Cancel trip to Japan?

Mar 14th, 2011, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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lol, rizzuto.
The US State Dept. issued its first warning the day of the earthquake even before the nuclear plant issue occurred....and my trip ins. co. doesn't think it's a disaster unless my actual hotel is uninhabitable - isn't that cute....
Mara is online now  
Mar 14th, 2011, 10:37 AM
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I usually read the UK rather than the US travel warnings, they're much less alarmist. The Canadian and Australian ones are worth checking, too.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 14th, 2011, 11:38 AM
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The US State Department aren't exactly intrepid when it comes to travel. They have a very narrow 'comfort zone'!
The UK advice tends to be relaxed and vague along the lines of 'keep calm and carry on' but I've been watching the BBC live news all weekend anyway.

I'd be surprised if Japan can bounce back from a disaster of this scale within months let alone weeks.

Thanks for your updates KimJapan. It must be very hard to be so close to this disaster (emotionally as well as physically).

We are now thinking about canceling our trip in April but will wait a week or so before making the final decision.

Thinking of everyone affected by the earthquake and tsunami and hoping that the seismic activity winds down asap.
sassy_cat is offline  
Mar 14th, 2011, 05:28 PM
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I appreciate the updates by KJ and others. Terrible situation, beyond comprehension really. Japan is in my thoughts constantly.

We have been planning a 5-week May/June trip for several months. Two weeks ago we finalized all our plans and reservations in Tokyo, northern Honshu, and Hokkaido starting May 11 and bought a 2-week JR Pass. Five of those nights we had scheduled for stays in what is now the red area on's "earthquake/tsunami effects" map.

We're pretty patient (love that British "keep calm and carry on" attitude) and usually take a wait-and-see approach. We flew to Europe during the Iceland volcano mess last summer and made out fine, with just a few adjustments. We're also very confident that Japan will be able to recover and rebuild, and we want to support people in their efforts. One way to do that will be to continue to travel to Japan. But given the unfolding situation and the difficulties people are facing in northern Honshu, we regretfully decided tonight to cancel the northern Honshu part of our trip (Morioka, Nyuto Onsen, Kakunodate, Hirosaki) and reroute to Kyoto instead, with perhaps a Miyajima overnight thrown in (been both places but wouldn't mind returning). Then we'll fly from KIX (or Hiroshima if we go to Miyajima) directly to Sapporo for our final two weeks in Hokkaido. I'm starting to work on the reservations now. We can still use the 2-week JR Pass for the time between leaving Tokyo and flying to Hokkaido. Hopefully in the two-month interval between now and then things will get sorted out a bit. The nuclear situation is worrisome.

Good luck and best wishes to everyone in Japan.
aprillilacs is offline  
Mar 14th, 2011, 05:34 PM
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Just a quick update from us: after much thought and back and forth, we've decided to forgo our trip to Japan in early April to a later date (possibly next year?) I don't think any of us felt "right" (nuclear and other immediate dangers notwithstanding) about going to a place that's been so devastated from its core out.

Japan has been through hell and I'm sure the Japanese have so much to sort out and make sense of on their own right now. I can't imagine burdening them with the whole 'put on a happy face and let's do a tour' thing. All-in-all, it just felt wrong at the end of the day to try and make this happen--that it was more for us than anything else...and that just wasn't sitting right with any of us.

The silver lining (if there can be one in such a time of terrible tragedy) is that we're going to piggy-back on the in-laws planned pre-Japan trip in China and blow that out to a full 2 1/2 week vacation for all 4 of us. Thank God we have a good agent at this point doing all the legwork--I couldn't even imagine trying to re-jigger this whole trip in just over 2 weeks.

So lots of work ahead, planning/canceling/researching. I'm excited that we're able to preserve our vacation (wherever it may be) but so sad that such a horrific thing has devastated so many people and it leaves all of us feeling small and helpless.
filmwill is offline  
Mar 14th, 2011, 06:07 PM
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KimJapan, how is Teaghan?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 14th, 2011, 06:55 PM
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FW, the way things are unfolding this morning, I'd say you've made the right decision. It is not getting better, but seemingly worse. My friend's sister in Chiba reports no gasoline, transport systems running on 30 - 50% schedules, stores sold out of water and batteries among other things.

MrW, Teaghan is great. She's going to be starting second year of junior high in April. Right now, they've been studying earthquakes and very timely. She is far less worried than we are at this point. It's a benefit of being a kid I guess.

Today, the feeling here in Kanazawa continues to be down. People, while going to school and work still, are not chipper at all. TV is still dedicated to disaster coverage.
KimJapan is offline  
Mar 14th, 2011, 07:08 PM
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otoh, of course I am saying this from NYC - but since most of my trip is in Kyushu - maybe people there would be more likely not to be as I am going to a resort area - Yufuin - tourism I would think is a big part of their business - so if a lot of folks cancel things will be worse for them...just a thought.
I sort of remember after 9/11 we were encouraged by the then mayor to go out and spend money to help the local merchants...
Mara is online now  
Mar 14th, 2011, 07:34 PM
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Today I found out, according to the travel agent who sold us our Singapore Vacations package to Tokyo, that we can cancel and get a refund without penalty. While I am shocked that this is possible, it is a big relief should we need to cancel.

