The planning for the trip started in Jan when we were informed by Delta Air that our free miles, accrued from an US trip in 2002 was expiring next July. Mike was very sure that the free miles from Northwest has no expiry date. Well, nothing is forever nowadays – not even the company.
Having already decided on China for our June vacation, the only open dates available for the whole family is in December.
It’ll be winter and freezing, I thought, the boys do not have any warm clothing.
The boys, on the other hand, were excited. They hoped to see snow and perhaps ski.
Mike planned the itinerary based on his photographic interest. Coincidentally, my brother and mother too had expiring miles from Delta(Northwest) and they quickly redeemed it just in time for the Sakura season in April. Thus, they were a great help in telling us where to go and what to do.
Rent a car? We would never have attempted that in Japan if not for the assurance from Min, my brother. ‘It’s easy,’ he said. ‘Just key in the phone number of the destination and you’ll be on your way. Anyway, it’s cheaper for a family to rent a car than to take the train.’
Winter clothes? My German brother-in-law came to the rescue. When he visited in July and August, he brought along his winter wears for Mike and the two older boys. My sister brought along hers for Aaron. I borrowed mine from my good friend Bee.
As the date drew nearer and it started snowing in Nagano in October, Mike decided to splurge on Timberland shoes for everyone. He had suffered cold feet before and prefer the kids to be warm.
With that, we were ready for our trip.