This month is bonus month for me, which means this month is bill-paying month. Actually, every month is bill-paying month so nothing’s unusual there. What’s special about this month is that it’s the month in which I book the flights for our year-end holiday in Japan!

The kids have been patiently waiting for this since last year. Being otakus, they can’t wait to explore all the manga, anime, and toy shops in Akihabara, Tokyo, and Den Den Town, Osaka. They’d like to visit those pet cafes with wildlife, but I’m not in favour of it as it’s unethical. Then there’s USS Japan, and maybe Disneyland (they’ve outgrown Disney). And food, glorious Japanese food! We’ll be based for a week each in Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto, flying into Osaka and out from Tokyo.

After some research and using the Japan Rail Pass Calculator to see if all our planned travel would make the JR Pass worthwhile, I realised that it’s cheaper for us to take a domestic flight between Osaka and Tokyo, than to take the shinkansen. We’ll do that another time – maybe when the kids are old enough to backpack. Lugging suitcases on the trains isn’t exactly fun.

We’ll be travelling with my mother-in-law, and the airfare for all five of us was very reasonable for SIN-NRT-ITM-HND-NRT-SIN. There’s a 2.5 hour transit in Narita on the inbound leg, but with one senior and two youths, I’m pretty sure the transit time will pass comfortably.

I’ve also secured all our accommodation for the trip, using my favourite and AirBNB. Since I always make it a point to save as much as I can on accommodation without having to sleep in a dump, I’ve been keeping an eye on room rates. They have come down a lot over the last few months – I managed to book a very nice apartment in Asakusa, Tokyo for half the price of two adjoining hotel rooms in a hotel near the Hanzomon area. All the accommodation I’ve booked are traditional Japanese-style rooms with tatami. I figure it’ll be a good experience for the girls.

More to come on our preparations for the trip as we draw closer to our departure date. In the meantime, I have another trip to prepare for – London in August!