Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back from the US

So, I'm back from vacation.

I haven't been in much of a blogging/video-making mood lately, because there's been so much stuff going on.

I arrived in the US two weeks ago and spent a day or two finishing up my cosplay for Otakon. It was received pretty well, despite my character not being recognized by most people. Oh well, they're missing out on the greatness that is Dynasty Warriors.

After Otakon wrapped up, I celebrated my dad's birthday and got to see some family. The rest of the week consisted of shopping and seeing friends.

I realized a few things about traveling that I should keep in mind the next time I visit:

1. Leave on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and depart for Japan on a Tuesday or Wednesday. That was my original plan, but because my dad had already decided his 2-week vacation period, in order to avoid the conflict of finding a way to the airport I had to depart for Japan on a Monday, which was his last day off, I think. That made packing more difficult, because while I wanted to take Sunday to do so, that was the day that several friends wanted to come and see me. Had I left on Tuesday instead, I could have taken Monday to pack. I ended up leaving a few things behind that I had meant to take with me, just because I had stayed up late to finish packing that night after my friends left. Fortunately none of the items are things that I absolutely need, and my parents will send it to me whenever.

2. Two weeks is really short, regardless of having concrete plans or not. I have no idea why, but even though I stated pretty clearly on Facebook and to people who asked that I'd be in the US from July 25th to August 8th, some of them still had this idea that I was staying longer than that. As much as I'd like to stay longer, I just don't want to use up too many vacation days at one time.

3. I should save up and book even earlier next time. This time I had booked my flight with Orbitz a little under 2 months in advance, but when I proceeded to choose my seats, a lot of them were already filled up.

4. I don't have to check my bass guitar. When I was coming back from Japan after study abroad in 2009, I had two suitcases and I had bought a semi-hard guitar case for the 5-string bass guitar that I bought a few months before that. Because the guitar case was so large, I had to check it and pay a $100 fee, which wasn't really a problem for me.

Since that time, they had changed a few regulations for baggage, and I would've had to pay $200 if I had checked my bass as a third piece of luggage. Not only that, I might have had to pay even more because that semi-hard case is larger than than the size limit for checked baggage.

So this time, I decided to trust the airlines and put my bass in a soft case (as long as they put the fragile tag on it, which was done the last time). Fortunately, the woman at the check-in counter brought it to my attention that I could bring my bass on board as a personal item. She probably wouldn't have said that if she had seen the backpack I was also wearing (I had a backpack, the guitar, and my purse, but you're only allowed a carry-on bag and one additional personal item). So I ended up putting all of my stuff from my purse into my backpack, and then stuffed the purse into my guitar case. There we go--two carry-on items! The bass was able to fit in the overhead bins on the first flight to Chicago, and then when I changed planes I was able to store my guitar in a long, narrow cabin that was located conveniently next to my seat and near the bathroom.

So that's what's been up. I don't know when I'll make another video; I've been really exhausted lately.