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Old 2009-10-08, 20:34   Link #641
Yu Ominae
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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I thought it's "okyaku-sama wa kami desu"?

Looks like I've got a lot to learn.
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Old 2009-10-09, 06:00   Link #642
nashi
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Join Date: May 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricksterlau View Post
Good place to start, I guess, is in Tokyo! But firstly where do you plan to stay? In a hotel or an inn? Thing is, one would consider hotels to be on the expensive side when compared to others in the rest of the world. I stayed at the Sunroute Hotel in Shinjuku this summer as it was slightly cheaper than other hotels. It was pretty good, though take note, hotels in Tokyo are relatively small!

In regards to whether you should join a tour or not, really depends on your personal tastes. I prefer the exploration side of things however there are always 1 day tours available for booking at hotels, including anime/manga or Mt. Fuji trips. And again, they aren't exactly cheap. Nothing is, in Tokyo.

I doubt you'll have any problems exploring the city of Tokyo as most streets and signs have their english translations. I did all my long distance travelling via the Subway (ie. underground metro.) Don't be daunted by the large scale maps or stations, it's really not that difficult if you take your time to read signs.

Tokyo is a funny place, there's no such thing as the heart of the city. Rather there are many busy and concentrated areas scattered across the capital. You'll definitely want to visit Shinkuju, Shibuya, Akihabara and Asakusa. Those are the real highlights. And all can be reached via the Subway. But there are many more places to visit depending on your personal preference. Like I said before, travelling is pretty simple. You do your homework, look at the signs, pay your fares and boom, you're there.

However I personally found eating at restuarants somewhat difficult. Obviously we're talking about the language barrier here. I can't speak Japanese, apart from a few phrases. And nor can the people of Tokyo speak fluent English either. Their level of English is one of the poorest in the world considering the country as being very developed. I found ordering from McDonalds a real challenge, there's no English on the menus whatsoever. Some japanese resturarants do have picture menus though and they can be really helpful. And other restuarants display model dishes at the front of the shop behind a glass window, and you would order from a ticket dispenser inside and take it to the counter where you would collect your dish. Be warned though, don't eat on the streets as it is not polite and you will be stared at. Even if you plan on buying drinks at dispensing machines on the streets, finish your drink there.

Tokyo is one of the best, if not, the best holiday of my life up to now. The city is extraodinarily clean, people are very polite (even though they cant speak a word of english) and the city lights are just, beautiful. You'll never find a place quite like it. Prepare for it, you'll enjoy it!
Thanks for the reply! My brother and me have so far decided on kyoto and Tokyo and we'll see how planning pans out.

In terms of accomadation. Is there anything specific i should look out for? I have a friend who recommended me a hostel and another firend who told me hotel. Big price difference, but i guess there's also the factor of personal washrooms etc. i'll have a look at this sunroute hotel though are there any others you might recommend?
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Old 2009-10-09, 09:11   Link #643
Ricksterlau
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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Originally Posted by Mystique View Post
First question, are you Asian?
Secondly, that Maccy D fails, cause even 5 years ago before I even blink when I go to the counter there, they flip the menu on the counter on the English side so I can point xD
- I can imagine the complaints some gaijin would give if there was 'no' english support at Maccy Ds of all places.
And we all know that 'okyaku-sama wa kami desu'
(The customer is god)
- But yes, not just for Japan, but its always good practice to learn basic phrases for any country you visit to help you get on. Locals appreciate it and tend to help out just that little bit more, Japan is no different. It relaxes them as well as impress them if they see struggling gaijin trying to speak but they sincerely appreciate it, so do go get some basics down before you leave in Feb.
1). Yes I am. British-Born Chinese to be precise. Does it make a difference?
2). Unfortunately not all McDonalds have English menus as I have encountered in different parts of Tokyo. But for your information we went there just to take a rest and maybe have a lick at an ice-cream cone, not for a meal.