We have about 10 days to wait and see if things change before we have to decide.
Kristina is offline  
Mar 14th, 2011, 07:52 PM
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Kristina - you're going around Easter, right? Mid April? I would wait if I were you....that's a whole month away - things could get a lot better or worse - no one knows at this point. Plus as far as getting a refund, that should go without saying but unfortunately it doesn't - I remember you had some issues when you made the reservations so I guess it worked out... ;-)
Mara is online now  
Mar 15th, 2011, 12:17 AM
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I am so sorry your Japan trip won't happen, Billy. I figured you were going to fall in love with Japan, and looked forward to your report.

Don't blame you though...the reactor problems are becoming more and more troubling. Besides the (big) radiation issue, I'm wondering what will happen when all the people stuck in shelters relocate and actually want to start cooking, doing laundry, etc.

So, good call, and I'm glad you are able to slide over to China so easily.

Kristina, lucky you still have a bit of time to decide. Could you transfer the trip to Singapore or China if you end up taking a pass on Japan? Or will you just take the refund and go another time?
lcuy is offline  
Mar 15th, 2011, 03:28 AM
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Also as a New Yorker who went through 9/11....I don't think tourists would resent you at all coming to Japan. (what I remember feeling resentful was ghoulish types coming to gawk!). But the situation is just escalating this morning and IT SEEMS scientists are concerned about widespread clouds of radioactive material. I am going to see what kind of refund we can get from our airline. I will wait a couple more days to cancel but can't risk exposing my kids to high doses of radioactivity. We feel terrible cancelling as my mother in law is 84 and it is not easy for us to always have the funds to get all four of us over there and pay for a nice vacation for her.
emmagus is offline  
Mar 15th, 2011, 04:53 AM
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Yes, we were planning to go mid-april, but I would like to decide in the next week or so. I'm still having a hard time believing that we can just cancel for a refund with no penalty, but that's what the travel agent said in an email. True to form though, getting the specifics from him was like pulling teeth.

Lcuy, if we cancel, we probably won't go anywhere until summer, and then it's unlikely it will be to Japan unless we can find a similar good deal.

The news is certainly unnerving, but it's really hard to tell what is the truth. What is the government downplaying and on the other side, what's overblown media hysteria?
Kristina is offline  
Mar 15th, 2011, 06:51 AM
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I too have been following this thread as our family has flights departing on March 25th, and all of our friends in Japan are advising us not to come. In fact, most expats with children in Tokyo have now left for an extended Spring break, albeit reluctantly and with heavy hearts.

Our problem is that despite the US travel advisory, so far United/Continental is only offering waivers through March 18. I have called the 1K line twice already and they thought it would have been extended by now, but it has not-any advice? At this point, we would lose 1000 dollars if we change or cancel our 4 tickets.

Thanks for any help...
dlai is offline  
Mar 15th, 2011, 08:26 AM
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Hi Everyone, Thanks for sharing your plans (and changes of plans). Here's our latest update on air travel to Japan, featuring some of your personal experiences:
Cate_W is offline  
Mar 15th, 2011, 09:00 AM
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I am relieved to hear that about T, KimJapan. Gambatte,
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 15th, 2011, 09:56 AM
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CO has just extended the waiver to cover till March 31. UA hasn't yet.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 15th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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So American will give us a one year voucher. I always worry with vouchers that somehow we won't be able to use them (which seems to happen). And frankly, if there is a nuclear meltdown, I don't want to go to Japan for a while with the kids. Which makes this decision to cancel so difficult because my 84 year old mother in law refuses to fly.

So if we I can't think straight. Where would be a good vacation with two 7 year olds in April? Italy? We never take vacations anymore. Which thread should I go to?
emmagus is offline  
Mar 15th, 2011, 03:12 PM
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Well, it's 8:00 am March 16. Overnight a 6.2 quake in Shizuoka was felt here in Kanazawa. Many other smaller quakes are occurring all over, more than usual, which is unsettling. They are now saying that Friday's events are not the long predicted "big one" and that is still coming, maybe soon. Who knows.

This morning a second fire broke out at reactor number 4 of Fukushina Daiichi, but now there are only 50 workers left on site. The other 750 were evacuated already. All six reactors there are in some state of trouble.

The whole Tokyo area is starting to panic it seems. Store shelves are empty. Actually, here too, yesterday we had to go to four stores to find bread. Other items were not sold out. Today, I'm going to buy a stock of rice and flour.

Trying to keep perspective is challenging. A Japanese friend living in Kanazawa called me last night to ask what English news was reporting about radiation because she's not trusting what she's hearing. She's thinking about taking her kids to another country. She's usually very level-headed so I am surprised, and worried that perhaps I'm missing something. I don't know.
KimJapan is offline  
Mar 15th, 2011, 03:58 PM
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KimJapan - can you watch the Rachel Maddow show on your computer in Japan? (Try ) I'm watching it in France (my hotel TV only has French-language channels) and she has been doing some very good information pieces on how the reactors worked, how they've probably failed, and the effects of radiation. I don't know what I would do if I were living in Japan right now.
thursdaysd is offline  

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