Aquarium

De 3e walvis haai is aangekomen in het Aquarium. Ze hebben er nu weer meer als Kayukan in Osaka. Die had er sinds vorig jaar ook 2 net als Churaumi. En ja, dat kan natuurlijk niet. Robert en ik zijn in een rap tempo het aquarium door gegaan en hebben in het restaurant dat uitzicht bied aan de Walvis haai en de roggen heerlijk zitten lunchen. Een heel stuk beter dan die vette drap in Sweets Village. De laatste stop van de reis ging naar Fruits Land. Een trieste bedoening waar wat fruitbomen en struikjes staan, gevolgd door een grote fruithandel waar je voor achterlijke prijzen, zoals overal in Japan, fruit kunt kopen. Ik ben er niet eens de bus voor uit geweest, maar ben naar de convenience store geweest die er naast zat. Even nog wat drinken halen voor de 2.5 uur lange terugrit.

Die avond zijn we niet te laat gaan slapen, want ik ging met Robert en Kaj naar Iriomote via het eilandje Ishigaki. Je moet namelijk eerst naar Ishigaki vliegen (of 3 dagen varen) voor je naar Iriomote kunt. Iriomote is zo’n 25kilometer in doorsnee en er wonen nog geen 20.000 mensen op. Het grootste gedeelte in Jungle en mangrove met riviertjes. Om er te komen, kun je als cheapskate voor 10 euro een enkeltje kopen op een bootje. Je reis duurt dan 3 uur. Wij kozen er voor om 15 euro te betalen en met 80km per uur over het water the scheren. Dan duurt die reis ineens maar 45 minuten. Toch wel prettig, als je die avond nog terug vliegt.

Bootje

Bootje

Vroem vroem, gaat het bootje.

Einde van de wereld?

Einde van de wereld?

Eenmaal op Iriomote aangekomen, neemt een busje van de bootmaatschappij ons gratis mee naar de aanlegplaats van de Jungle bootjes.

De weg lijkt wel eindeloos door te gaan, er reden eigenlijk totaal geen auto’s. Waren we wel op de juiste plaats? Of zijn we in de middle of nowhere gedumpt?

De jungle cruise bootjes

De jungle cruise bootjes

Gelukkig! Na een klein beetje klimmen, de aanlegsteiger voor de bootjes die de Jungle rivier opvaren. Je kunt gewoon heen en weer varen voor 1500 yen, of je kunt de waterval beklimming doen, ook voor 1500 yen. Het verschil is, dat ze je 2.5 uur later weer op komen halen. Wij kiezen voor optie B. Beklimmen…

De mensen die me een beetje kennen, weten dat ik 12.000 kleuren excrement uitwerp bij enge hoogtes en bergpaadjes. Ik kan het ook iedereen met hoogtevrees afraden het te doen. Ik heb wel momenten gehad dat ik echt niet meer verder wilde, eigenlijk, maar gelukkig bleven Robert en Kaj voor en achter me lopen, dus had ik iemand om op te focussen met stappen en wist ik dat iemand me zou grijpen als ik naar beneden zou vallen. Maar, alles ging goed met als resultaat, wat mooie plaatjes:

Riviertje met bergjes

Riviertje met bergjes

Bergjes

Bergjes

Boompje

Boompje

Salamander

Salamander

Waterval

Waterval

Ja, ik was er echt, met nieuwe lelijke pet

Ja, ik was er echt, met nieuwe lelijke pet

Pokemon Jet

Pokemon Jet

Na de landing op Naha, de hoofd luchthaven van Okinawa, kwamen we direct in aanraking met iets heel engs, de Pokemon Boeing van ANA. Helaas hebben we de Iriomote Yamaneko (Wilde kat die alleen daar leeft) niet gezien.