Could you define, in your terms, what basic phrases are? Because basic phrases to me are no way adequate enough to order dishes which are specific to individual restuarants in Tokyo. However, in the end, it's not a big deal. We hand-gestured, they laughed, we pointed, they understood and we got the dishes we ordered. But they do deserve all the credit as I've never seen a community so polite.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nashi View Post
In terms of accomadation. Is there anything specific i should look out for? I have a friend who recommended me a hostel and another firend who told me hotel. Big price difference, but i guess there's also the factor of personal washrooms etc. i'll have a look at this sunroute hotel though are there any others you might recommend?
Like I said before, hotels will always be the more expensive option. Inns on the other hand are slightly cheaper. Obviously hotels provide better facilities but they vary from one to another, so you'll have to do some research. My preference was always to stay in a hotel, the cheapest one, in one of the central areas. I couldn't find one cheaper than Sunroute in Shinjuku. Hope that helps
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Old 2009-10-09, 10:47   Link #644
Mystique
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricksterlau View Post
1). Yes I am. British-Born Chinese to be precise. Does it make a difference?
Yes it does, that was my intuition telling me to ask you that.
By being Asian, you're already defaulted to have a certain 'adequate knowledge of the Japanese language', either by:
Being chinese, so can deal with kanji
Being Korean, so grammar patterns aren't too off the Japanese language.
- Also if you are with a white/hispanic/black friend, be prepared that Japanese will look at you first and auto think that you're the one with the linguistic literacy.

It's not even maccy d's tbh, a few other 'westernised' resturants see me walk in, and kinda mentally prepare to flipside the menu for english, or hand my friends a japanese one and me english xD
Depends on my mood as to whether I get irked with that, it's not a 100% case that I can step out of my own mind to appreciate it from their p.o.v that they're just trying to be as helpful as possible to make it easier for me
- Anyways, digressing, that was the reason I asked.
Quote:
2). Unfortunately not all McDonalds have English menus as I have encountered in different parts of Tokyo. But for your information we went there just to take a rest and maybe have a lick at an ice-cream cone, not for a meal.
Yet to encounter that, short of beating them to it and ordering in Japanese, right off the bat, but fair enough
Quote:
Could you define, in your terms, what basic phrases are? Because basic phrases to me are no way adequate enough to order dishes which are specific to individual restuarants in Tokyo. However, in the end, it's not a big deal. We hand-gestured, they laughed, we pointed, they understood and we got the dishes we ordered. But they do deserve all the credit as I've never seen a community so polite.
Basic, as in to express what you need to know as base sentences.
Not the names of every single item, just a stem phrase.

'How much is it'
I would like [1-10] of [item] please.
(when in doubt of japanese word, resort to slow katakana, you may get lucky)
Where is [place]
Which platform to get to [place]
Do you sell [item]

And then of course, basic greetings and self introduction.
If you have that sussed that should be enough to survive on as a tourist.
If you plan to go somewhere that may need a little more sentences, then research and learn them.
The more you get down, the easier you make it on yourself once you're there. ^^

PS: I see you're a fellow Londoner.
Be prepared that they will prob mention, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, David Beckham, the Beatles and possibly Big Ben to try to relate to you. xD
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Old 2009-11-27, 03:19   Link #645
TinyRedLeaf
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 39
Impulse flight to Tokyo

It wasn't planned, but I will be heading to Japan for the third time in seven years come this Saturday (Nov 28).

Basically, I had annual leave to burn and I wanted to fly somewhere rather than stay cooped up in crowded little Singapore. Unfortunately, November had been very hectic, because of the manic run-up to the re-launch of the publication I work for, so I didn't have much time to think of where to go. I had originally thought of going to Taiwan, but after comparing the air fares from here to Taipei (around S$1,000 to S$1,300) with those from here to Tokyo (from S$600 to S$900), it didn't take long to make up my mind (on the Tuesday just past, Nov 24).

