Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Typhoon Travelling

One of the problems with Japan is typhoons. It's unfortunate, then, that the halfway point in my stay, the expiration date of my visa waiver, and my half-term holiday coincide with peak typhoon season, because all three of those are reasons why I want or need to be travelling.

Although nothing was said about it at the time, I suspect the problems with my flight to Okinawa were not unrelated to typhoons, either directly or indirectly. Certainly some other attendees were delayed by the typhoon.

Today I'm due to fly to Korea in order to re-enter Japan and get a new 90-day permission to stay. It's a bit of a farce to be honest, wasting a lot of time, money and effort both for the visitor and for the Japanese authorities. I'm not sure why, if you're allowed to renew once and once only, they don't just track that separately and not bother making you nominally leave the country for a few hours at great expense. However, I assume this is something lots of countries do and there's some kind of reasoning behind it.

Shortly after the agency had booked my tickets, my friend Sean in Korea piped up that maybe we could meet up. We worked out it was just about possible - unfortunately my flight was arranged to Busan, the closest city to Japan, rather than anywhere near Sean. But assuming a seamless journey between the plane flight, shuttle bus, high-speed train and local bus in both directions, it would be possible to meet up for a few hours after work and catch up on things, as well as get a very brief introduction to Korea. From one point of view, this would involve spending 19 hours travelling to spend 3 hours with Sean, but the majority of that is the obligatory section of getting from my apartment into Fukuoka, then out to the airport, over to the international terminal, to Korea, and from Busan Airport into the city.

Anyway, on arrival on the airport I was immediately told that my flight would be either delayed or cancelled due to a typhoon, so either way the meeting is off this time. While I by no means want to get the trip cancelled (both because I need a visa, and because I'm already at the wretched airport and have already had one wasted trip here), on the plus side, if it does get cancelled I may be able to arrange a better scheme to see Sean.

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