Trip to Japan need some advice

Youkai

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Hi there !
After many years i finaly got the courage and money to book a flight to Japan ^^
Now i need several advices and informations and i hope some of you do have them so that i don't have to think all to much and search several hours only to find nothing usefull :P

So i booked the flight and made a reservation for the Motel
I did order a new ID and Passport which still have to arrive
I ordered a Kreditcard which i didn't got because i don't earn enough money for the bank -.-V (now i have to starve in japan without any money at all ...) ... no well i ordered another one at another bank that offered one for students and job trainees like me and hope i get it
bought a Camera and learning the Language ...


Now what do i have to concider ?
like my dad told me in some countrys you need to have some medical examination papers with you so that you can prove you are not ill and stuff like that ?
don't want them to tell me in Narita that i can't leave the airport :P
And i believe i might need some adaptors for my electric power cord or whatever ?
I assume japanese prepaid sim cards should work with a german jailbroken iphone too right ?


P.S. any idea what a Japanese might like as a Guest present from Germany ? i don't even have a clue what foreigners might like from Germany at all ...
and as i am not Bavarian i don't like brining some beer glasses or "lederhosen" which are way to expensive anyways.
 

Midna

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As i recall, the Japanese can be hostile toward foreigners sometimes. When they're not taking pictures with you. You're German though, not American. You'll probably be fine.
 
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CrimzonEyed

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As for gift I only know that according to me japanese teacher they love to watch fotos/images that you have taken back home in your country.
Pictures of your relatives, house, closest city, land marks and so on.

My japanese teacher also warned me if I ever go to japan, they can be really "silly/childish".

(My japense teacher is a japanese so I hope she's right
 
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Densetsu

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Where in Japan are you staying? In Western Japan, they use 105V AC. In Eastern Japan, they use 110V AC. Their plugs are two-pronged, but they're flat like in the US.

And who are you bringing gifts for? Generally the Japanese are accustomed to giving and receiving food as omiyage. Usually the food is something small, like individually-wrapped cookies, pastries and candies that are unique to the area you came from. So try to find some German cookies/cakes that you can take along with you. I'm from California in the US, and one thing I usually like to take to Japan to give out as gifts is Ghirardelli chocolates. Not only are they based in the US, but they're based in California, so it's considered a meibutsu of California (even though you can get them anywhere in the US).

How long will you be staying there? If you want cheap alternatives to staying in hotels, you might want to consider using a coin locker at a train station to store your luggage, then stay overnight in an internet cafe where you can surf the web, read manga (Japanese only though), play video games, and have unlimited (non-alcoholic) drinks for about 1200 yen a night. If you're in a bigger city like Tokyo or Osaka, you can stay in a capsule hotel. Not only are they cheap, but they're a unique, quirky Japanese experience.

I don't think you'd be stopped in the airport for medical examination papers, unless there's some epidemic going on in Germany that's making global news, or unless you're from a third-world country. I've never been stopped or detained for that reason.

I don't know how the SIM cards work, but you can rent a prepaid cell phone at Narita. Since you're only renting (and not actually buying) the phone, it's cheap. All you have to do is return it at the airport when you depart.

Japanese people are more curious about foreigners than they are hostile to them. They're non-confrontational so you're very unlikely to meet any hostility. But you might get plenty of stares depending on where you go and what your ethnicity is (I'm assuming you're Caucasian). In bigger cities they're less likely to stare. Tourism is more common in the more populated areas and you'll be less of a curiosity than if you were to go to a small town. If you have a problem with it, download this book cover and use it to cover any book. Then read it on the train (or wherever you go).

As for gift I only know that according to me japanese teacher they love to watch fotos/images that you have taken back home in your country.
Pictures of your relatives, house, closest city, land marks and so on.
This is also true.
 

Midna

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Japanese people are more curious about foreigners than they are hostile to them. They're non-confrontational so you're very unlikely to meet any hostility. But you might get plenty of stares depending on where you go and what your ethnicity is (I'm assuming you're Caucasian). In bigger cities they're less likely to stare. Tourism is more common in the more populated areas and you'll be less of a curiosity than if you were to go to a small town. If you have a problem with it, download this book cover and use it to cover any book. Then read it on the train (or wherever you go).
>Why Do Japanese People Stare At Foreigners?
Oh god I laughed so hard

Edit: Yeah that is the impression I've got too. I've never been to japan, but I've met some groups of Japanese people being tourists over here. They really like taking pictures with you. My only experiences with hostility comes off 2ch.
 

Densetsu

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>Why Do Japanese People Stare At Foreigners?
Oh god I laughed so hard
The cover is a parody of a popular series of bilingual books in Japan.

Edit: Yeah that is the impression I've got too. I've never been to japan, but I've met some groups of Japanese people being tourists over here. They really like taking pictures with you. My only experiences with hostility comes off 2ch.
They like to take pictures of everything. When my Japanese friend came to visit me, she took pictures of public garbage cans. But foreigners in Japan do the same thing, myself included. When I first lived there, I took pictures of random things like the McDonald's sign (and the uniquely Japanese menu items), Dungeons & Dragons books I saw in a hobby store, Japanese-style toilets, I asked a Japanese police officer to pose with me in front of his patrol car, etc. Sometimes people tease the Japanese about taking pictures of everything they see, but I think foreigners would do the same thing in Japan.