After a day of research, I've sketched out a simple itinerary. I hope to catch some autumn colours — if they haven't already faded — around Tokyo and in Kamakura, and will probably spend a day hiking near Mt Takao. Will probably be visiting at least one museum (most probably either the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum to Photography, near Ebisu, or the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno), something I've always wanted to do in Japan but never had the time to do so previously. Will likely visit the Fuji TV Building as well. Most importantly, I'll definitely want to visit at least one onsen.

Essentially, I'll be taking it easy. I don't want to pack in too many things, as this is meant to be no more than a short break before the end of the year. From what I've read, it appears that Christmas light-ups have started throughout Tokyo so, hopefully, I'll be in a festive mood as well.

If you have recommendations for other worthwhile things to do, let me know. Thanks~
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Old 2009-11-27, 05:38   Link #646
Ansalem
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Since you mention you want to see some museums around Tokyo, there's one in particular that you didn't mention that I highly recommend. It's the Ota Memorial Museum of Art. It's a private collection of ukiyo-e. It's a pretty small museum, so they only show a small part of the collection at a time, but it's well worth seeing. It's near Harajuku (of all places) in Shibuya.
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Old 2009-11-27, 05:44   Link #647
Tyss
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Join Date: Nov 2009
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First thing that comes to my mind about japan...


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Old 2009-11-27, 08:09   Link #648
Mystique
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: In the eastern capital of the islands of the rising suns...
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
It wasn't planned, but I will be heading to Japan for the third time in seven years come this Saturday (Nov 28).

Basically, I had annual leave to burn and I wanted to fly somewhere rather than stay cooped up in crowded little Singapore. Unfortunately, November had been very hectic, because of the manic run-up to the re-launch of the publication I work for, so I didn't have much time to think of where to go. I had originally thought of going to Taiwan, but after comparing the air fares from here to Taipei (around S$1,000 to S$1,300) with those from here to Tokyo (from S$600 to S$900), it didn't take long to make up my mind (on the Tuesday just past, Nov 24).

After a day of research, I've sketched out a simple itinerary. I hope to catch some autumn colours — if they haven't already faded — around Tokyo and in Kamakura, and will probably spend a day hiking near Mt Takao. Will probably be visiting at least one museum (most probably either the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum to Photography, near Ebisu, or the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno), something I've always wanted to do in Japan but never had the time to do so previously. Will likely visit the Fuji TV Building as well. Most importantly, I'll definitely want to visit at least one onsen.

Essentially, I'll be taking it easy. I don't want to pack in too many things, as this is meant to be no more than a short break before the end of the year. From what I've read, it appears that Christmas light-ups have started throughout Tokyo so, hopefully, I'll be in a festive mood as well.

If you have recommendations for other worthwhile things to do, let me know. Thanks~
Sounds like you got yourself sorted. (And i didn't post about my 2 day mad spree in Singapore back in Oct, but thanks for your suggestions)
I'm not going to cycle through Palau Ubin ever again, short of being drugged so I'm out of my mind

As for Tokyo, yeah the lights are out (waaay too early), Shinjuku has quite an impressive display around the station and Takashimaya as always, most of the autumn leaves have faded or turned yellow, but there still is quite a bit of colour around
Nothing much more to say, cept have a safe flight. ^^
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Old 2009-12-08, 16:06   Link #649
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystique View Post
...most of the autumn leaves have faded or turned yellow, but there still is quite a bit of colour around
Thankfully, I enjoyed a couple of days of incredibly good weather (it rained the whole day and night on Dec 3, no thanks to a massive cold front passing across the entire length of Japan). The result? Superb opportunities to photograph koyo, especially in the magnificent Rikugien.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Ansalem View Post
Since you mention you want to see some museums around Tokyo, there's one in particular that you didn't mention that I highly recommend. It's the Ota Memorial Museum of Art.
Thanks for the suggestion but, in the end, I gave that museum a pass. I did manage to visit the Tokyo National Museum but, alas, the exhibits turned out to be quite boring; I reckon you'd have to be a historian specialising in Japanese history in order to fully appreciate the place.

