Have you been to Japan? If so, how was it?

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Have you been to Japan? If so, how was it?

Post by Astor M on Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:38 am

I've been learning Japanese for about a year now with the idea of someday going there. I'm an online student and once I finish my bachelor in summer 2014 i'm thinking of going to Japan. But I want to know if someone here has been there. Have any cool story about your visit? Any tips or warnings before going or while there? I heard the flight is over 17 hours! My Vita only last like 4 hours or so! (I think that should be the least of my worries). Very Happy 
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Re: Have you been to Japan? If so, how was it?

Post by MattS on Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:42 am

I've been to Japan a lot - my wife is Japanese. Smile

I love the country - one of my favourite things to do is go somewhere off the tourist map and just get lost in local Japanese culture. You'll need to know the language to do that, but it's an amazingly different kind of place to mainstream Tokyo, which isn't really any different to New York or any other big city.

Favourite places? Sapporo in the north has the best Winter Festival experience you'll ever have (and it's the home of Sapporo beer, the best beer you'll ever drink). I love Akihabara because I'm otaku and all that, and I love Kyoto. It's a beautiful, peaceful city and very spiritual thanks to all the shrines that ring the city in the mountains.

If you want to know anything about Japan, let me know Smile
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Re: Have you been to Japan? If so, how was it?

Post by Astor M on Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:52 am

Wow. My biggest concern right now is where to stay! I heard that Osaka was a good place for foreigners but I don't know. I've been learning a lot in the past year, since I speak Spanish I don't have problems with R's and L's, but I don't know a whole lot of Kanji yet. I'm somewhere around 600 and 700 Kanji learned but that's far from enough. I would like to ask you so many questions!
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Re: Have you been to Japan? If so, how was it?

Post by MattS on Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:04 am

Astor M wrote:Wow. My biggest concern right now is where to stay! I heard that Osaka was a good place for foreigners but I don't know. I've been learning a lot in the past year, since I speak Spanish I don't have problems with R's and L's, but I don't know a whole lot of Kanji yet. I'm somewhere around 600 and 700 Kanji learned but that's far from enough. I would like to ask you so many questions!
Well, the Japanese don't have a sound for "R," and I wouldn't worry too much about Kanji. Once you know the basics (and 700 is a good start), you'll find in most magazines/ newspapers the more complex Kanji have Hiragana translations printed above the character to explain its meaning for people who don't recognise the character. My Kanji is quite poor, but I get around.

Osaka and Tokyo are both fine for foreigners - and in fact the more busy areas of both are easy to get around for people that don't know any Japanese. Translations for signs etc in English everywhere. It's only if you got to the more local areas of Japan that things get more challenging. A city like Sapporo is a nightmare unless you have some basic conversational Japanese, for instance.

Tokyo is more expensive though so a lot of foreigners to wind up basing themselves in Osaka. Be aware that pricing works funnily in Japan - some stuff that we consider a luxury is dirt cheap, and other stuff we take for granted is incredibly expensive. If you like fresh food, prepare to pay for it. If you like Coke, you'll be drinking far more of it.
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Re: Have you been to Japan? If so, how was it?

Post by Astor M on Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:27 am

I'm guessing is a bad thing I don't like Coke. I meant confusing R's and L's.

What about visas? Did you got a working visa or a student visa? Someone told me that if you get a student visa you cannot get a working visa for a few months. I'm also guessing is expensive to send your stuff over to Japan. What was your biggest problem if any when you moved there? Or the most difficult thing?

Another one, is it smart to go by myself? I've been wondering that for a while. I have a friend who moved to Japan 2 years ago by himself and he regretted every single second of it. One day he stop calling me, never heard of him again! Not kidding. I know I have to man up and leave.
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Re: Have you been to Japan? If so, how was it?

Post by MattS on Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:16 am

Astor M wrote:I'm guessing is a bad thing I don't like Coke. I meant confusing R's and L's.

What about visas? Did you got a working visa or a student visa? Someone told me that if you get a student visa you cannot get a working visa for a few months. I'm also guessing is expensive to send your stuff over to Japan. What was your biggest problem if any when you moved there? Or the most difficult thing?

Another one, is it smart to go by myself? I've been wondering that for a while. I have a friend who moved to Japan 2 years ago by himself and he regretted every single second of it. One day he stop calling me, never heard of him again! Not kidding. I know I have to man up and leave.  
I've never lived there. One of the benefits to the work I do though is I can move to Japan and continue to, for tax/ visa purposes, live in Australia. My wife and I are planning on being there for a year or so in the near future.

In terms of Visas though I do know that Japan is tough on immigration in general. If you have a useful skill (professional work or can teach English) you'll get one without any problem, but if they don't want you there you won't be there Razz

I've known a lot of people who have lived in Japan by themselves, and they all loved it. It depends how well you can integrate with the culture, I guess. Not just find Japan interesting, but actually participate in their culture on their terms, speak the language, because according to their cultural rules and accept that they have a business culture where you're expected to work through to 7-8pm and then go and socialise with your workmates.

If you can integrate with Japan you'll love it.
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Re: Have you been to Japan? If so, how was it?

Post by Astor M on Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:59 pm

Thanks. I still have some time to learn more and prepare myself better. I'm planing on going sometime after June of 2014. Thank you for your responses!
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Re: Have you been to Japan? If so, how was it?

Post by MattS on Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:05 pm

Astor M wrote:Thanks. I still have some time to learn more and prepare myself better. I'm planing on going sometime after June of 2014. Thank you for your responses!
No worries! Let me know if there is anything else you'd like to know about Japan. I love the country Smile
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