Things to Know about Japan

Can any body give me some tips about going to japan. I will be visiting my 21 year old (who is very hot, and im just a kid) pen pal for the first time she keeps saying she wants me to come to japan. So my family is going.
ps what is a hidden user.

For one thing unless you want to learn Japanese be sure to hire a translator. And make sure you can read metric.

I alredy am

Uh, what are you basing this on? I just don’t think you should give advice if you haven’t been and if you’re just thinking of possible hinderances… from what I know Japan has a ton of Engrish speakers (purposely mispelled). English is a trade language and you’ll find loads of people who can speak it throughout the world, probably especially in Japan because they’re a huge trade partner.

I spent some time in Japan in '86. Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and stayed with a family in Hamamatsu. I dated a girl from Tokyo while she was a student here in the U.S. after I came back.

Prior to going, my Japanese skills were limited to the Styx song, Mr. Roboto.

Sumi-ma-sen (sometimes pronounced seeeee-ma-sen) is the most important word. It means “excuse me”. That and being decent at using chopsticks will get you by almost anywhere.

I don’t know how much things have changed, but probably not too much.

The people are great. Most college students speak decent English and they want to practice. If they see a Caucasian, they assume you are an American (really pisses off the French) and may just walk up and ask to practice English. If you are tall you with blond hair you will attract a mob of giggling junior high school girls. If you are lost or need help figuring out subway/train info - just ask a college looking student. There is a good chance they will walk you to the right platform.

No problems with cleanliness or personal hygiene. Manners are something you need to experience. Some people will wear a surgical mask in public (they have a cold). At night, cars will turn their lights off at red lights (don’t want to blind pedestrians crossing the roads). Walk/Don’t Walk signs have a chirping bird sound (for blind people). Our hotel in Tokyo had an addition that was separated from the main building by an alley. There were 2 containers with umbrellas to use in case it was raining.

Try the food. Good food and you can eat well at a decent price if you don’t try to do Western meals. Almost every restaurant has the plastic food out front. Just point and order. No tipping at retaurants. The person at the cash register will probably add your check on an abacus and just enter the total on the electronic cash register. Yes, they have McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Shakey’s Pizza and 7-11. And you should be shot if you go to any of them. You may be disappointed about how familar things will be.

In Japan, it is good manners to pour a drink for someone else. They light their own cigarettes, but pour each other’s drinks. If you are the only westerner drinking Sake with a group of Japanese you are toast. They will want to take turns refilling your glass and won’t be satisfied unless you drain each one.

College students are GREAT. In Japan you work your butt off and use your parents’ connections to get into the right elementary school. Same thing for junior and senior high school. In high school you get tutored by college students to try to get into the good college. The college students make some decent money from that . At the end of high school, Japanese students are about 2 years ahead of the US. In college, the students take a break. By the end of college they are really equal with US graduates. They get to spend 4 years screwing around with free time and money. A lot of them get new cars while in college. Find some students to go to some night clubs.

Beverages can be expensive. Coca-Cola is served in an orange juice sized glass. For the same price you can get a king size Japanese beer (1/2 the price of a 12 oz. Budweiser).

If you are alone, get lost. Just walk in a direction and see what you’ll find. You don’t need to worry about crime and you will have some fun.

Take gifts for hosts/friends you meet. Whiskey is very expensive. A bottle of Johnnie Walker is a BIG deal as a gift. I was from Washington, so some Applets & Cotlets were a decent treat.

If you are in Tokyo. GO TO AKIHABRA. GO TO AKIHABRA. It is electronics Disneyland. They have everything at decent prices. Especially wander down the alleys. Most of the stores have these girls that look like 15 year olds in chearleader outfits out front.

Tokyo - fun, expensive, get some college students to take you clubbing.

Kyoto - more like I expected Japan to be, shrines, rice patties, narrow winding roads

Osaka - more similar to Kyoto

Hamamatsu - smaller town known for their eel. Yamaha has a big presence there. Definitely try the eel while you are there (sort of grilled with soy sauce and served over a bowl of rice).

Negatives:
DON’T ORDER A SANDWICH. For some reason, every sandwich in Japan is Egg Salad or has cucumbers on it. They also use white bread and cut the crust off. I ordered a club sandwich in a restaurant at a Yamaha furniture store ($5,000 chairs carved out of rock - bizarre). It was the regular 3 slices of bread (white as expected) with lettuce, tomato, ham, turkey on top and egg salad on the bottom layer.

