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Old 12-04-2003, 02:58 AM   #1
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Hey guys, i'm going to be in Tokyo from christmas day to new years day! I don't know much about the country and well I don't speak Japanese either...ekk

does anyone want to help me out and give me some ideas on some places i should go and some sights i should see while in there.....

it would be greatly appreciated
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Old 12-04-2003, 05:47 AM   #2
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Thtas wicked Brent, spending Christmas in Japan!!! CAre to stick me in your suitcase? I will not take up too much room and I clean up after myself???

Check this site, stuff to see and do in Tokyo
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Old 12-06-2003, 08:09 AM   #3
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HEre is another link from a post I did a few months back....Japan
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Old 12-14-2003, 08:10 AM   #4
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I'll have to dig, but I know it one of my travel magazines I read there is a FREE guide service in Tokyo for English speakers. I think it is staffed by students who do it to work on their English. I'll have to dig, but in the meantime, you might want to check around on the net and see if you can find out about it.

If I was going, I'd definitely hook up with something like that. Nothing like seeing a country with a local!

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Old 06-24-2004, 06:47 PM   #5
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hi brent! i would love to try to help you out. I lived in japan as an exchange student, but not in tokyo. i had to stay in tokyo though, for like a week, when i first got there.

Shinjuku is in my opinion the best district to wander around in. You know all those pictures of tokyo that are like crazy neon? thats not tokyo, thats shinjuku. this place is great, like i said, to wander around in. It's all bright and shinny, lots of shopping.

ok next thing, shopping. shopping in japan is a trip. it rocks. stores are big like a wal-mart, but are seperate in actuals stores instead of departments. almost all of them will be clothing and accessory stuff. the yen sucked while i was there so everything was really cheap, 100 yen was about 85 cents. i have no clue how it is now, but if the exchange rate is good then go wild. stuff will be cheap, it's all extremely well made and the styles are about ten years in the future of america unless you live in new york. so anyway this is the one thing americans do all the time in stores, in you are looking in one "store" and walk OUT of the carpeted area onto another floor type, you have LEFT the store, so don't carry merch around. I was hanging out with a couple aussie guys who "stold" without knowing some clothes they were carrying around waiting to try on. if you can fidn this store called "kick out depression" possibly inside a kalmia or meiho store then def. go there. most of the names will be in english. Muji is also awesome. engrish shirts are something to look for, you can find them anywhere about. http://www.engrish.com are some examples.

people will try to speak english to you. most of the time they will be bad at it. but if someone, even an 80 year old lady knows some english, she is liable to try it out on you.

oh something else cool to notice is that all japanese people that learned english at school have the same handwriting. it's creepy.

Harajuku park on sunday afternoon is a great pleace to see "lolita" and goth styles. if you've ever seen the book Fruits, that is where many of the pictures were taken.

There should be information in your hotel about transportation, which is easy if not cheap. and also about museums, like the basho (famous haiku author) one in Koto-City on the coastal part.

Most of this really depends specificly on what you want to do. Shop, club, see traditional stuff. There are great shrines all over the city, shinto shrines. where you can trop money and clap or drink from the well, it's all symbolic-y and stuff. Visit at least one shrine, they really are awesome. And i would straw away from the more tourist-y sites and instead find one on your own while having a wander. Thats something i did often and always found rewarding. The Edo-Tokyo open air architectural (sp?) museum is somewhere to get some tradition in and see how old tokyo was. it also has a udon shop. eat udon all the time, if you can.

ok, so that brings me to food. food is another great thing. Eat eel, it's called onagi, it's barbecued and tastes awesome. Eat tako-yaki, these are like cheesy octopus (tako) balls that are grilled (yaki). they are also really cheap. get an obento from a combi (convinience store) and eat in park. If you hear that eating in public places is frowned upon in japan, it's crap. People and myself ate on the go from street vendors all the time. Find a croquette street vendor. god i'm getting hungary remembering all this. try sushi by yourself at an off hour. it'll be crowded at lunch and after work with buisnessmen. Sushi is much much cheaper in japan than it is here. if you go to a bar order edameme (salted saybeans in the shell) or gyoza(pork or chicken and vegetable dumplings). this was the only time in 8 years that i stopped being a vegetarian. after the first week i realized it was usless. it is rude to refuse things and no one understands the concept.

