I long dreamed of going to Japan. But thinking about a big trip to a foreign country made my anxiety-senses tingle. Earlier this year I just booked a flight and took it from there.
Transportation and getting around
Getting around seemed chaotic at first, but turned out to be surprisingly easy. Once you get a grasp op how the public transport system works, you’ll be using it like a pro. With these nifty things you won’t get lost:
- City Rail Map app: an offline public transport app that’ll show you how to get from point A to B.
- Foursquare: to find local, less touristy, things to visit.
- Pre-buffered Apple maps: If you are heading out to an area, pre-buffer of suffer!
- A Suica card: No need to buy subway and train tickets thanks to this prepaid card
On being vegetarian
I came to Japan thinking it would be a vegetarian’s paradise. Asia is the birthplace of tofu after all, right?
Wrong! It seemed most of the restaurants had little or no vegetarian options. I practiced saying “Watashi wa bejitarian desu“. Which, according to my travel guide, should mean “I’m a vegetarian“. But even then, they didn’t really grasp the concept. I basically had to act out the animals (and their sounds) in order to make clear what things I didn’t eat.
I recommend looking up some vegan/vegetarian restaurants on foursquare before leaving. But double check the pictures and menu if you can. Some Japanese restaurants are categorised as ‘vegetarian’, but really aren’t. They just serve ‘healthy food’.
If you are a pescetarian, Japan will be the land of your gastronomical dreams.
Communicating with locals
English speaking Japanese people are rare. So you might have to dust off your charades skills whilst you’re there. There’s no harm in rehearsing some basic sentences on the plane ride there. But even if the Japanese people can’t understand you or communicate with you, they will find a way to help you. Google Translate, broken English or the good old point-and-nod method will become your best friends. These people are SO incredibly helpful, they’ll take time out of their busy schedule to make sure you get the information you need.
I’m so glad I finally decided to go to Japan! I had an amazing stay there and fell in love with the nature, people and culture. I can’t wait to go back there.
What is your dream destination?