Most of the hotels have western toilets, but just about every place else has a hole in the ground. It looks like a kids urinal layed on the ground.

Many of the night clubs will discriminate against westerners. They’ll be polite, but you won’t get in. High cover charges. Japanese usually go to 1 place and stay there, but the cover charge usually includes some food and watered down mixed drinks. You pay extra for beer.

Most Japanese think Americans can’t drink green tea (most of the people in our group liked it). They think only Japanese can drink hot sake (ohhh, that was a rough night, but a lot of fun).

We were told we wouldn’t understand Kubooki (spelling?) theater. We went to one and really enjoyed it.

Taxis don’t like to stop for westerners at night, especially near bars. They don’t want to pick up drunks or rude passengers.

Be wary of fancy candy. It has very little sugar in it. Usually the base is some sort of bean curd. It looks good, but isn’t very sweet.

Be polite, smile, be willing to try different things, go to a tea ceremony somewhere, laugh at the English misspellings, find a nice looking girl and play the helpless tourist.

Give us a good report when you get back.

Oh man, I just re-read your question (hot 21 yr. old), you will have fun.

Did you read that he’s just a kid and going with his parents? :stuck_out_tongue:

If they see a Caucasian, they assume you are an American (really pisses off the French)

HAHAHAHAHAHA :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

About toilets I heard that places in Japan have toilets with as many buttons as hospital beds, and with such things as seat warmers.

Not to mention the cyborg robot police!

Not to mention the cyborg robot police![/quote]

Oooo you mean those robotic samauri like they have in robocop? :smiley:

blenderanim wrote

If you are tall you with blond hair you will attract a mob of giggling junior high school girls.

                  I can confirm that   :D   I was  in Tokyo last spring. Younger ppl seem very excited and willing to meet Americans, but are much more mannered and polite than the American youth. I am Irish...and I moved to NY...so I dont really know how to explain that one except to say that alot of younger ppl in the USA seem rude, crass and vulgar ( I do not want to be flamed for that! ) You are going to meet a girl, so be mindful of her and not the (from my experiences) overwhelming amount of attention you may receive from others.  Most of all, enjoy yourself  
                    :D

and if she really is that hot, see if you can get some good pictures (-;

Just seemed appropriate :smiley:
Anyway, my dad was in Tokyo. The japanese are really good-mannered and very clean. The toilet is sort of sacred :), the floors are squakey-clean, etc… Be polite and understanding and don’t get too drunk :wink:

Uh, what are you basing this on? I just don’t think you should give advice if you haven’t been and if you’re just thinking of possible hinderances… from what I know Japan has a ton of Engrish speakers (purposely mispelled). English is a trade language and you’ll find loads of people who can speak it throughout the world, probably especially in Japan because they’re a huge trade partner.[/quote]

@shbaz:

It seems that you haven’t been there either. It’s not that easy to find a Japanese who speaks decent English. Although most Japanese know some English, it is difficult to understand them and to make them understand you.

@theyoman1:

Therefore I recommend to learn at least some Japanese words and phrases as you already do. Reading skills (at least rudimentary) are helpful also.

Which area of Japan do you visit? In Tokyo it’s not that problematic because there are quite a few Japanese bussiness people and Westerners who speak English and a lot of signs are written in Latin characters. But in Kyoto for instance it is more diffcult to get along speaking only English.

Nonetheless you will find your way and won’t starve because the Japanese are very helpful. Since the hot Japanese girl is your pen pal I guess she speaks good English and can translate for you. And don’t be too worried about specific Japanese manners. They learn it since childhood so you can’t compete. :wink: Just be polite and respectful and everything will be fine.

My last advice is to visit Japan open-minded. Lots of things are quite different than you expect. And don’t forget your camera. Good luck! :smiley:

You’re family is going all the way to Japan so you can see your penpal?? I wish I had a family like that. They’d tell me to bugger off.

Despite the fact it was one of the most appalling films ever made, Lost in Translation might give you some tips about Japan. Well maybe only that showers in hotels will be shorter than you’re used to.

I think the cool thing will be the technological advancements. Don’t they have toilets that give you enemas if you press certain buttons? If you want to use computers over there, it might be an idea to take an american keyboard. Then again, if you’re on holiday, you might not be using a computer.

Finally, they have some weird TV game shows in Japan. You might want to pack an mp3 player or something for entertainment.

Well, theyoman1, I recomment the following site:

Check the culture section (specially the tips for foreigners coming to japan part).