I don't know what to tell you exactly since it's a really broad topic, but i'm glad to help with anything. Japan is really special to me, i hope you have a great experience there.
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Old 06-24-2004, 06:50 PM   #6
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lol i just looked at how old this is. i'm such a dork. i guess i was just excited someone else was going to japan.
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Old 06-27-2004, 09:38 PM   #7
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Pikushi -

Great to read your remarks, even though the topic was old...brought back lots of memories of our three years there, up north in Aomori prefecture. Oh, edamame! You can buy them frozen in some north american grocery stores - did you know that? And I found sweet bean rice sweets in DC...now that was a treasure! Thanks for the memory trip, makes me want to go back...
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:39 PM   #8
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mmmm...edameme i get the frown treat al the time, actually there is a grocery store near me because there is a toyota factory and it brings lots of japanese families. My personal favorite for a hot summer day... cold somen with ume boshi. mmmmm my mouth is watering
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Old 09-08-2004, 09:49 PM   #9
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Edameme is great...I get it at a local oriental bistro....I dip the salted soy beans in soy sauce and wash it down with a bit of saki!!!!

I have never been to any Far East countries and trying to decide wether to study/work in France or in an Asian country (probably either Japan or Tibet).

A question: How long do you think that it would take someone who is fairly good with languages to be able to converse in Japanese....not like all gramatically correct and stuff....I mean just converse simply....any ideas/estimates???
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Old 10-05-2004, 09:38 AM   #10
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My three year old girls went to Japanese kindergarten, they could converse within a couple of months. Me, not so lucky! Basics you can pick up in a few months, depending on how much you use it, you could probably communicate within 6. Consider taking courses at a local community college before you go...I would have, if I'd known we were going when the semester started.
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:09 PM   #11
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Ok, I realize this thread is pretty much dead. Buuut...I love Japan and was hoping that someone familar with it is out there on the tpunk msg boards! I was in Tokyo for a week and fell in love with it! Shibuya (sp?) and Shinjinku were amazing! I really dug the Tokyo culture and the orderliness of everything. I'm thinking about taking some Japanese courses at a community college just so I'll be able to converse a little better the next time I go back. I'm not a language pro by any means...I've taken on and off about 5 years of French and can barely hold a conversation with a native French-speaker. But I also live in an area with 0% francophone influence (that's what I'm blaming my poor French skills on ). Sooo...I'm wondering how I might fare with Japanese...should I even try?
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Old 05-05-2005, 01:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by LaurieL622@May 5 2005, 06:08 PM
Sooo...I'm wondering how I might fare with Japanese...should I even try?* *
Why not just give it a try..?

I share your feelings; last year I went on a mini-trip to Tokyo and instantly fell in love with the city!

I was also in Shibuya & Shinjuku, among other places. What struck me about the Japanese culture most is their compatibility to live in such close and tight quarters with the utmost respect of others.

They have a very neat and clean habit; some criticize them as being too sterile but to me it's just good civic responsibility.

I'm convinced that if I ever do get the chance to reside in Tokyo, I'll be wanting to live in Harajuku.

Their fashion sense is totally incredible, there is an underground culture (a must for me wherever I may end up living...) and fresh youth movement. They may dress loud and bizzare, but they certainly don't "rap" their shit to rub onto others (just think of walking on the streets of Bronx and you'll know what I mean....)

In many ways, I see Tokyo as a "correct" way to be a New York City...but without the crime, loudness, bad attitude and brashness.

