Thursday, February 23, 2006


My girlfriend and I are planning another quick vacation. She and I both have a lot of vacation days this year, but she often has problems taking more than a day or two off at a time. This is pretty common in Japanese offices - most Japanese will take at most one week of vacation at a time. The American two-week vacation is very rare here outside of foreign companies. Someone who took two weeks off in a row would be looked on with some mixture of awe, envy, suspicion, and distrust.

We were thinking of some of the resort areas in Thailand, which seem to have bounced back nicely from the tsunami. But lacking time and funds, we decided to give Saipan a try instead. It's a nice beach resort island, a couple hours by plane from Tokyo, and probably overrun with Japanese tourists looking for a closer beach than Thailand or Hawaii. The photos look nice, though, and I'll be happy just to lie out in the sun on the sand for 4 days and do a bit of snorkeling.

Oh, and did I mention Tinian?

One of the other nearby islands, Tinian, has a large casino resort hotel. It's the closest spot to Japan for legal casino-style gaming, and the name seems well known among the players at the Ueno room. I think they have a poker room but I am not sure.

Of course I am going to go check it out! I mean, the sun goes down and I can't lie out on the beach anymore, can I?

Apparently there are flights from Saipan to Tinian, and also a ferry that takes about 50 minutes. I'm not sure which is the better way to go - it will depend on the schedules for both. Looking on the web, the ferry schedules were cut back to 1 or 2 per day for a while, but may have been increased again. I'm not keen on getting stuck on a different island if I miss the ferry, so I'll have to work it out.

We won't be going until early April, though, so I have time to work it out. I have no idea if they have a poker room there, and no idea of they have any poker players there even if they have one. But I'll be happy with slots, craps, and blackjack even if there is no poker. I guess I am more of a gambler than I like to admit!


Saipan Chamoale said...

Still planning a trip to Saipan?

James said...

We are, in fact! This weekend, if you must know. How is the weather there now? Will we get enough sun? (Perusing your blog, I see something about massive sun burns, so I am guessing "yes".)

If you have any tips for a first time visitor, I'd love to hear them.