De 16e was alweer de laatste volle dag op Okinawa. We zijn overdag visjes wezen kijken in de zee. Was best leuk, je vaart met een schip de zee op, ze gooien wat voedsel in het water, en er zwemmen in eens bergen visjes om je heen. In de avond zijn we naar het Yonabaru touwtrek festival geweest. Toen we er bijna waren, regende het BAKKEN uit de hemel. Ik vroeg aan de locals of het eigenlijk: Yonobare Ame Matsuri was (regen festival) maar dat werd stellig ontkent. De regen hield gelukkig snel weer op, net voor de wedstrijd begon. Er werd 2 keer touw getrokken, met het voorspelbare resultaat dat beide kampen een keer wonnen. Het publiek mocht (moest) ook mee doen.

Drie van onze dames hebben mee gedaan. Katrien, Bregt en Marjolein hebben 2 keer bij het zelfde team mee gedaan. Zie het filmpje voor hun overwinning!

Ik heb niet meegedaan, omdat 90% van de mensen uiteindelijk omver viel en de grond nogal smerig is.

Visjes

Visjes

Een touwtje met goden er op

Een touwtje met goden er op

De twee stukken bij elkaar brengen

De twee stukken bij elkaar brengen

De tegenpartij (Waar de dames mee deden)

De tegenpartij (Waar de dames mee deden)

En nu nog een stok door de knoop

En nu nog een stok door de knoop

Katrien, Bregt en Marjolein

Katrien, Bregt en Marjolein

Bekijk de onderstaande dramatische video over de heldhaftige overwinning!

En direct al in de krant!

En direct al in de krant!

De festival krant werd meteen geprint en na een goed uur was hij al te krijgen! Onze 3 heldinnen stonden ook in de krant!

Katrien had nieuwe schoenen aan, die niet zo goed tegen water konden…

Oeps...

Oeps...

Na het touwtrekken, volgde nog een Eisa dans demonstratie. Die was hartstikke leuk, maar door de drukte er omheen kon ik niet echt mooie foto’s maken. Als je de rest wil zien, vraag het me dan.

De onderstaande Eisa drummers waren een stelletje en vonden het tof om voor iemand die helemaal uit Nederland kwam (andere kant van de wereld) te poseren. De jonge dame deed wel eerst even haar bril af voor ze op de foto wilde.

Drumstel

Drumstel

En na dit gezellig festival, ging het hup weer naar huis met de Taxi. De volgende dag gaan we al weer vroeg weg, nu ja, om 13:00 naar het vliegveld dan, om naar Kyushu te gaan. We gaan dan landen in Fukuoka/Hakata.

Inmiddels zijn we er al, maar hier nog even een impressie van het vertrek van Naha.

Dag zegt de JAL 737-700

Dag zegt de JAL 737-700

The August 2009 Holiday

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Well, we’re fully booked for the August 2009 holiday!
However, 2 people are failing to reply to e-mail so unless they let us know something before May 1 this year,
we’re cancelling their holiday.

Luckilly we have 2 people ready to fill their places!
So, if you wanted to sign up for the holiday, We can let you know by May 3 if you can make it on the list!

New Blog software

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Vanwege de vele spam op mijn vorige blog, heb ik maar Wordpress geïnstalleerd.
Alle oude posts komen wel weer terug hoor…
Denk ik :)
Ik zal er de komende tijd eens voor gaan zitten.
Het kan zijn dat de vormgeving van dit blog nog wel gaat veranderen.
Dat gebeurt wel als ik een nieuw theme gevonden heb dat minder suf is als het huidige.

Tot dan.

Kanazawa – The Western Capital of Japan

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Yesterday Robert Kaj and I visited Kanazawa. It was one of the places on my hitlist, because of a famous Japanese actress being named after the city and it’s supposed historical buildings.
It’s called the Kyoto of the West.

Like Kyoto, the station has (recently) been transformed in to a work of art.

Kanazawa Station with it’s distinctive Torii

Kanazawa Station, inside to outside

Escalator to the subway lines. Please note the flat part in the middle of the escalator

Kanazawa is close to the earthquake region of a few days back and was supposedly hit by a force 5 quake. The results are a staggering piece of plastic coming off a scale model of the station.

