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Author Topic: International Travel Haps.  (Read 2089 times)
Yoda
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« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2013, 01:38:15 PM »

My brother went to Japan last year by way of Korea by himself. First time traveller and all, he seemed to do just fine. My brother doesn't a speak a lick of Japanese and people were super friendly, and even if they didn't speak english they tried their hardest to help him in Tokyo. A few random people on the street went out of their way and took him where he needed to go, or at least in the general area.

He wishes he spent a few more days in Japan, but couldn't due to time constraints. Also, he used Air BnB to find an apartment to stay in that was used by an American guy and his Japanese wife (while they were there). Basically he was just renting a room from them for the duration of his stay, and they were also super helpful and really, really nice. He plans on going back and I think he will look at staying with them again.

Another big help was the people he was renting from loaned him a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot thing that really helped him out just in terms of being able to access the internet on his phone, and use maps.

But, as mentioned above, entering stuff in Japanese doesn't really work so well when you can't read it or translate it too easily into English. But then again, most people are pretty friendly so you shouldn't have too many problems there, but if you have the mobile hotspot and do your research before hand, no real reason to get super lost.

Besides, getting lost for a part of the time is part of the fun of travelling haha.

This is a big help, thanks!
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xpsychedelico
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« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2013, 11:27:46 PM »

Last time I went to Japan, we stayed in a few different hostels (Osaka and Tokyo). Decent budget, good place to meet other travelers, and usually not too far from a subway station. You can likely get help from the staff there as they usually speak some English. I definitely second getting a map that has both Japanese and English on it for Tokyo, particularly of the subway routes. With that, even if you wander around and get a little lost, as long as you find a train station, you'll be able to identify where you are and what routes you should take to get back. You can probably find a quick explanation video on how to buy the right subway tickets and how the transportation system works.

Japan is very safe--even the more dodgy areas are not really threatening. Just make sure to keep clear of staring at Yakuza members...usually men in suits and sunglasses and/or with tattoo sleeves. If you are going to Tokyo, make it point to go to Akihabara and spend a couple days checking out every little store in the area. There's lot of gaming goodies and hidden gems lying around.

As for ordering food, if you're adventurous, you can sit yourself down in a restaurant that has pictures for its food (quite a few show models of what they serve) and point at what you think you'd like. You may also find vending machines that produce a ticket that you hand to a counter for food--those sometimes have small pictures as well. One of my best adventures was stumbling upon a traditional yatai with a couple friends, not knowing a single Japanese word and having other customers at the stall buy us things to try. The stall only served eel. Just eel, ALL PARTS of the eel, cooked in different ways but mostly skewered. I've had regular eel before, but not the innards or the head. Suffice to say it was an interesting experience and I will still eat eel. This was at some part in Shinjuku, which is the biggest most maze-like area you'll find in Tokyo, but it's full of small surprises like that.

It's also not a bad idea to visit the fast food places like McD's and Wendy's--they have Japanese inspired items like tempura burgers. Mos Burger is another good place as they actually serve rice burgers: the bun is replaced with rice cakes instead. Coco Curry is a Japanese chain I adore, and they have pictures. It's Japanese curry with 10 levels of spiciness (you have to prove you've eaten certain levels before you can go up the charts), and you can choose whatever toppings you want added to the curry. If you're less adventurous, the convenient stores have a great selection of pre-made meals and interesting instant noodles that you can choose from, so you would at least know what you're getting most of the time.

Learning some common Japanese food dishes that you would like to try is also not a bad idea. You can then ask the servers if they have a particular type of dish, and if they don't you can always head elsewhere. If you stumble upon a Japanese bakery... just go in and buy everything that looks awesome. It will be awesome.

Protip: grocery stores slash their sushi prices at night, great time to pick up some deals for the next day or a late night snack.

So... if you're going to go, get a good map, an adventurous stomach, a wandering spirit, and you'll probably have a great time.

P.S. Lard is right that Osakans are friendlier--they are considered "too friendly" by most Japanese.
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« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2013, 02:15:55 PM »

I'm headed to Tokyo in about a month, so I'll let you know how it is for a white man with very little Japanese knowledge.  I've got the basics (I read Hiragana and Katakana and know a few phrases), but that's about it.
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Yoda
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« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2013, 03:08:54 PM »

You count the ability to read Hirigana and Katakana as "little knowledge?"
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Daggerstrike
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« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2013, 03:20:30 PM »

You count the ability to read Hirigana and Katakana as "little knowledge?"

Seriously. That's like saying you know Pi to a thousand places and have figured out how to solve the Collatz problem and saying "Yeah, I know a little math"
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« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2013, 04:02:53 PM »

Hiragana and katakana are pretty basic, guys.  You can learn them in a couple of weeks.
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Daggerstrike
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« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2013, 06:38:34 PM »

Hiragana and katakana are pretty basic, guys.  You can learn them in a couple of weeks.

It's not a matter of how long it takes, it's the fact that it considered "a little knowledge".

If I were to go to a spanish speaking country I could comfortably say I have a little knowledge. I can ask where the library is. I can ask where the bathroom is. I can also tell someone to go fuck their mothers or that they need to clean their ass. Knowing two forms of the main writing systems is more than a "little knowledge" to me.
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All right, we are going to use a fan brush here and uh why don't you take some hunter green and we are going to put a happy little bush right down over here in the corner there and that'll just be our little secret and if you tell anyone that that bush is there I will come to your house and I will cut you.
Kevadu
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« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2013, 06:49:53 PM »

Hiragana and katakana are pretty basic, guys.  You can learn them in a couple of weeks.

It's not a matter of how long it takes, it's the fact that it considered "a little knowledge".

If I were to go to a spanish speaking country I could comfortably say I have a little knowledge. I can ask where the library is. I can ask where the bathroom is. I can also tell someone to go fuck their mothers or that they need to clean their ass. Knowing two forms of the main writing systems is more than a "little knowledge" to me.

Dude, if all you know are the characters you still can't read shit (well, maybe a few borrowed foreign words that are written in katakana).  Not to mention that most things are written in kanji and that's the actual hard system to learn.  I dare say your examples are quite comparable to knowing hiragana/katakana in terms of level of language knowledge.  Maybe a little higher, actually.

I should point out that if just knowing the characters meant you were skilled in the language then we should all be fluent in every European language (well, except Greek...) since they all use the same characters!  And that's just silly.
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« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2013, 06:51:54 PM »

Потому что говорить по-английски я знаю русский?
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« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2013, 06:55:50 PM »

Fine, western European languages ;)
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Dice
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« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2013, 07:02:47 PM »

Потому что говорить по-английски я знаю русский?

You don't actually *know* Russian do you?
God it's weird to read
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« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2013, 07:15:49 PM »

Потому что говорить по-английски я знаю русский?

You don't actually *know* Russian do you?
God it's weird to read

I wouldn't want to spoil the mystery.no i dont
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Yoda
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« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2013, 11:21:19 PM »

Russia sucks. Keep that filth out of my thread dedicated to flying to Japan to play video games, eat food, and score hard.
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