Thank you for finding cheaper accommodation prices than the rest of us. So far I've mainly been on business trips or day trips when I've trained at the Hombu so I never had to think about the price but if I ever need to pay my own way I'll look up this thread again. Also, I'm sure you and your husband will get a warm welcome in Iwama if you take your side trip.
Thanks, Carl! Believe me, Jon and I are extremely excited at the prospect of going to Japan to train (it's been a mutual dream of ours for some time now) so will make every effort to make a side trip to Iwama happen just for that! Right now, however, it all comes down to finances (ie. if we can afford extra time in Japan) and whether or not I can somehow "dummy-proof" our means of getting to Iwama and back from Tokyo...I can honestly say that I'm a little intimidated by the Japanese transportation system given that I know very little Kana.