And now it's time for the story of our stress and relief. Let me start off by saying that we are not travelers. As such, we have no idea how to go about this whole "traveling" business. Not only that, but it's scary. And when things are scary and require figuring out, we like to hide from them. That's why it took us forever to reserve a hotel for our stay in Japan.
At the beginning of our travel planning, we talked to baranoneko, who very kindly recommended two nice and very inexpensive places to stay. We bookmarked the websites, but decided we wanted to hear back from our contact in Japan (Dad's cousin) before we made any final plans. Of course, before we heard back from him, we had to respond to his last e-mail. This was a bit of a problem, because, first of all, we're scared of everything, including e-mailing people we've only met a couple of times, regardless of how nice they are. And second, he asked us what we wanted our spending limit to be. Well we had no idea because we didn't know how much we'd owe in taxes. So even though we started writing an e-mail two weeks ago, we didn't send it until about a week ago, because we were waiting until Mom calculated our taxes.
We finally e-mailed him a week ago, as I said, but we kept not hearing back. Suddenly we only have two weeks until we leave, and we haven't reserved a hotel because we were waiting to hear back from him, even though we knew it would be better to go ahead and reserve a hotel anyway. Part of the reason we didn't reserve a hotel is that we didn't want to call anyone if we didn't have to (domestic phone calls scare us enough), and the other part is that we weren't sure if he would say we should do something else (we told him which places we were looking at). And of course the third part is that we were still hiding from travel plans. So we finally realized we had to suck it up and make reservations somewhere.
So we checked the first place baranoneko recommended. Their website was very friendly and non-intimidating, so that's where we were leaning towards going. But (dun dun DUN!) they were all booked for one of the nights we would be there. Cue the panicking. We checked the other site, but it was confusing and listed so many different locations and the English site kept shutting down Firefox and travel plans are scary enough without having to figure out a foreign language (even if it's one that you're theoretically familiar with or even good at), so the panicking got worse. That was when Dad called.
I didn't talk to anyone about our hotel concerns because I figured they'd act the same way Dad did--"You'd better get on that!" Yes I know I'd better get on that, that's why I'm freaking out!!! Still, he was encouraging and offered some suggestions, most of which involved more calling people that we don't know. I didn't use any of his suggestions, but the call did strengthen my resolve to go with our backup plan.
Back when the universe was telling us to go to Japan, I got a phone call from Wells Fargo. The details are pretty fuzzy, but what it boiled down to was that they wanted to make me a preferred customer, and they'd give me a number to call to reach my personal assistant, who would help with anything from remembering birthdays to making travel plans. I wasn't sure if it was another hint from the universe or just something that might come in handy later, but they said I could try it with no obligations or whatever it is they say, so I figured why the heck not.
And that is why we're not going to die. I called the number and the lady at the other end found out what I wanted and immediately connected me to their reservations department. The guy there found out that the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka was have a spring special. He listed some of its features, said the pictures were very pretty, and it wasn't out of our price range, so I went with it because I just wanted some hotel--any hotel--by that time. But while he was looking around the website, he would sometimes be like, "--Wow, this is really gorgeous," so that made me a little happy.
I was a little scared to check to make sure we had the confirmation e-mail for some reason. I'm pretty sure this can be traced back to our bad AX experience at the Long Beach Renaissance back in July. I don't know what their problem was, but I have a theory. It starts back in 2001, when we were waiting in line at the Long Beach Hyatt for the Anime Expo Meet the Guests Reception (in case you're confused, AX was held in Long Beach that year, as well as 2002, before moving back to Anaheim in 2003). A woman came up to us to ask us a question. I guess despite our freakish cosplay we seemed to be the least threatening? She asked how long all these people in crazy costumes were going to be there (Athena points our she used a little more tact, but only a little), because she was planning to get married that weekend, and she didn't want us all in the background messing up her pictures.
My theory is that she was somehow related to somebody very important in Long Beach, and that's why our reception seemed less than friendly when AX returned in 2007. Or, you know, there was some other reason. At any rate, I miss Anaheim, where not only did they not seem to despise us, but they seemed to love us crazy anime otaku (apparently miyavi is performing there sometime soon). I think Los Angeles will be friendlier too.
Aaaanyway, because of that, I was afraid that maybe the hotel people would be all mean like they were in Long Beach (not all of them, but I feel like most of them). Apparently these things affect me deeply. But then I was stalling for something else, so I checked the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka website, and they're a part of Yokoso! Japan, which is a campaign that wants everyone to visit Japan and see how great it is, which means they'll probably be really nice! And so now I feel aaaaall sorts of better.
And now everything is happier. All the stress about deadlines--gone. It's crazy. You take care of one thing, and suddenly everything else seems a lot more doable. The moral of the story--if there's one big thing stressing you out like crazy, take care of it, duh. Of course, the lessening of the work stress probably has a little to do with the one translation going a lot faster than planned, which was especially helpful because the book was also a lot longer than planned. But yes! Now instead of being like, "We're going to Japan and we have no hotel! We'll have to wander the streets and not get any sleep!" we're like, "Eeeee! Japan!! Tokyo Disneyland! Jungle Cruise in Japanese!!!!" It's a nice feeling.
Today I'm thankful for having hotel reservations for a very pretty hotel, the Wells Fargo preferred customer helpfulness, travel agencies, the helpful idea that people who are paid to help me over the phone won't be annoyed at having to help me, and Yokoso! Japan.