March 11 marked the one year anniversary of the horrible and destructive earthquake that led to a tsunami in Japan last year. Over 16,000 people lost their lives and over 3,000 are missing.
The disaster wrecked the Fukushima Power Plant where reactor meltdowns led to the the worst nuclear crisis since Chrenobyl. This caused 326,000 people to become homeless in the affected region. They may never be able to go back to their homes again. The Japaneses government have also created a 20 mile no-go zone around power plant.
Last year while figuring out where to go over spring vacation, my wife and I narrowed our choices down to Japan and Chile.
They both had really good flight availability for award bookings with our airline miles. We went back and forth with deciding on which country to choose. On March 10 we made our decision. We booked our tickets to Chile in late afternoon. I guess we chose the right place to go as the next morning I woke up to hear the news of the disaster in Japan.
While watching the news last week, I came across a really interesting segment about a joint project between UNICEF and Sony. The project is called EYE SEE UNICEF Digital Photography Project For Children. It took places in 3 towns within the affected area of the Japan earthquake & tsunami- Iwate, Miyagi & Fukushima.
The project includes 27 children from elementary to junior high school. Through workshops, the children learn about photography from an Italian professional photographer. The children learned to express their feelings through the pictures. “Through their photos, you can directly feel what they felt and thought of in their daily life. There are many things we can find out through children’s “EYE SEE””.
There will be a special exhibition at UNICEF House in NYC of the children’s photos until the end of May. UNICEF House is located at 44th Street between 1st & 2nd Avenue.
To find out more about the EYE SEE UNICEF photo project, click here
***Photos in this post are from the EYE SEE project.
I am sure many of us were hoping to be one of the 10,000 picked for a free trip to Japan. That deal did not go as planned and was not approved by the governmet. You can read about it in a post I wrote in December, here.
Here is another chance to win a trip to Japan. In this sweepstakes you get to read through six itineraries and pick your favorite to enter for a chance to win.
Spring 2012 will be a special season as it marks the centennial anniversary of Japan’s Gift of Trees to the U.S. To celebrate this anniversary, we’re giving you and a guest the chance to explore Japan inside and out. Read through all 6 itineraries, pick your favorite, and enter for your chance to win your dream vacation!
Here are the trip options:
- Heritage: Tea ceremonies, ancient shrines, majestic castles. Discover the ancient customs and traditions of Japanese culture
- Indulgence: Submerge yourself in a natural bubbling hot spring as you sip some of Japan’s finest, locally brewed sake. This is just the beginning of Japanese luxury.
- Gourmet: From the street food to the Michelin-rated, excite your palette with some of Japan’s finest culinary masterpieces.
- Adventure: A trip worthy for any thrillseeker. Japan challenges you to find better powder snow on the globe. Ski or snowboard your way to an adrenaline-filled getaway.
- Modern Art: The Japanese aesthetic influences some of the finest art and architecture. For the true tastemakers and cool-hunters, this trip is for you.
- Pop Culture/ Anime: You know exactly what it means to be an “otaku”. Gadgets, video games, anime and more await you on the colorful streets of Akihabara and beyond.
For me the choice was easy. I would love to do the Heritage trip. How can you go wrong visiting castles, shrines, temples and palaces- visiting five World Heritage Sites along the way. I really love site-seeing and exploring a country so this trip is perfect for me. My second choice would most likely be the Gourmet trip.
Here are some rules for the sweepstakes:
- The award trip must be booked by March 31, 2012 and completed by June 31, 2012
- The Japan Centennial Celebration Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 states of the US and DC.
- Entry closes on February 29, 2012
- Approximate retail value of trip is $5,000
For a chance to win a trip to Japan, Click Here
Star Alliance added some great pictures of the ANA Dreamliner from Saturday January 21 2012 as it saw the first passenger long haul flight from Tokyo to Frankfurt. Some photos are from a ceremony held at Frankfurt Airport celebrating the Dreamliner’s first departure back to Japan.
Here are a few of the photos:
|I’d love one of these models
To check out the full album, click here
***All photos in this post are from the Star Alliance Facebook Album***
I post this with great disappointment… When it was announced that Japan would try to help the economy and jump start it’s tourism industry by possibly offering 10,000 free flights to foreigners, I got pretty excited. I started thinking where I would want to go and what itinerary I would propose on my application…
I read a short while ago that this program was not approved as part of the government draft budget of 2012.
I haven’t made it out of the airport in Japan but do plan to visit someday. A free flight would’ve been great motivation to go!
While looking into trip ideas for spring break this past year, we had narrowed our options to Japan and Chile. Both were available for really great deals using miles. After going back and forth with our options, my wife and I decided to go with Chile. We booked our flights to Chile on March 10 and I woke up to news of the devastating earthquake that had just hit Japan. It looked like our choice would’ve been made for us by mother nature had we not decided the day before!
Here is the press release from the Japan Tourism Agency:
”Fly to Japan! Project”(10,000 FREE FLIGHTS TO FOREIGNERS)
The project titled Fly to Japan! (to offer flight tickets to 10,000 foreigners with high potential to communicate Japan’s attractions), which had been covered in a number of media in autumn this year, was not approved as a governmental draft budget of FY 2012.
We express our hearty gratitude to a multitude of people for offering inquiries and messages to support Japan after its coverage.
As the recovery from the earthquake is an ongoing urgent task, Japan has been vigorously working towards its restoration with the support from the world. Almost all of Japan has been back to normal and ready to welcome visitors. We are sincerely looking forward to having you to see Japan with your own eyes.
Japan Tourism Agency and Japan National Tourism Organization would like to inform you of the events and promotions in 2012. If you are interested, please register as a Visit Japan fan from the site below:
I do wonder if the Fly To Japan program was just a publicity stunt to get people interested and talking about Japan again. Then again, I am sure the money that would’ve been used to fund this program will go to use in rebuilding and helping the people of Japan.