So, a bit of an update to my Japanese adventure in October 2017.

The Japanese Top League draw was announced just two weeks ago, and I somehow think they must of thought of me in mind when doing the draw….

Panasonic Wild Knights vs Kobelco Steelers
Osaka Expo ’70 Stadium, Osaka
Saturday 14 October 2017

So, if you have missed the importance of this particular game, I know two players who play for those respective sides, Berrick Barnes and Andy Ellis.

Berrick I have known for about 13 years and have supported him for many years as a fan and a friend.

Berrick and I in 2004


Berrick and I in 2017 catching up after 3 years!

I made a short vlog about our connection and meeting again after almost 4 years of him living in Japan playing for Panasonic.

Andy, I have known since 2014 when he waited on my table at the Lady Crusader Lunch that I attended in Christchurch, and afterwards, he always used to come over and say hello post game and I used to give him a block of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate as well (Memo to self, pack chocolate for Andy)

Andy Ellis and I in 2014

It is still a humbling feeling to know these players well especially with both representing their country in Rugby at the highest level, and Andy also being part of the 2011 All Blacks side that won the Rugby World Cup.

Since this announcement, I was so happy, because I expecting to embark on a wild goose chase around Japan to see them both play for their respective teams. It’s worked out well in that I can now plan my holiday around that particular game.

My plans now are to stay in Tokyo from 3-10 October then head to Hiroshima from 10-12 October. I then will base myself in Kyoto from 12-16 October before heading back to Tokyo as I return on 19 October.

I can then visit the Kansai area in the days that I am there, I know that 4 days is probably not enough time to visit everything, but I am planning on 2 days in Kyoto and 2 days in Osaka and maybe 1 day in Kobe when I arrive in Kyoto on the 12th as I do have a late check in at Kyoto, As I have a late check in in Tokyo on the 16th, I will spend an extra day in Kyoto.

I will be getting a 7 Day JR Rail Pass so I can transport around Japan on the Shinkansen, the infamous Bullet Train. This pass means have unlimited travel on the Shinkansen, so I can commute between Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe as many times as I like.

The other great thing is that my long-suffering partner, Lana is coming to Japan! I think somehow this is going to be a wild 2 weeks away.

She decided a few weeks back after she learnt she is required to take leave in late October from work due her annual leave being more than what she can bank. She didn’t want to go back to Israel due to family criticisms that occurred last visit (she’s 37 and unmarried) so she agreed to come to Japan and have a holiday.

Weirdly enough – we have never gone on holiday together.

Due to work, medical or family reasons, we haven’t been able to go on holiday together in the 7 years we’ve been together, she met me in London in 2015, but she had to swindle something with her work to work in their London offices so she could go to the Rugby World Cup, and the time I went to the US in 2014, she was in New York for a wedding and a bris (a Jewish circumcision ceremony) so we haven’t actually spent time together in another country.

As she lives in Christchurch, she is flying over in the morning of our flight to Brisbane, then we connect in Brisbane before heading to Tokyo. Qantas has linked our bookings together so we can try to sit together to and from Tokyo, but they said it’s not guaranteed, which we both said it is okay.

I’m hoping it won’t be a full flight either way, so we can sit elsewhere.

The other great thing is that I have negotiated with 9h Nine Hours capsule hotels to do a Review Time vlog and blog when I stay at their Kyoto and Shinjuku North hostels.

I am currently working with the other accommodation places we are staying at to do a Review Time vlog and blog with them, as we are staying in capsule hotels the entire trip and for those wishing to visit Japan on a budget, I do want to show that it is do-able as there is a stigma that Japan is expensive.

So anyway, I will update you more once more developments happen, which should be the JR Passes, Skyliner Tickets and spending up on camera equipment to utilise the Tax Refund System in Australia.


33 thoughts on “JAPAN UPDATE

      1. That’s what happens when I comment before my coffee. 🙂 That is still awesome you have been able to see him grow as a player. Too cool!


  1. You have to love it when a plan comes together! So great that you can see them both, and that your partner can join you. Sounds like it’s going to be an epic trip.


  2. I think it’s so neat that you know two rugby players and even more awesome is you get to go to Japan and see them play! Such a great experience.


  3. Sounds like it’s going to be a fun trip and awesome that your friends are rugby players! I don’t know that much about rugby, but it sounds like a fun sport to watch!


  4. You are going to have so much fun! I am from Japan and am always excited to hear when people are going to visit my home country. Good call on the JR Passes especially if you are going to ride the shinkansens 🙂


  5. I’m so excited for you! I hear nothing but great things about Japan! Also, it must have felt so good to reunite with someone you’ve known for all these years 🙂 TravelPockets has some amazing posts about places that they’ve been to in Japan, are you also going to vlog about it? x


  6. How cool that your childhood friend is now a well known rugby player. It must be really nice to connect and rekindle memories. Hope you enjoy your trip to Japan.

    xo Sheree


  7. Hey this was a very fun post to read and video to watch. I always get kind of nervous after not seeing some one for a really long time! Did you get that way at all? I have also actually never watched a Rugby game! Glad you were able to go to Japan and visit your friend!


  8. Exciting times; rugby, catching up with friends and exploring Kyoto! Kyoto is absolutely amazing, you are going to love it! Try to do a day trip to either Nara or Arashiyama…or both. 🙂 Totally worth it!


  9. What a cool friend Berrick Barnes is to have and you have the photos of you guys together years ago and today! I’m sure you’ll have a blast in Japan, I’ve heard the rail pass is a great way to save money whilst exploring the country.


  10. It was really nice that you were able to catch up with your friend. I have not met my other friends when I worked overseas but there are lots of social media apps. I will be looking forward to your Japan adventures.


  11. So amazing when our plans conspire to align during travels! I also love that you’re travelling in pursuit of friends and sport as well … I’m sure this adventure will be so amazing 🙂


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