On the other hand, the Edo-Tokyo Museum turned out to be extremely fun! I highly recommend it, especially if you're stuck indoors due to bad weather. Why? Because of the spectacular life-sized recreations of feudal Edo and Meiji/Tokyo Japan. I was especially thrilled by the section that covered the origins of publishing and mass media in old Edo and early Tokyo.




My day trip to Kamakura turned out pretty well too. I enjoyed a fulfilling day tramping through woods, strolling along the (polluted) beach, visiting an interesting grotto shrine and, most of all, people-watching in the main shopping street of Komachi-dori. Shopping in Kamakura was a delight — it brimmed with small-town charm, a glowing warmth that's completely missing from the harshly-lit temples to mass consumerism of downtown Tokyo.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystique View Post
As for Tokyo, yeah the lights are out (waaay too early), Shinjuku has quite an impressive display around the station and Takashimaya as always.
The nights were pretty...




But my visit to a ("fake", but who really cares when the women there were so beautiful?) hot-spring spa in Odaiba. Yup, the Oedo Onsen Monogatari is located in Odaiba, and not some forsaken hamlet in the mountains. Mind you, the baths are "real" enough, in that they'd actually drilled 2km into the bedrock to pump up the onsen's the therapeutic waters. But the real draw is the Edo-era "theme park" that the developers threw up around their artificial spring. It may be tacky but, I swear, it's the best fun I've had in months (did I mention the women? It turned out that the spa was doing a photoshoot with a trio of drop-dead gorgeous models while I was there... ).





All in all, it was a good trip despite a few major hiccups (I nearly missed my flight home because I arrived at Narita Airport just under one hour before take-off). I found time to take stock of what I've done in 2009, made plans for 2010, gained serendipitous insight into the history of media and publishing in Japan and generally had a fun experience. I even got to watch Summer Wars on my flight into Tokyo — an unexpected bonus, and something that could happen only on Japan Airlines, I guess.

Last edited by TinyRedLeaf; 2009-12-08 at 16:16.
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Old 2009-12-08, 16:14   Link #650
Mystique
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: In the eastern capital of the islands of the rising suns...
You surely are a talented photographer. I'll take my camera along with me to see the lights, but I doubt I can capture scenes are beautifully as you have.
Glad you had a nice time over here

(Makes me wanna reciprocrate and toss my 2 day trip to Singapore back in September here too now)
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Old 2009-12-09, 08:11   Link #651
Narona
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Wow, I love the pictures you took, TRL

I can't rep you yet, sadly.
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Old 2009-12-09, 08:49   Link #652
Js2756
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nashi View Post
Thanks for the reply! My brother and me have so far decided on kyoto and Tokyo and we'll see how planning pans out.

In terms of accomadation. Is there anything specific i should look out for? I have a friend who recommended me a hostel and another firend who told me hotel. Big price difference, but i guess there's also the factor of personal washrooms etc. i'll have a look at this sunroute hotel though are there any others you might recommend?
How come people keep saying that accomodations in Japan are so expensive? They aren't. Like any other place in the world, the prices range from cheap (capsule hotels can start at $30 a night) to very expensive, depending on accommodations. When I went just over a year ago, I stayed at Ryokans and paid no more than $70 a night and this was in 5 different cities over the course of 2 weeks.

My advice when deciding on accommodations are:
1) Decide how much you're willing to spend a night.

2) Decide the style of place you want to stay in. There are both Japanese and Western style inns and hotels, and they do vary in cost (I found that picking a Western style room in the same ryokan will usually save you a couple of bucks a night, although I stayed in Japanese style rooms).

3) Location is critically important, and a factor some tourists tend to overlook. I always picked a location near public transportation, to make getting around easier. This usually results in paying more, but I find it's worth it.

