This topic contains 117 replies, has 31 voices, and was last updated by  Joel 10 years, 11 months ago.

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    @ Missingno, indeed, I’ve been trying to make some friends there, but it always ends up in a dead end. My Japanese is nowhere near good enough. The fact I’m naturally shy doesn’t help matters much, lol.

    For now the only Japanese friends I have (and they’re not like, super close friends or anything) are expats who live here.

    @ thisiskyle, my issue with the onsens is not really so much the touristy-ness of it, to be honest. Even if I was already living in Japan, I vow to never set foot in one. It’s a personal issue, but suffice it to say that I find it traumatic even going to my neighbourhood pool, let alone a communal bath in a country where I’m ALREADY conspicuous enough as it is. It’s a luxury I’ll learn to live without! lol

    • This reply was modified 12 years ago by  Gigatron.


    Haha. Being conspicuous is the best part! Everybody already thinks your a weird foreign mutant and stares at you anyway (at least out in the inaka). You may as well take advantage of it.



    Hehe, that’s the point, there’s no advantage to be had! I already made peace with the notion of being stared at, but if I’m gonna be stared at, I’d rather they stare at my face, and not, er… everywhere else.

    Trust me, I’m doing them a huge favour! If someone like me were to show up at an onsen, the “NO FOREIGNER” signs would go back up in a flash! Hell, they’d become law! XD



    I’m idly curious as to what sort of “touristy stuff” you’re intending to avoid. I mean, Tokyo Tower probably goes without saying, but temples? Shrines? The Imperial Palace East Gardens? Basically, what are you planning on doing with your time? =)



    Like I said in my earlier post, just kinda tool around, really. :)

    Gonna see/do the things I’d most likely be seeing/doing if/when I end up living there. Naturally, I won’t be working, but I can go to grocery stores and look around, go to shopping centres and look around, eat at those neat fast-food joints that were posted on Tofugu, explore the ubiquitous konbinis, enjoy a walk about town, watch some Japanese TV with a bowl of noodles, et cetera. Maybe I’ll even meet some interesting new friends along the way (not likely with my craptastic command of the language, but it’s worth a shot).

    Granted, it probably sounds boring to some, but to me as a potential migrant, experiencing the daily life stuff in the country I’m interested in sounds 1,000x more fun and exciting to me than the usual stuff people do on holiday in Japan.

    Basically, I just wanna soak in the atmosphere and immerse myself in the “real” Japan for a month. It’s a first sort of “sample” to see how the experience affects me and if migrating is something I really want to pursue.



    Visit some temples and shrines, I say. No need to go to the big ones, like Asakusa – just your average neighbourhood shrine. They’re a part of Japanese daily life, after all. When I was in Machida, I happened to encounter one purely by chance, and it was quite nice. That said, Meiji Shrine is pretty nice too. Try and find out if there’s any festivals or similar going on – I mean, you won’t be finding any summer festivals in November, but there might be something else happening.

    Go see some of the views of Mount Fuji in Tokyo. You won’t be able to climb Mount Fuji in November, but climb a Fujizaka. Explore the back streets of Shibuya. Take a round trip on the Yamanote line. Ride the trains all day, just for the sake of it. Walk along the Kandagawa. There’s lots of stuff you can do. =)



    @Gigatron: I can understand your stance to a degree. As one small example, living in Sapporo atm and right now is the Sapporo snow festival, so the city is over run with tourists and I know for a fact that many of my friends also living here rarely go to the festival because they did when they were a kid. However, in Otaru, a neighboring city, is a different totally beautiful snow festival that many people, including myself, travel from Sapporo to go see. Actually I am going this weekend.

    I also agree with Joel, everyone usually sees the same shrines/temples in Kyoto just to say they have. When my friends ask me which was my favorite, I never name one of those. My fav was Kodaiji 高台寺 in Kyoto an 東福寺 also in kyoto but not so famous.



    Oh yeah, one thing I keep forgetting to ask about is like a cellphone. If I’m staying for two weeks, I’m definitely gonna need one? Anyone know any information about that? Like rental cellphones or something like that?



    i am just going to list random helpful pieces of advice lol…

    - when you pack, pack a suitcase inside another suitcase for your trip there so you can bring f-tons of souvenirs home:

    - for exchanging money, my husband and i have found that getting INTERNATIONAL postal money orders first before you go, and then exchanging them at post offices once you are in japan is the best exchange. we just got a few of them in different amounts ($800, $500, etc). if you plan on flying into narita, there is a post office on like…the 4th floor that will do it for you. we’ve also exchanged them at the big shinjuku post office.
    - ALSO! check the exchange rate on your specific credit card because sometimes that can be better than just changing out lots of cash. although, a lot of places in japan don’t accept credit cards, when we COULD use our credit card over cash, it was worth it to us to do it.