We didn’t really see any old buildings, but the trip was 3hours long and we did not have overly long to stay there so we’ve probably missed all the classic goodness. There are 2 Geisha districts still in working order in Kanazawa, which is more then Kyoto. They are supposedly larger too. The reason for going to Kanazawa was actually again one of the Nihon Sankei. One of the most beautiful gardens is supposedly in Kanazawa.
Ken-Rokuen. And it was there!

While we were in the station, we saw some adverts for the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. We decided to visit there too. On walking out of the station, my eye fell on this measly branch in a solitary little tree…

Yes! My first Sakura tree this season with some flowers!

On our way to Ken-Rokuen we stopped at a Doutor (Yes, Doutor, not… Du Tour) coffee shop (Not the Dutch type!) for some Ice Coffee and a cheeze toast (Toastie). You get to throw your own sugar syrup and concentrated milk in this ice coffee. There was a guy there that had already emptied 2 packs of cigarettes while playing on his DS Lite. Anyway, ofter finishing the coffee, we took it upon us to visit a local temple. Well, I wanted to go there because they had a public toilet on the premises and I needed to use it.
The temple had a nice garden.




And a few blossoms in the tree

It also had a rather distinctive entrance gate (not on the side we entered from) which looks totally out of place in a Japanese temple.

The gate.


And the rather bland temple with recorded cheezy music out of speakers.

When we had enough of this temple, we moved on to the museum, which is oposite Ken-Rokuen, as it happens. This was a stroke of good fortune. Now we had the two things we wanted to see at hand.

Impression of a dragon on top of the museum building



Leandro’s pool. You can walk into the exhibit and down some stairs into a blue room with the bottom part of some stairs and a roof of glass with water on top.
On the top end, outside the exhibit, you can look into a pool and see… the people in the blue room! A nifty bit of engineering by Leandro Erlich. He’s famous for his trick art.


In Thurell’s Room you saw an optical illusion of a flat wall
And it was open to the sky… I think…

We sat there for a while, because we were kinda tired.


And yes, I forgot to shave -_-;;

Anyway, it was a nice place to sit in. There was a nice breeze inside the room and it was quite. I could have remained there for the rest of the day with a good book on me.

However, we finally made it to Ken-Rokuen. The garden was indeed beautiful and worth it’s 300 yen entrance fee. I’ve taken quite some pictures there. Here’s a small selection of them.

Water mass with a tea-house in the distance.

Waterfall, about 4m high.

Teahouse

Small island with blooming Sakura


The oldest fountain in Japan


Famous stepping stones in the shape of a flight of geese.


Very long branch of a Japanese Oaktree, supported due to it’s weight

Sakura

Fushigi no somebody

Dinner… ehm… Carp.


Nice river with small bamboo shoots, kept small for the effect.

Yes, proof I saw Sakura blooming

Reality comes close to this oasis of rest and tranquility.

Well, since it was running towards 16:00 and remember, the journey home was supposedly 3 hours, we went back to the station by bus. Yes, it’s cheating, but we were tired and didn’t feel like walking the same route again. At the station I reserved tickets for the 18:00 Thunderbird to Osaka. The name sounded like the train would be moved along on strings and I had great fears as to it’s speed. When I got the tickets, it appeared the train would be back in Osaka about 30 minutes sooner then the morning train, the Raichou (a rather old express train known under various names in Japan). So appearantly, it would realy move as the thunder.
Anyway, since it was my brother’s birthday I diceded to say hi to him and grab some food. We went to the station department store and of course, on the 8th floor, they had a food court, like most department stores.
We went and had some delicious Gyouza and Chinese food there. The Mabo Toufu I had was really spicy and rather nice. The sauce was not tomato based, but it was sharp and nice none the less.

When we had dinner, we went back to the station and bought some Pino ice cream. I also saw some typical Japanese crisps… Mayonaise flavoured crips, Piri Piri variation. I bought a small bag just for the hell of it.
They were kinda nice. Peppery Mayonaise-like potato crisps. Good stuff.