Enjoy Japan :smiley: (I’ve always wanted to go there).

You look at Japan’s technology and I have reason to believe it’s more advanced then the US.

  1. lets start with public transportation, here an america we still depend on those slow stupid diesal powered trains that go only 70 MPH. In japan they’ve been having electric bullet trains going over 160 since the 60’s and is reseaching meglevs. Now what about cars, the Japanese have been more focused on increasing milage and making them cleaner and give them the hybrid treatment. Meanwhile american car companies have done little of that. We also havn’t given the tech. to 2 wheeled vehicles like honda did recently.
  2. Robotics, Japan has really been soaring in the advances of robotics and is the reigning king in the technology. Where else are walking, soccor playing and even music orchistrating robots exist.
  3. Electronics, Japan is the supreme king in this department as well. Unlike the american companies they actually care about bringing in the future of electronic devices and household electronics, look at their big screens, DVD players and all kinds of hand-held junk and how they continuesly improve. And when was the last time you saw things like cameras made in the US?
  4. Video games, sure america started it but we gave up the crown to Japan years ago. If you look at new game genres Japan started nearly all of them, plus they produce like every video game system on the market outside Xbox, you can say all american games are now copys of origional Japanese games.
  5. Greenhouse gases, unlike america Japan actually tries to find cleaner and more efficient ways to make products, if they make a huge amount of products and make a lot less pollution and we scarcely produce more while giving away 25% of all greenhouse gases then that’s pretty sorry.

All in all, Japan is now superior to america, we let Japan get ahead of us, we need a new economic order.

Dude, America could flatten Japan if they wanted to.

Military wise we are superior to them, I was meaning economic and technology wise.

It’s not my fault you’ve never heard the word “engrish” before. Even though they’re not perfect, you could probably get by.

Oh shit, here you go again.

The difference is that Japan was just building their mass transportation infrastructure when they put in those maglev trains. We’re using the same tracks in NYC that were there 80 years ago (at the time, those were the most advanced transportation in the world), and in many cases, the same cars. Replacing these systems while having a functional transportation system still in place is a huge process, and they are working on it, despite what you think. Ever heard of the Boston big dig? That’s a pretty revolutionary transportation system right there. Eventually there will only be light traffic throughout Boston and the major roads will all be underground. Do you see that going on in Japan?

About alternative energies… you’re just plain wrong. The Japanese are the first to release such technology but it is far inferior to the fuel cells that GMC is cooking up. They built a prototype in 2000 that would get 108 mpg on diesel. Tech in two wheeled vehicles? Have you heard of the Segway?

I wonder how many of those Engineers learned about robotics for the first time in MIT, renowned as one of the best engineering schools in the world. The Japanese are building toys, Americans have been building robots for industrial purposes for decades. Which do you think is more important? Most importantly, is a little dancing robot really more advanced than a robot arm that does automated welds with .001" accuracy? What about a machine that carves shapes out of metal blocks based on CAD drawings with the same?

That stuff isn’t made in the US because of manufacturing costs, but a hell of a lot of it is designed here. How much of that stuff do you think is designed in Korea, really? I don’t know WTF you’re thinking. It’s like you think that America somehow spontaneously lost all of its engineers and became a caveman society dependant on the rest of the world for support. This isn’t the case.

Copies of Japanese games? Everything is a copy of something if you look at it like that. This is BS. Just disregard the Xbox because it’s conveniant? The Xbox happens to be the most powerful system of the three dominant systems. It houses the most popular games in the US.

Japan isn’t the only country trying to find cleaner and more efficient ways to make products, EVERYONE is. Japan is one of the few countries that’s implementing these plans voluntarily because its government probably isn’t as influenced by big business, or maybe the people in power actually care about the environment (which would indeed be a nice thing to have here in the US).

Getting back to efficiency, do you think America is full of retards? Because I don’t think it takes a genius to realize that greater efficiency means less manufacturing cost. In fact, being an engineering student and hobbyist, I know that. I worked in a factory for several months and my dad is in mid-level management there. They are constantly looking for ways to balance cost and efficiency. It’s how they survive.

Nah, I think the solution is for you to move to Japan. The people there are a lot nicer too, because the whole place is practically 1000% superior, so you should probably migrate to a Japanese Blender forum too. %|

Shbaz the lord of all knowledge, having to correct everybody. :-? From he who once again shows his true colors.
And yes, at one point America was real advanced, blowing Japan out of the water, only now we let them take it the other way.