    - to go into tokyo from narita, holy crap get the suica/NEX deal:
    you can get this at the JR office at narita. you will be mainly using the suica card while in tokyo for train travel, and this is like…the best deal ever. especially for you since you will be there for 2 weeks, and you can probably get the round trip option (2 week max limit).

    if i think of more random helpful advice tips, i’ll come back and post them :)


    :( Wish I could get the Suica/NEX pass from Tokyo Station, we’re flying in to Haneda, but out of Narita.



    @gigatron: my husband and i have gone to japan twice (3 weeks each time) and spent about $5,000 total for both of us. we got REALLY lucky on plane tickets the first time (somehow only $571 EACH), and the 2nd time we won a free round-trip flight, so that severely helped out with costs. but what i’m saying is that…we kept a fairly tight budget everywhere else and the money went far.

    for breakfast every morning we would get delicious pan from convenience stores. lunch we would keep cheap too by eating at a random ramen joint, or whatever, and dinner we spent a *bit* more, but not much. you can get amazing food in japan for cheap, so no worries there. and we always stayed in cheap hotels too because we didn’t care. we’d be walking around all day anyway. i HIGHLY suggest the sunroute plaza shinjuku if you plan on staying in the tokyo area:

    cheap, clean, very friendly staff, and you CANNOT beat the location. it’s AMAZING. it’s so cheap for everything you get! so i highly recommend this hotel. for our 2nd trip, it was actually cheaper to book directly through their website, so look for that too.

    and i totally understand you wanting to experience “real japan”. for our first trip, we did ALL the touristy things. i wanted to see it all! and for our 2nd trip, we still saw some touristy things, but for the most part i just wanted to be back in japan, and experience real japan. luckily, my friends over there GREATLY helped with this!!! having friends is key.

    for one day, we went around looking a local art galleries and chatting with people there. AMAZING DAY:

    and on another day, my friends took us to a matsuri! it was so cool to just be there and experience the same thing they do.

    it was SUCH an amazing experience!!!!! my friend told me to go for our first trip, but we’re both not into sports, so i left it out. for our second trip, i put it in, and WOW. it was AMAZING!!! another way to experience “real japan”




    Anyone here planning long term relocation to Japan? Note I’m not necessarily reffing to permanent relocation, but lets say relocation for a term of at least one year?

    I’m going to be going to teach ESL after I graduate college in a couple years. I’m hoping the economy stabilizes somewhat by then. I plan to live there for at least 4-5 years and may permanently relocate, maybe.

    As for cost to visit it really depends on what you want to do and how good you are at managing money. I stayed for just under 3 months last year with about $5000 USD and know people who have done the same with less money. Bear in mind while I did some touristy stuff I also just love being there in the culture so I went a lot of places anyone who lived in the country would go, but I didn’t go out of my way to see everything there is to see. Look into CouchSurfing, it’s a great site with excellent resources, plus it’s a great way to get involved and immersed in the culture while you’re there.



    If you need to rent a cellphone check out Global Advanced Communications http://www.globaladvancedcomm.com/. I rented an IPHONE from Global both times i visited Japan, its helpful for using Google maps etc. which will help you navigate Tokyo. The price for 2 weeks is about 9,680円.

    For a longer visit I would recommend the Citadines Shinjuku & Kyoto, I got a sweet deal last summer and paid about $100.00 a night. It’s a BEAUTIFUL apart’hotel; it has a small kitchenette for light cooking and they also offer really cheap breakfast buffet that you can take advantage of. They often have winter/summer promotions so I would just keep checking their website (under promotions link).




    For cheap flights/packages I’ve used both Kayak and Expedia. On my first trip I was lucky enough to find a flight/hotel package on Expedia for $1500.00 for a TWO WEEK TRIP!! Just make sure to shop around and look for flights/hotels of off-peak seasons (usually around the beginning to mid Sept.)



    @Joel: Yamanote line is a must-do for me for sure. Always wanted to try it. I might visit some shrines as well, if I happen across one that catches my eye. Might do the one in Kasukabe and make the Lucky☆Star pilgrimage, lol.

    @l337jacqui: That’s good to hear! 3 weeks is not so far off from a month, and I fancy myself an EXTREMELY frugal person when I need to be, so I might just be able to get away with $5000, perhaps a little more. I might even skip souvenirs altogether to travel even lighter and cheaper.

    Also, a question. Looking online at hotels and hostels (most likely lodging for me) and all of them say they don’t allow booking for a month’s stay. What’s the best way to go about this? I really don’t wanna have to cut my trip short, but also would prefer not to hop from place to place.



    So it looks like my trip to Japan isn’t gonna happen. At least, not this year anyway. The money’s simply not working. I tried to save up bit by bit, but my situation’s just beyond tight right now and I’m finding myself having to dip into the savings I’d set aside for the trip just to pay for petrol… There is no way I’m going to have over 5 grand ready by November at this rate…

    Disappointing, to say the least. Oh well, I guess on the bright side I now have more time to plan it…

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