Well, it was time to board the Thunderbird 44 (In the series they only came to 5) and go back home.
The Thunderbird looked like a “koploper” from the NS and also has those doors that open upfront to add an additional train, which they promptly did, just to impress us that they could :)

Anyway, we’re back in Osaka now.

Amano Hashidate – Nihon Sankai

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On the 26th I went to Amano Hashidate with Robert and Kaj.

Amano Hisidate is one of the Nihon Sankai. The top 3.

Amano Hashidate belongs to the top 3 views in Japan. They are not rated 1-3 but just as best 3.
I have visited Miyajima, another of the top 3, 2 years ago. This small island in the bay of Hiroshima has the famous Torii in the sea (Temple gate). It also sports some imperial, thus holy, dear that you are allowed to feed special biscuits. You are not allowed to harm them though. The island is very busy from 8 till 17:00 so I took myself and my camera there past 17:00 to be able to take all the pictures I wanted in all quietness. If you were, like me, based in Osaka, around 19:08 the last train leaves from Miyajima-guchi.

Last year in August, Mischel and I went to Mishima. Not only is there a bridge to a chalk island, but… there are over a 1000 small rock formations made up of chalk-rock. That’s where the place gets it’s name from.
Mishima was quite forgettable. It did absolutely nothing for me. More beautiful formations can be found in Greece, Turkey or even the UK (Isle of Wight). Miyajima however, was quite beautiful.

So, with mixed anticipation I went to Amano Hashidate two days ago. According to Lonely Planet a 1inch half-page column is more then enough to describe it. Rough Guide takes 2-3 pages. I tend to agree with Rough guide a lot more then LP. LP is written by and for impatient Americans that rather see the venom in things then the beauty. Rough Guide sometimes gets carried away so they come over like backpacking hippies stuck in the sixties. In the end both guides gave me no clue whatsoever as to what to expect. Total crap? Almost heavenly experience?

Well, after having been there, I can report the following:
- It might come over a bit disappointing if you’re expecting huge unkempt nature with canyons and desert etc.

- The water and the beach are among the cleanest most beautiful in Japan I have seen in my 12 visits.

- The sandbar it’s self is a nice change from urban encroachment. Of course, it’s clean like we’re used to here in Japan. However, some of the trees and looking at the construction cars, even more will have to make place for bits of concrete for the tired Japanese to take shelter in against the sun or rain. This really is a pity as I loved the care taken with supporting trees that have become to heavy to stand upright in the loose and shallow ground.


Supported trees

- The view from the top of the surrounding mountain is great! The cable car going up the mountain was OK but rather old. The lift with open seats without any support, running parallel to the cable car looked dinky and you couldn’t have gotten me in there with a shotgun against my head.

On with the rest.
When having walked the short 3.6km trip across the sandbar, you arrive at a street with housing right against it. A bit of a disillusion, as you thought you were in a nice nature preserve for a short while. A quay runs along the inner-bay and gets continuously hit by waves from the choppy waters. Strange enough, the water on the sea-side of Amano-Hashidate was so calm it was almost still.


Choppy waters

Well, after walking along the quay for a short stretch, we walked along the streets towards the cable car you could see going up the mountain. On our way there, we came past a nice looking temple. I was thinking of what to buy for my nephews, as I am their only uncle and thus should spoil them rotten. Then I came upon the temple shop. I decided to buy them traditional munk’s hats. Those conical things from woven rice leaves. Figuring it would be a pain to drag them along the entire time, I decided to buy them on the way down.


Munk’s hats

As we reached the cable car and lift, I was tempted not to go up the mountain, because, at that time, I had only seen the chair lift and not the cable car. Since you will only catch me in a chair lift when I am dead, I almost wished Kaj and Robert a nice time on top. But then… Yay! A cable car! So, I could visit the top too!