4) Research everything you need to know and then some about the places you're interested in. A lot of Ryokans have curfews when they lock the door. Check to see if they will let you come later than that (ie. if they have some sort of lock you can get a pass for). Be sure to check the check-in and out times. Unless specified, most ryokans are common washrooms. Personally, the personal washroom is a little overrated, but usually will only cost an extra $5 a night. All the ryokans I stayed in also offered breakfast (at a slightly higher cost than at other places) and I would personally recommend getting the breakfast if you can afford it and would normally have problems speaking/reading Japanese. It takes the stress out of trying to find food first thing in the morning, but you also need to conform to when they serve it. You may also want to check if you'll need laundry or internet access as well.

Other things to note, do the people who work there speak english? You can usually confirm this by emailing them prior to booking. All the places I stayed wanted cash upfront, but you should definitely check your payment options.

5) Try and find honest reviews of the places you're interested in, as a lot of places won't have details as to how clean the rooms are, or the nature of the staff.

6) Bring a map! I know that a lot of people have mentioned this already, but it's imperative. I had maps to all my ryokans, and it still took half an hour to find the one I was staying in in Osaka, which was actually a 5 minute walk from Osaka station.

Here are a couple of pretty good sites to start looking for places:
www.jpinn.com
www.itcj.jp
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Old 2009-12-09, 13:25   Link #653
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Js2756 View Post
How come people keep saying that accomodations in Japan are so expensive? They aren't. Like any other place in the world, the prices range from cheap (capsule hotels can start at $30 a night) to very expensive, depending on accommodations. When I went just over a year ago, I stayed at Ryokans and paid no more than $70 a night and this was in 5 different cities over the course of 2 weeks.
If you're going to Tokyo, I humbly recommend Ryokan Kangetsu. It's located in Chidori-machi, a quiet suburb about 20 minutes away by train from Gotanda station on the Yamanote line, and about 40 minutes away from Shibuya via Kamata station. Understandably, some may baulk at the long travelling time to the main sightseeing areas, but that's nothing that can't be overcome with a bit of careful planning (unless you intend to go late-night clubbing, in which case it wouldn't matter where you stay in Tokyo anyway — the trains stop running just before midnight, so you might as well party till dawn).

For a backpacker like me, Chidori-machi offers a different kind of charm, because — by travelling to and fro an actual suburb — I get a taste of what it's like to actually "live" in Japan. I become a part of a community's daily routine, waking up at dawn to join students and salarymen on their morning commute to school and work; and while making my leisurely way back at night after a long day of trekking or sightseeing, it feels almost as though I'm going home.



The ryokan itself is a tiny, green wonder of a gem, tucked amid the faceless grey of Chidori-machi (left). From the front entrance (right), you wouldn't even notice the ryokan if not for its sign. A short flight of narrow, winding stairs takes you up one floor to its real entrance, pass the twisted boughs of an ancient tree that has actually been gazetted for preservation by the local authorities. And once you go through the gate, you'd find yourself in a pocket forest, far removed from the concrete jungle just a few metres outside.



The ryokan comes with common areas for all guests, which are equipped with simple but well-maintained amenities, including music DVD and video players as well as PCs with free Internet access. And, of course, like any ryokan, it comes with public bathrooms for men and women respectively.



There are also Western-style showers for those who feel shy about being naked among strangers. Travellers' tip: When in Japan, drop those inhibitions, or you'd miss the simple yet glorious pleasure of soaking in your very own "private" outdoor bath.

