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Author Topic: Going to Japan! What to do and who to meet?  (Read 1180 times)
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Turtle
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« on: December 05, 2007, 05:55:07 AM »

I'm going to Japan for two weeks starting on December 15th.

This'll be my first time as an adult out of the US.  Being that I didn't get out much while at home in the states, I need ideas on where to go and what to do while I'm there.  I'll be staying with my sister who is currently teaching English to kids, but we can't do stuff together all the time while I'm there.

Also, weren't there a few here who live in Japan?  Anyone want to meet up?
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wonderpug
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2007, 02:06:24 PM »

Which part are you going to be staying in?  I had an incredible 3 week trip a few years ago and can recommend my favorite parts of:

Tokyo & Nikkō
Kyoto & Nara
Osaka
Hida Province

And do you know any basic Japanese?
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2007, 02:33:44 PM »

Hook up with Canuck and go watch all the crazy HAWT women  saywhat

Or see if CheapyD wants to hang out.

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Canuck
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2007, 02:38:39 PM »

To be honest I'm not a huge fan of Japan.  Yes the women are what keep me here (my girlfriend being first and foremost!).  But I'm not a big fan of the food, or the temples or much else.  Don't let me discourage you though! I'm sure it's a great place to visit!  Tell us what you are interested in and perhaps we can give you some advice.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2007, 02:45:05 PM »

And I'll be giving the counterpoint to Canuck's opinion, because I loved the food (mmm...curry rice, soba noodle soup, in Nikko the best damn unagi meal I'll ever have in my life), thought the temples were very cool, and loved the much else.
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2007, 02:54:31 PM »

You should try to meet the Emperor.  There aren't that many emperors left these days, and if you can work in some obscure Star Wars references, he probably won't get them, and you can have a giggle at his expense.
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2007, 03:05:55 PM »

Quote from: IkeVandergraaf on December 05, 2007, 02:54:31 PM

You should try to meet the Emperor.  There aren't that many emperors left these days, and if you can work in some obscure Star Wars references, he probably won't get them, and you can have a giggle at his expense.

.. and watch him smoke you at DS multiplayer games ..
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2007, 03:18:54 PM »

don't forget to visit Sony and give them your love  Tongue
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2007, 04:12:37 PM »

Quote from: IkeVandergraaf on December 05, 2007, 02:54:31 PM

You should try to meet the Emperor.  There aren't that many emperors left these days, and if you can work in some obscure Star Wars references, he probably won't get them, and you can have a giggle at his expense.

Doesn't emperor imply having an empire?
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2007, 04:31:02 PM »

Quote from: unbreakable on December 05, 2007, 04:12:37 PM

Quote from: IkeVandergraaf on December 05, 2007, 02:54:31 PM

You should try to meet the Emperor.  There aren't that many emperors left these days, and if you can work in some obscure Star Wars references, he probably won't get them, and you can have a giggle at his expense.

Doesn't emperor imply having an empire?

shhhh... it's a secret.
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2007, 02:41:58 AM »

Hi there.
I live in Tokyo and would enjoy getting together for a beer somewhere.  Maybe we could do a meet-up somewhere with Canuck? 

As far as planning what to do, first and foremost, get a Japan rail pass.  This will give you the flexibility to see anything you want and you'll save a ton of money over buying tickets individually.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_rail_pass

For planning your trip, I would recommend searching the following Japan forum which is a good resource for travel:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=509
Lots of itineraries and ideas for travellers of all kinds.

Some not to miss sights from my experience over here:
1. Take a day and go visit, Himeji Castle - http://wikitravel.org/en/Himeji
2. Kyoto has about a week's worth of temples/shrines to see; some fantastic stuff - http://wikitravel.org/en/Kyoto
3. As any self-respecting geek knows, you must pay homage at Akihabara in Tokyo - http://wikitravel.org/en/Akihabara
4. If the timing works out (which it doesn't seem to), then checking out a Sumo tournament live and in-person is an unforgettable experience.

There are lots of other great things to see and do, but it does really depend on what your interests are. 
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2007, 03:42:04 AM »

I wasn't big on the food either.

I'm not sure if it's improved since 2000, but I had a helluva time finding ATMs that worked with my card. 

Definitely hit up Akhibara.  Also, Tokyo was quite a fun place to spend New Year's.

One annoyance (for me) is that the rail system stopped running around 1am (with the exception of New Year's when it went all night).  So a night on the town often mandated staying out until dawn when the trains started running again. 
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2007, 05:20:32 AM »

Part of this trip is also to get lots of art reference.  I'm part of the concept team for a game and was hoping to add some Japanese influence to it.  So, Himeji Castle is a must on my list.