Cable car and lift

So Aiming for the top, up we went! The view was spectacular! Flabbergasted is the wrong word for it. So let’s not use that. The view was great. Yes, I do have to agree with the Japanese on two of the tree best views of Japan. An additional thing you can do there, besides eating roasted squid and buying souvenirs, is throw mini clay-pidgeons at an iron ring. 3 pieces for 100 yen. If you throw them all through the ring, it’s supposed to bring you luck! With my aim, I didn’t even try ^^;;


View of Amano Hashidate

We tried a Sofuto cureemu (softice) on the top before going back. On the way up, Kaj and Robert had to wait for me, because the Cable Car only runs every 15 minutes. While the chair lift, of course, runs continuously. However, the cable car is faster and I got in the cable car, the same time they got in their chairs. So I was down faster! I have some video footage of the climb down.



Birds of prey. Do you know what they are?

After having picked up the two hats, we proceeded to the ferry terminal to take the easy route back instead of crossing the sandbar yet again. It was so cool we did that, because two girls of about 4 were throwing small bits of cookie into the water behind the ferry. This attracted the seagulls so I rummaged around in my backpack, finding an old Melon Pan. I gave this to the girls who dug into it whit gusto, throwing chunks of it overboard, attracting a beautiful bird of prey. According to Rene’s comment in Kaj’s blog it may be a sea eagle (Osprey) but those have much more white. They were beautiful birds. That’s all I know for sure. If you can point out what they are, let me know.

After returning to Osaka by a direct Express train, we went into Yodobashi Umeda. Visiting the restaurant floor there, we dined on Shabu Shabu for about an hour of the alloted 90mins. all you can eat feast.
This set us back 2750 yen each. Quite cheap for Shabu Shabu. We went home after that and went to sleep. Except that I wanted to finish the new Hollows book by Kim Harrisson. It kept me up till 4am and irritated because still nothing much has been resolved after finishing the book. Tomorrow, we’re visiting Ken-rokuen, one of the 3 most beautiful gardens in Kanazawa.

I’ll write that up this evening. Now, I’m going out for a bit.
But before I go…. “Gelukkig hebben we de foto’s nog…”
Most of these were taken by Kaj with my Camera, seeing as he forgot his and it gave me the opportunity to film stuff instead.


Bridge to Amano Hashidate, it can turn on an axle to let ships pass into the harbour


Highspeed roudtrip boats


Dried Fugu (Blowfish) on a rack.


Freshly caught squid and octopus

Why DHL should be avoided like a Naruto TV marathon

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I used to order stuff from Amazon Japan quite a lot.
Just because they have great offers, sometimes 22-25% off when you get their pre-orders.
Their site contains more and more English, their customer service rocks!

Why? Why did I stop ordering from them?
Why, when they have such a great price policy? Why, when their shipping rates are rather low and affordable?

Why indeed?

Well, their shipping options are: DHL airmail or DHL Worldmail.
The Worldmail option, is the one I usually go for. Comparable to SAL, according to Amazon, your stuff gets deliverd to a location on your continent or country and then gets handles by normal postal services. Then it enters the lotery to see if you have to pay taxes or not.

Recently, DHL has taken it upon themselves, to deliver these packages themselves instead of using our great TNT services here in Holland. The first package took 4 weeks, was delivered after a bumbling call about a TAX number, which I as a normal person do not have, of course. Then the package was delivered and I heard nothing about it.

Feeling like a nice dude, I contacted DHL. They got back to be and after a few days, I received a bill to pay for importing (5 euro, a reasonable fee) and 19% tax on my 4800 yen items. Reasonable too.
And, 19% tax on my €89.40 shipping fee.

I go @_@ and try contacting DHL again. They do not reply or respond to e-mail.
Meanwhile, another worldmail package ships from Amazon and arrives overnight instead of in 4 weeks.
I tell Amazon about this. While they give me a standard mail about tax rules etc. I receive another letter from DHL claiming €94.40 shipping fee (I actually paid 1800 yen (100 yen = €0.68 ).

I write Amazon Japan again, explaining that indeed I agree to paying taxes and know about their rules, but that this is outrageous.

They investigated this and came with the following reply yesterday:

The tax occurred for order 2 which I was investigating
about was correct.  Customs policies vary widely from country to
country; you may want to contact your local customs office for
further information if the extra amount occurred to your orders
are still not understandable.