There are a mix of Western-style rooms with beds along with traditional tatami-mat rooms. They're tiny by Western standards, but that's part of the charm of being in Japan — you'd be amazed by how efficiently the Japanese make use of every little bit of space. I first stayed in Kangetsu back in 2007, and I loved it so much that I returned this year without a second thought. My three-and-a-half tatami-mat room cost only 5,100 yen (US$58) a night, and this is how it looks:
Spoiler for the one and only time I'd ever reveal my picture in this forum:
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Old 2009-12-09, 15:55   Link #654
Mystique
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Join Date: May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
There are also Western-style showers for those who feel shy about being naked among strangers. Travellers' tip: When in Japan, drop those inhibitions, or you'd miss the simple yet glorious pleasure of soaking in your very own "private" outdoor bath.
Hahahaha, no. As someone who's lived here for a mini while, I refuse to do public nudity thank you very much.
Get people staring at me with clothes on as it is, not in the mood to deal with that being butt naked; that and I'm not a fan of flashing skin on a daily basis anyways.

Quote:
Spoiler for the one and only time I'd ever reveal my picture in this forum:
Awwwww, you're adorable! (dunno if that's what you wanna hear) >.>
But nice picture, thanks for sharing
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Old 2009-12-09, 17:32   Link #655
-Sho-
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Somewhere between heaven and hell !
Beautiful surroundings , one more reason to go there
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Old 2009-12-10, 08:35   Link #656
Jazzrat
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Age: 31
I'm in Tokyo right now Travelling here is actually quite easy as long as you grab a copy of the Tokyo Metro map which shows you all the station and lines and a map of Tokyo's central ward.
The subways have English on their signboards and the trains have English announcements.

Most popular places around the city can be accessed via the subway which you can pay 710 Yen for a 1 day ticket on the Metro Line or 1000 Yen for Metro + Toei Line which lets you travel on additional lines (tho not necessary to get Toei lines unless you intend to go to the outskirts of town).

Most of all, plan ahead on the places u want to visit so you don't have to buy daily tickets too much. You can practically spend the whole day in Shibuya or Akihabara shopping so a one time ticket is usually enough.

Going for a boat ride on the Tokyo bay tomorrow before taking the Shinkansen back to Osaka
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Old 2009-12-11, 11:30   Link #657
Midnight Commander
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Location: Command center, the ship's bridge
How do the locals react to foreigners? I want to take a trip there so badly; did anyone go to any nightclubs or etc?
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Old 2009-12-11, 12:24   Link #658
Vexx
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: On the whole, I'd rather be in Kyoto ...
Age: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Commando View Post
How do the locals react to foreigners? I want to take a trip there so badly; did anyone go to any nightclubs or etc?
The answer is going to depend on where you're standing, who you're standing near, and what you were doing.

MOST japanese seem to be fascinated by Americans (if a little disconcerted by them). If you speak japanese or use chopsticks or do anything the "right" way - be prepared for oohs and ahhs (no matter how badly you actually do it).

The biggest *problem* I've read about comes from areas where a few of our dear military servicemen have made asses of themselves. You might find the occasional nightclub, bar, or restaurant that basically forbids foreigners -- they've had bad experiences in the past.

At least a few blogs I've come across has described the experience of the random elderly Japanese person refusing to believe a gaijin can speak Japanese -- its so alien to them they can't process you even if you're speaking fluently.

Your biggest task is to know enough about the culture to mitigate making others feel uncomfortable because they're out of their element with you.
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Old 2009-12-11, 18:29   Link #659
Mystique
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Join Date: May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Commando View Post
How do the locals react to foreigners? I want to take a trip there so badly; did anyone go to any nightclubs or etc?
Snippet from my LJ
Quote:
So we hit Nogizawa, Kat leading us to Roppongi by walking through “Midtown Roppoingi”, this being the first time for me to check out perhaps the seediest and most foreigner packed town of all of Japan. It was the playground of the rich and famous, it was the battleground for the aspiring models, actors, singers and other artists.
It was basically a Japanese Hollywood all condensed and packed into a crazy, lively, hedonistic Friday night.
Both Ces and Kat having lived here before, hated the place. For me, being the first time of checking this side of Japan out in five years of visiting/living here, it was all the razzle and dazzle and starry-eyedness of a newbie. I took the pics, checked the sights out, looked at the people and absorbed the atmosphere.
I can see I didn’t miss much by having never included Roppongi into my daily life here, it truly is the ‘gaijin bubbleland’ for foreigners to try to make a quick buck in any ways possible, legit or otherwise, or for aspiring artists to try to make it big.
And yes, that does mean the use of the Japanese language isn’t necessary per se…
Going there was to my first 'official' Roppongi/Shibuya nightclub for the somewhat elite :\