I'm sure there are some cultural aspects about Japan and its militaristic history that offend some, but I'm talking about the Japan of today, its youth and its city culture.
Because, after all, that is only what I've experienced in the 5 short days I was there last October.
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Old 05-10-2005, 10:32 PM   #13
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Laurie I would say def give it a go I just finished Japanese II and still and at the most basic of conversation so yes it is slow going but its a lot of fun as well, and it really isnt as hard as its made out too be the only reason it took me so long to gain a minimal amount of spoken ability is two fold, one the amount of time spent in jpn1 on writing is considerable and two it is a tough language to practice outside class, I am planning to study in japan in august just waiting for a few formalities but i hear after a few weeks of imersion if you already comprehend the basics it comes along nicely so we will see, good luck and once again i think you will find you enjoy it if you try
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Old 05-11-2005, 11:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
What struck me about the Japanese culture most is their compatibility to live in such close and tight quarters with the utmost respect of others.

They have a very neat and clean habit; some criticize them as being too sterile but to me it's just good civic responsibility.
Yes!!! My Retro-you took the words out of my mouth. When I got back I was telling everyone about how Tokyo is nyc "gone right" . I grew up in the 'burbs of LA...so I was surprised how such a HUGE urban area could be so clean...and polite! It's amazing how low the crime and poverty rates are. People are very respectful of others...and they are helpful without "getting in yer face" about things. Like I've mentioned, I left my heart in Tokyo and I'm looking forward to going back. I'd love to hear all about ur trip!!!

Kyle j-thank's for the advice. I'm sure I'll have to work hard at picking up the language because I can't utilize it where I'm currently living (I think I'd have better luck communitcating in French ). Good luck w/your studies!
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Old 05-11-2005, 12:04 PM   #15
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Funny thing is, Laurie, I did not really plan on going to Tokyo to begin with.

For the longest time, I had plan on visiting Thailand & Cambodia, before en-route to visit friends & family in Malaysia.

On another side note, I had been *visualising* about a particular urban/city dream home. (bear with me on this...)

See, I'm weird like that. Sometimes I get this strange visualization of what I'd like/fancy, almost like a cloudy image of something to come....

Then I watched Lost in Translation and was pretty much inspired by the allure of the movie...and the appeal of Tokyo's *alien* subculture was so spot-on, as portrayed in the film.

(In fact, one prominent board member here actually criticised me for my liking of Sofia Coppola due to my intepretation of her artistic/filmaking skills... haha...)

When it finally came time to book the flight, I just couldn't find a flight that was $$ reasonable to Bangkok. However, I decided to - just for the heck of it - look into Tokyo.

And I'm so glad I did.

Mind you, I've always travelled to Europe year after year, for like the past five years. So I'm due for a scenery change...

...when riding on the JR to Shinjuku, the train went past all these suburban homes and.....presto!....that 'cloudy' image i had of what my dream home would be like is right here....in Tokyo...!

Small and compact, efficient and cosy. Well built with great modern contemporary design. Individualistic and stylish as well as blending with the entire cityscape. It was surreal.

And I carried this surrealistic feeling with me throughout my stay there.

One afternoon, I got tired from miles & miles of walking and decided to stop for a refreshment at this Starbucks in Shibuya.
It was stragetically located in front of that massive crossroad right after you'd board off the subway (Keio?) line.
Much to my good luck, there was an empty seat right by the second floor window, so I could view the whole crossing and do some people-watching.
There, I met another English-speaking person....she was from England. So we chatted. The view was spetacular; we were sitted there for well over an hour. And I felt so relaxed and refreshed.

When I finally got back to America, my friends saw my pictures and reminded me that where I sat, in that Starbucks in Shibuya crossing, is exactly the spot where Sofia filmed a scene of Scarlett Johansen in Lost in Translation...!

Now, that's some seriously cool deja-vu!!



How about sharing some of yer stories?

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