However, we have concluded that the tax for order 1
should not be paid by you this time.  Therefore our appropriate
department has managed not charging you the extra.

We sometimes ship out orders via International Express with our
regards and it does not cost you any extra shipping fee.  However
please note that it is unfortunately not predictable when
happens.  However please note that there is a chance that you
would have to pay for the custom fee for items shipped via
International economy shipping as well although it has not
happened to you in the past, because you are importing products.

Your understanding would be much appreciated and thanks again for
shopping at Amazon.co.jp.

Ehmmm right… So I get to pay extra because:
* They chose to ship me overnight as a “courtesy”
* They can’t say when and if they will do so again (quite likely, there was another shipment delivered in 2 days time a few days ago).
* Because THEY send me stuff in a way I have not requested, I can pay up to 100% more of the value of the things I order because for some reason, Amazon chooses to send me mail by courier while I pay for land mail…

So, I have now cancelled all my orders (40.000 yen worth) and await further replies from them.
Hopefully, one day I can make use of Amazon again. For now… well.. I just had to cancel everything, thanks to DHL with it’s ridiculous fees.

Oh, FYI,

I have send Amazon a reply to their mail though…

Dear Sir,

I understand you need time to check these issues, I thought the reply
was speedy, like I am used from Amazon customer services.

Regarding the tax for order 2, how should I proceed with DHL?
I received their bill, which I have not yet paid. Should I discard this
bill or inform DHL? DHL does not respond to, or awknowledge my e-mail
transmissions to them.

Regarding order 1, I am rather disappointed with your result
about this shipment. Just because you upgrade my shipping options, as a
courtesy over which I have no control, I get to pay 2350 yen extra over
the normal import and shipping taxes.

I do not feel like paying 2300~5000 yen extra per order because, as an
extra service, you send me items in a fashion I have not requested (And
I do mean extra above the normal 19% sales, shipping and import tax).

This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the way taxes are set
up in my country. It has everything to do with the fact that DHL
calculates taxes over a fee of 12.000+ yen shipping instead of 1.800
that I actually paid.

I do not consider this “service” you offer a courtesy, I consider it
unjust, harmfull and inconsiderate.

As you are not able to asure me this will not happen again, and recent
delivery by DHL seems to continue to be overnight express mail instead
of the requested 4 week mail, I have no other option left then to cancel
most of my remaining orders that are not first press versions and order
elsewhere.

I am still hoping on a different reply from Amazon.
I order about 200.000 – 400.000 yen worth from amazon Japan each year.
I guess quite some people order from Amazon Japan and I think this will cost them quite some customers.

I did try my verry best to contact and deal with DHL. However, they refuse to reply.
Unfortunately.

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Hello and welcome to this totally useless Blog.

My name is Niels Viveen and here you might be able to find some of my ravings ideas and hopefully a travel blog.
This weekend I am going to Enschede to visit the Abunai convention.
We hope to get some more folks there to join our holiday in March.
Or people that want to visit Anime 2007, one of the evens organised by Stichting J-Pop.

Time to go back to work and do something usefull for a change.
Tonight, I am starting the update on the new schedule for our March trip.
We only have 6 subscribers now, so Australia will probably be cancelled.
I will be working on a Japan only schedule tonight.

You know, I have to write this somewhere because it really pisses me off.
We from Shiranai spend hours and hours on creating a cool holiday and a comprehensive guide for the holiday.
The last trip we did had 20 people tagging along with 2 guides, me included.

During the holiday they were all going, wow, nice of you guys to do this and even without a profit!
All the people on this holiday were mostly positive about the entire trip.

However, NONE of them can take 5 minutes off, now that they are back in their homes, to write a tiny bit of a review for our site. Guess what that does to your overall enjoyment of organising holidays like this with the weeks of preparation that it takes to create the guidebook and schedule and reserve and book the trip?

Well, I’d better not get in to that now. I’d like this blog to remain an all ages one.

The holiday in March might well be the last I will be planning, if the response after comming home remains this low.