It really depends on the area, town and who you're speaking to as Vexx said.
Roppongi being the area where the Japanese can actually speak broken English and serve you at the shops (perhaps cause they're exposed to it) and won't blink twice at you as a foreigner.

The typical things you'll encounter are:
- 'nihongo wa jouzu desu ne'
(Your Japanese is good)
(No matter your level, even if you utter' konnichiwa, kore wo kudasai', they'll be surprised.
- How long have you lived in Japan?
(This is to reassure their minds that people possibly cannot speak Japanese unless they've grown up here or lived here for at least 3 years)
All this year, I've said 'such and such months' (it hadn't hit 1 year yet) and then i get a:
'but why? (I don't understand), why can you speak our language pretty well

It's the complex I've had a few very wise elderly Japanese break down to me, 8 years of English in schools and they cannot speak it.
Now checking the middle schoolers out, I'm beginning to see why they possibly cannot speak it. For all their 'ganbarre' ness, self confidence is pretty low over here I've noticed...

They'll comment on your use of chopsticks and as 'why can you use them outside of Japan?'
(Depending on my mood, i may mention that there's this huge ass country called 'China' who also use them as a society and have communities and restaurants all over the world, chopsticks aren't that big of a mystery')
- Kids will stare, but I don't mind that. I just make sure to smile and be friendly as you're most likely creating first time exposure, hence memories for them.

Other typical stuff...?
Ironically, elderly people are the most sincere, most nice, most humble of the bunch than some middle aged peeps, I've noticed. I had a few even tell me:
'I'm sorry I don't speak some English. But during the war, it was the enemy's language so we never learnt anything of it'.
And they're the most smartest and wisest of the lot as is typical with traits concerning old age wisdom as so on.
If your Japanese is good enough that you don't mind visiting some old style 'pubs' and having a beer, you'll meet some very, very interesting people who won't ask the typical 'gaijin' questions.

Anyways, I've rambled enough, lol.
As a tourist (or even as an exchange student), you'll have an amazing time, that much I can guarantee.
It's when you begin to live here, do you notice things and things begin to grate on you.
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Old 2009-12-11, 22:59   Link #660
Terrestrial Dream
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Tesla Leicht Institute
Age: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
The answer is going to depend on where you're standing, who you're standing near, and what you were doing.

MOST japanese seem to be fascinated by Americans (if a little disconcerted by them). If you speak japanese or use chopsticks or do anything the "right" way - be prepared for oohs and ahhs (no matter how badly you actually do it).

The biggest *problem* I've read about comes from areas where a few of our dear military servicemen have made asses of themselves. You might find the occasional nightclub, bar, or restaurant that basically forbids foreigners -- they've had bad experiences in the past.

At least a few blogs I've come across has described the experience of the random elderly Japanese person refusing to believe a gaijin can speak Japanese -- its so alien to them they can't process you even if you're speaking fluently.

Your biggest task is to know enough about the culture to mitigate making others feel uncomfortable because they're out of their element with you.
Question, what about other nationality specifically other Asians like Korean or Chinese?
And my school has study abroad program to Sophia University, how is that school and does anyone know how the surrounding is like? I would like to study abroad maybe in two or three years later and would be great to know about it.
Though I would prefer Kyoto because of the soccer/football team, Kyoto Sanga and Nintendo. But it is to bad that my school doesn't have affiliation with Kyoto, but my damn cousin does .
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