If you're black or white, you're much more likely to get stares. Foreigners who are Asian by ethnicity are able to go under the radar because they're ninja like that :ninja:

There was one time an old Japanese man yelled at me on the train for using my phone (you're not supposed to use your phone on the train as it's considered rude over there). But I was speaking really quietly so I wasn't bothering anyone. It turned out he was drunk because after he yelled and shook his fist at me, he got up and stumbled his way to another car.

Usually Japanese people don't confront people if they're annoyed, but man will they bitch about it in blogs and on Facebook after the fact :P
 

Icealote

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As i recall, the Japanese can be hostile toward foreigners sometimes. When they're not taking pictures with you. You're German though, not American. You'll probably be fine.

I thought this only happened if you go to rural places or places where tourists aren't meant to go lol
 

Sora de Eclaune

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Hmm... I would have to say....if you don't know the language by the time you get there, have a list of things to say written down in Kanji/Hiragana/Katakana and Romaji, as well as in English so you know what you're saying. Why have it written down in Kanji/Hiragana/Katakana, too? In case you can't pronounce a word, just show the sentence to the person you're saying the phrase to.

Also, if they ask you to say funny German words or to say something in Japanese, do it. Appease them before they get out their tentacles.
 

Densetsu

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I thought this only happened if you go to rural places or places where tourists aren't meant to go lol
They actually tend to treat you nicer in rural areas where they rarely have contact with foreigners (because they don't see how annoying foreigners can be on a regular basis :P). But if you don't know Japanese in those areas, you'll have a difficult time getting around.
 

Icealote

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I thought this only happened if you go to rural places or places where tourists aren't meant to go lol
They actually tend to treat you nicer in rural areas where they rarely have contact with foreigners (because they don't see how annoying foreigners can be on a regular basis :P). But if you don't know Japanese in those areas, you'll have a difficult time getting around.

Ah right I guess it depends on where you go then. I had a friend who went to the rural areas to teach English and he had a very hard time as he told me the people disliked him. I'm just guessing he probably did something to make them feel that way =/
 

Youkai

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Well thanks for your comments, especially Densetsu

I will be in Ikebokuru and i already reserved a room at the Sakura Hotel, lucky for me they aren't that expensive and for ppl like me who stay longer than a week they are even less expensive ^^.
I have to pay 140,000yen for the whole month i think thats okay as i pay barely the same ammount for 1 week Mallorca XD


I have already some ppl trough facebook that i can meet so i have someone to help me if my japanese won't be sufficient when time comes, and for those i wanna bring a guest pressent ^^


@[member='Densetsu']
so there are two different adaptors oO which one would i need for Tokyo ?
 

Densetsu

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No problem :)

So you'll be in Ikebukuro? Nice, that's right on the Yamanote. The Yamanote is a circular track that circles around to all the main areas of Tokyo all day so you'll be able to get around easily.

Yeah, just bring some cookies or candies to give out, and if someone's going to be showing you around and hosting you, maybe you can bring something a little more special (like a bottle of wine, etc.).

You don't have to worry about which power adapter to get. Any adapter for Japan should work throughout the entire country. But just FYI, Tokyo is in the Eastern half of Japan so it uses 110V.
 

gshock

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Sounds fun ;o
- When you travel to some countries you can get vaccinations for things that you have a risk to get when you're there. I've never had to do this before but I know some people that have travelled to other countries for extended periods ( months ) that opted to do that.

( They travelled to China though not Japan. I've been through Japan very briefly twice for other reasons and it was never mentioned so I guess not all countries or else not all types of travel visa. )

- If the phone is 'unlocked' then it should work regardless of where the SIM card originally came from. I think what's more important is to check and make sure the gsm frequency is compatible with your phone. ( it probably will be )

- People are people wherever you go. I suggest not buying into any stereotypes or generalizations that lump a country of people into a single category. Different people are different. Whether within the same country or the same neighbourhood. Just use common sense and don't do anything you probably wouldn't here and you'll be alright.

- Plan for the long flight ahead of time. They can be a bit brutal.

- Some generic travel advise is to bring a vile or blister pack of (for example) gravol, tylenol and regular gum. The reason is that if you eat a type of food that disagrees with you while you're in a foreign country having them on hand might be a godsent. ( this doesn't go for just Japan though but pretty much anywhere ). The gum is because some people apparently get headaches or earaches on planes going up or coming back down because of the pressure differential and gum ( the act of chewing actually ) prevents the pressure build up. Up to you though. I don't get any of these problems listed above but I'd still consider packing them in case the person next to me does. For example.

- If you're going to use the trains go with someone that can show you how to properly or do your research ahead of time. I've heard it can be confusing for somebody using it the first time. Not sure how much truth there is to that statement or not though.

- Don't forget to visit the black market there at least once. jk

- I can't speak for anyone else but I'd probably be happy with a scenic book with posters ( calendar sized photo images on the pages ) of places/scenery and other tourist attractions from your country. It makes for a good conversation piece, if nothing else.

My only experiences with hostility comes off 2ch.
Because we all know that 2ch is reliable source of information.

And because the way people act online/on the internet is always exactly the same way they act offline, in person, in real life without anonymity.
 

Cyan

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Attention that japan don't have a lot of cash distributor working with a credit card.
There are some in big city only (Tokyo).

Japanese people are using special cards to get money at their cash distributors, but not the same card that they use to buy things.
You can't use VISA or Mastercard to get cash. But you can use VISA to pay in shops or hotel.


It's an information from when I was in japan (2002), so maybe it changed.
Someone can confirm?
 

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