#LifeWellTravelled :: Delayed suitcases

Today is the 27th August, and it’s been over 58 hours since I last saw my suitcase that I checked into Cathay Pacific in Sydney Australia. Late at night, on the 25th in Nagoya airport, there were announcements to two small groups of people in Japanese language, about why the checked-in luggage was delayed. There were no announcements in English or Chinese, so non-Japanese speaking people had no idea what the problem was. It was when I specifically asked a Cathay staff member what’s happening, did I learn that they weren’t able to open the cargo doors due to the strong winds. I had two choices:
1. Leave now and catch the last train, and have my suitcase delivered the next day (26th Aug)
2. Stay and maybe in an hour or so the typhoon winds will have dropped enough for them to open the cargo doors safely, and spend the night in the airport (maybe with clean underwear)

I chose option 1. It wasn’t until 3am when I was able to get into bed, because the last train from the airport was so delayed, that I missed other last trains back to my place… AND my house key was accidentally not taken out of my suitcase before I checked it in. I was so, so lucky that a friend answered his phone and let me crash at his place. I got my spare to and got into my apartment on the 26th. I assumed sometime yesterday my suitcase would arrive, but so far no, and so far, no word or attempt to contact from Cathay has been made. I have tried to phone them, but a lot of their phone numbers didn’t get me anywhere. The only phone number listed on their website that worked was the for the baggage handlers in Fukuoka, and their Hong Kong and Nagoya airport answering machines (messages were left, but still no response). All other phone numbers, including their international toll free number did not work.

Whilst I’m able to sit at home, with my spare key next to me on my desk, I feel sorry for two Hong Kong guys. They had five days planned in Japan, and spoke zero Japanese. I helped them at the airport station when the staff their only spoke to them in Japanese. They had planned to go to Takayama (3.5 hour train ride from Nagoya) today. I have no idea how they’ll meet up with their suitcases. I also wonder how ruined their trip was. A #LifeWellTravelled ? I hope they were able to make the best of the situation anyway.

I honestly believed that Cathay was so, so much better than this. Now, all those travel blogs about Americans losing their luggage and only taking carry-on luggage makes sense. I just thought it was an American problem. Anyway, I got the spare key to my apartment, and now I’m writing this whilst sitting in clean underwear, unshaven, and unbrushed hair. I can’t go out again today, in case my suitcase does arrive… maybe.

If you want to reply to this story on social media, here it is on Google+, and Twitter at @JapanesePhotos.

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Stuck In Customs for real at Nagoya Airport?

Cathay Pacific in Nagoya made no announcements in English or Chinese, only in Japanese. Due to the strong winds, they could not open the cargo bay doors, and so the Japanese only language announcement said that they can deliver your suitcases tomorrow. Go to a counter at the end of the carousels to fill in a Customs Declaration and delivery form. Also, due to the strong winds, the airport train is not operating, instead, get your ticket and ask for the bus to Tokoname station (just across from the airport island), and change to the train to Nagoya there. The last train for the evening is at 11.30pm (in 20mins time). Hurry, or you’ll be stuck.   

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Website maintenance: PhotoShelter

If you can see this picture below it means all is well. Otherwise, PhotoShelter plans to perform some website maintenance on the 8th of August, for 3 hours from 11pm to 2am (9th Aug) US Eastern Daylight time (-4.00GMT). PhotoShelter hosts one of my portfolios, so in that time my other portfolios like Westheim Photo and Alamy will still be accessible.

1. Image hosted on PhotoShelter

2. Image hosted on this blog (you should always see this one)

Website maintenance

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Summer Coupon

It’s the time of year when Japanese communities get into party mode and have their festivals. There’s lots of summer festivals happening, from fireworks, to whole city events like the Nara Lantern Festival, cosplay, domatsuri, and the traditional shinto types. So, celebrate summer with a discount.

  • Coupon code: SUMMER2015
  • Discount: 15% off
  • Minimum purchase: USD$30
  • Expires: 12th September 2015 (New York EDT, -4hrsGMT)
  • Site: Only at my PhotoShelter portfolio.

Nagoya Domatsuri, held annually in September.

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Summer festivals

It’s that time of year when many towns are starting to have their festivals. It’s a time when the heat forces people to become nocturnal, don their light weight happi or yukata, and relax and enjoy life in their communities. See here for summer festival photos like this one below. Japanese festivals often involve a parade of portable shrines, food stalls, cold drinks, and hanging out with family, friends, and neighbours. Learn more about festivals like the Kuwana Ishidori, Nagoya Dance Festival, Nara Lantern festival, the Osaka Tenjin Festival.

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Buy this photo. Nagoya Dance Festival Gallery.

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Gnarbox: Backup and share photos in the field

I’ve never supported a Kickstarter project before. I’ve known about Kickstarter for a few years, and had been tempted by a few projects, but this one hooked me instantly. I have been dreaming of creating a device just like this, but just for storage on the go.

Gnarbox lets you store and back up your memory cards in the field, and a smartphone app lets you edit, process, and then share them right away. It’s simply perfect for travel and adventure photographers and videographers. See Gnarbox on Kickstarter for more details, and for making your own pledge.

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#Tokoname #Ironman 2015

The Tokoname 70.3 Ironman comp is on tomorrow (Sunday). I love shooting this event. It’s so great to see so many people put in so much effort in this gruelling race. The real winners are not just the ones who get a podium, but those who try, and those who make it to the finish line. I’ve got all my lenses cleaned, and batteries charged, I hope the competitors do, too. Good luck to everyone tomorrow.

South Africa’s Rene Kalmer (in red) led the field for the first half of the race. Japan’s Yoshimi Ozaki (number 13) came second in the Nagoya Women’s Marathon, 11th March 2012.

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