I forget where I'll be staying, it's a bit south of Mount Fuji, a pretty nice area from what I've seen.
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2007, 04:53:47 PM »

If I ever get a chance to visit Japan I would want to see a actual Katana being made 
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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2007, 05:11:26 PM »

Quote from: Soulchilde on December 06, 2007, 04:53:47 PM

If I ever get a chance to visit Japan I would want to see a actual Katana being made 

You can also see that in Toledo, Spain.  In fact, it would likely be far, far easier to see it there.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2007, 05:26:44 PM »

Quote from: Turtle on December 06, 2007, 05:20:32 AM

Part of this trip is also to get lots of art reference.  I'm part of the concept team for a game and was hoping to add some Japanese influence to it.  So, Himeji Castle is a must on my list.

I forget where I'll be staying, it's a bit south of Mount Fuji, a pretty nice area from what I've seen.

Drawing from my trip, for art reference:

Nikko is a couple hours north of Tokyo and has a beautiful bridge leading to a bunch of ornate shrines and temples all clustered in one area in walking distance to each other, including the (possible) original carving of the "Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil" monkeys.

Kyoto is pretty much a must on your to-see list if you're looking for art reference.  There you'll find the long tunnels of torii that were shown in Memoirs of a Geisha, the Golden Pavilion, the Suirokaku Aqueduct, and plenty of other temples and sights.

The Hida-Takayama area is a bit more of a hike for you to get to, but you'll have breathtaking views of the "Japanese Alps" on your way up on your train ride following the river up into the mountains.  Once you get there, you'll find a large number of the "onsen" hot spring baths, many just built by locals on the side of the river.  You'll also find the Hida-No-Sato village, a recreation of a traditional old Japanese mountain village with many original buildings and thatch roofed houses.

In Tokyo, you probably want to check out the Imperial Palace, definitely should stop by Shinjuku at night to see the crazy neon lights and signs people associate with Tokyo.  I also had a really neat experience checking out the huge Tsukiji fish market--the biggest wholesale fish market in the world--in the morning opening rush.  It's not at all oriented for tourists, but it's incredible sight to see.

In Nara (a bit south of Kyoto) there's the enormous Tōdai-ji temple, which houses a giant Buddha statue that you're allowed to take pictures of.  Nara is also filled with tons of tame deer which will walk right up to you and let you feed them.
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« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2007, 08:36:54 PM »

Try to visit the village hidden in the leaves, but it's hidden so your mileage may vary....
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Turtle
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2007, 06:46:19 AM »

Okay, so I'll be staying in the city of Numazu in my sister's tiny apartment.  It's in the Shizuoka prefecture about 50 minutes west of Tokyo.

Since she's working during the week, looks like I'm mostly on my own for exploration and entertainment.  It's scary since I've never done this before, but exciting.

I'll be getting a pass for the public transportation system here and I'm pretty much willing to travel anywhere.
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Turtle
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« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2007, 09:51:46 AM »

Greetings from Japan!  Numazu to be exact.  I'm here at my sister's apartment, she teaches English here and has a small apartment here.  It's one of those small bedroom with kitchenette and bathroom attached kind of apartments.

So far it's been pretty normal.  My flight was okay, but tiring and the flight was delayed so we spent most of yesterday just getting back from Tokyo lugging my overstuffed luggage around.  Today I slept in late, partly to recover from finals which ended last week, partly to recover from the flight and train rides.  I also wandered around Numazu a bit.

In all honesty living in Numazu is like living anywhere else, there's different rules, and vibe, but that the same of any city.

What's really interesting is the cash based economy, which I like, lots of bikes.

Oops, gotta cut this short, I'm meeting at a restaurant with my sister and a bunch of friends from her english teaching program.
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« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2007, 02:16:43 PM »

Keep the reports coming and have a GREAT TIME!!!!
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« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2007, 12:15:40 PM »

For Christmas, I crawled through stinking hot VC tunnel and fired an M60 into the jungle.

So, now I'm in Vietnam for Christmas.  But, I'll explain that later.

My first week in Japan was mostly uneventful besides a big day long trip to Akihabara in Tokyo.  I made the mistake of bringing along my not so mobile laptop, which added just enough weight to put my bag over critical mass.  I still had tons of fun wandering around.  Although, at first it wasn't that spectacular since I arrived a bit early, but once the sun set and the neon started shining, it was really cool just walking around.

Was trying to find some Disgaea figures for a friend, but no luck.  I did tag a lot of stores in my mind to come back later.  Although you do have to be careful which set of stairs you go up or down.  Go through the wrong stairs and it's cartoon boobs everywhere.

Unfortunately, I got blisters on my feet from walking around with too much weight, so I spent the next few days in the area letting my feet rest, but my sister did take me out to a big Christmas get together with a bunch of friends who were also teaching english.  Didn't do much the next few days and then on Saturday my sister and I boarded a plane for Vietnam to meet up with my Dad.

Which leads to today, where we went to the touristy site of the old VC tunnels outside Saigon.
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« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2007, 01:08:11 AM »

So now you can always go around saying "this reminds me of back when I was in 'Nam".

It's really worth the trip for that alone.
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Canuck
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« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2007, 09:10:32 AM »

Actually there are a whole lot of "Walterisms" that he now use-not the least of which being- "Smokey this is not 'Nam, this is bowling.  There are rules."
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