Rose and Ziners:
Forgot to mention we had little problem with language - English is quite common and sign language a universal. Smiles and nods of the head work wonders.
Also we made our own arrangements with airfare - we used United. Round trip to Bangkok with a layover in Toyko gave us an excellent rate, better than General Tours allowed. Often, I find I can do better with airfares on my own than if I take the package a tour operator offers. I check it all ways before I book.
Jo stuck in sunny Sunnyvale!