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Could use some help with my trip. (June '08) - 02-10-2008, 06:43 AM

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Last edited by Nao : 06-17-2009 at 12:37 AM.
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02-10-2008, 07:07 AM

Plan on spending more than 10 dollars a day on the train to safely budget.

Ueno is a nice, central location. ata reasonable price. Think about what you might lose in train fare and time if you are further out (I am not familiar enough with Asakusa to be able to tell you it is better or worse).

Get a travel guide. 19, a month by yourself, away from your family...this will be a mental journey, as well as a physical one. I did something similar when I was 16, but I was staying with a Japanese friend and his family, but my first trip to Japan was abot 3 weeks, and I felt like I was in the deep end of a pool and forgot how to swim a couple weeks into it. Prepare yourself mentally for that possibility. I have seen it happen to people much older than you. I guess that is culture shock.

Why do you think you need a phone? If you want to call home, use phone cards and pay phones. I can't remember if you can call collect, though...

Finally, get a travel guide...or three. Tokyo is a BIG city with tons of secrets you have PLENTY of time to discover, but you aren't going to find them without a little help. Imagine, you are on a treasure island. Do you want the map to the treasure, or not? You are NEVER going to find it without the map, so might as well invest 20 bucks in a couple travel guides to help you find some cool and interesting (and delicious...and necessary) things.
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02-10-2008, 07:25 AM

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02-10-2008, 08:20 AM

remember this is not being alone in your city or your country, it is a totally different place.

i went to china for my first experience and i was with friends who showed me around, i was 19 at the time. no i spent the majority of my time with chinese (chinese born, not australian born) and had been studying some chinese also. i felt so out of place and uncomfortable that i thought i would never travel again. i have however gone back to china 2 times since then and also studied and worked in Japan. so obviously i changed my mind.

i did a course on culture shock at university while studying in Japan under a professor who is regularly hired by Sony and other big corporations to train their staff to be ready for what awaits them with culture shock. i can tell you from everything he taught me, you are bound to find difficulties, especially if you are not being kept busy. having a bit of a hectic schedule can be a good thing because it keeps your mind from wandering off.

i highly recommend you have some contact in the area to help you out, find places to go etc. You will miss out on so much if you don't. even just a company that can tell you where all the good spots are. this is a pretty decent challenge you are setting yourself for your first travel alone and no mater how prepared you think you are, the answer is you are not prepared.

there are many penpal sites around and many Japanese who frequent them that would love the opportunity to speak english with a native. if you start now you can probably build up a nice friendship with some people who live near where you want to stay and they can help you out when you are there when you need it. i really recommend you at least try that, it will make a big difference.

i have never been to kantou region so im not sure on the transport system but if as you say you are not planing on moving around too much then i think your US$10 a day is plenty. however if you plan to travel a bit, even if it is just a few stations to here, a few stations to there and back again, it quickly will go to US$10

i take it the place you are staying is providing furniture and cooking utensils, is that right? because if you are going to be eating out for every meal and not wanting to eat every meal at places like sukiya and ramenya then it would be best to budget a little more. there are so many wonderful things you can eat in Japan so i would suggest budgeting a bit more just to cover that. lets not forget if you find you have not spent as much as you budgeted you can always go on a spending spree in the last few days.. haha if you are able to cook for yourself then i was able to do so and eat well on about ¥7000-¥10000 a week depending on how much beef i ate.. haha.

i really do hope you have a great time and i'm sure it will be a wonderful learning experience for you.

as for a phone, are you on a plan based phone at the moment? have you checked to see if your phone has global roaming and more importantly roaming support in Japan? it might be an expensive way of doing things but it looks like you don't have many other options.
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02-10-2008, 08:41 AM

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02-10-2008, 08:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nao View Post
I do not currently own a cell phone, as I don't have much of a need of one here in the States (but that will change soon...).

I may or may not be meeting up with one or two of my Japanese friends while I'm there... that much, as of this point, is not determinable.

As far as scheduling goes, under no circumstance will I make my schedule hectic or overly busy, but I appreciate the suggestion. I'm not particularly fond of the idea of being in a rush or pressed for time when I'm on a vacation - it just doesn't spell R&R to me, if you know what I mean. I'm looking to make this more of an easy going, casual experience. I want my mind to wander, as well as my body. This isn't only a trip for the sake of having a trip, it's going to be a learning experience that I can carry with me for a lifetime. I often find I enjoy myself most, and learn the most, when I don't have an exact direction. The little things along the way, you know?

About meals... I've been told I can eat as low as $4-7 a meal out if I really wanted to eat some junky meals, but I'm budgeting $30/day for meals anyway. As it is, I usually only eat two meals a day anyway, and maybe a snack otherwise, so I think that's plenty -- rest assured, I have space in my budget to spend more if I need to or want something special. The place I'm staying is completely furnished, so if I do decide to do some cooking on my own, I should be accommodated suitably.

-----------

Something I would like to comment on:

I have been made aware that there is a chance (not entirely small, especially for the length of the trip I am taking) that I may encounter people who are openly & negatively xenophobic. How should I deal with these people, assuming I encounter them? Bow and walk away? Just look around and stay quiet? Get in an all out battle royale with them (kidding, kidding!)? I'd assume the first, but please give your input on these situations.

I have also found that I will be there during the tsuyu. How expensive are umbrellas there, and are the ones at the airport a rip? Should I just find some konbini somewhere and pick one up?

Thanks.

-Nao
You can eat fairly well for about $6-7, less if you just want some ramen or yakisoba. And that's not junk food, it's still fresh and healthy.

I don't think you'll encounter much open hostility from Japanese people. In my 2 years there, I never once did. Generally, Japanese who don't like foreigners will ignore you or give you the cold shoulder, not yell at you or anything. I'm sure it's possible, but I never encountered it. If I did, honestly, I'd try to find out why they are angry and dispel some of that hostility, but then, I love a good political debate, and acting as a mini-ambassador!


JET Program, 1996-98, Wakayama-ken, Hashimoto-shi

Link to pictures from my time in Japan
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02-10-2008, 09:12 AM

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02-10-2008, 11:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai007 View Post
You can eat fairly well for about $6-7, less if you just want some ramen or yakisoba. And that's not junk food, it's still fresh and healthy.
i would argue that they are unhealthy. they are not junk food, sure but ramen and yakisoba have plenty in them that are not good for you either.

as for hostilities, i never felt any except for at university. however from japanese i talked to about this they just believe the guys at university were jealous of me. if that is true i don't know but while there were people who had something against me (even though i never talked to them once) they never did anything to me, called me names or anything. children loved me though.. haha. so i strongly believe you have nothing to worry about in that regard.
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02-10-2008, 11:42 AM

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02-10-2008, 10:38 PM

I was thinking about going to Japan during the summer for a month as well but decided against it for now. I wasn't sure which month to go during the summer because it either rains a lot during that time or is very humid. The plane tickets are also more expensive during summer. I may just go during the winter.

Last edited by GhostBlade : 02-10-2008 at 10:41 PM.
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