So we have a new, perhaps one-time, holiday September 3-5. As we noted earlier, doing this adds back a non-October 1-related holiday period to China's calendar, with Mid-Autumn Festival's late appearance on September 27 resulting in no holiday otherwise it would have been a make-up Sunday for October 1.

How can it be best use, this three-day gift? We're going for irony: use it to go to Japan. Why? The weather will be fantastic; it's shoulder season; it's close enough that a long weekend, especially if it's supplemented by using a vacation day on either end (especially the make-up Sunday).

Here's a list of the best deals we could dig up:

- Flights on the new Air China service from Beijing to Hokkaido port city Hakodate is only available September 4-7, and costs RMB 4,200.
- Air China Beijing to Sapporo (non-stop), September 5-8, is RMB 4,253.
- Beijing to Sapporo via Tokyo is RMB 3,656, September 3-6.
- Flying to Tokyo from Beijing, either to Haneda International Airport, which is much closer to central Tokyo, and Narita International Airport, which isn't, are both RMB 3,094, September 3-5.
- Fly to Tokyo on All Nippon Airways (ANA) September 3-6, and it's only RMB 2,715. That's good. Don't come back on September 5: the fare is double.
- Flights to Osaka September 3-5 are RMB 2,871, also on Air China.
- Beijing to Osaka is RMB 2,745, September 3-6, via Tokyo.

Choose one city, and hit the sights. Japan is clean, efficient, and the food is wonderful. It's not an inexpensive trip, but consider it a good value. And after all, we're all friends now, aren't we?

And finally, remember that flight delays begin on Saturday at Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) and will last until May 28, as one runway is repaired and upgraded.

More stories by this author here.

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Photo: Japan Airlines

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