COMIC Going to Nippon for a month in August :noes:

Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by wufei, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. wufei

    wufei New Member

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    What to expect or watchout for? Any experience from other A&M or OT members?

    So far the plan pretty much is, buy a rail pass, and book a cheapish room in Tokyo for the night I land. But that's pretty much it, The next 3 1/2 weeks is open. I will just be traveling with one other person.

    climb Mt Fuji,
    see the Hiroshima shrine
    Go to the shrine of the 47 ronin
    See akihabara
    EDIT::
    and the Tokyo night life
    /end edit
    Visit some temples in yokohama / kyoto
    see osaka castle
    play the panoramic gundam game/ see the 1/1 scale rx78 :greddy:

    I will also be meeting up with a friend who is already there doing archeology work for Berkeley, in a place called Aomori. Anything to do around there?

    My Japanese is not so great (2nd year student) so I don't think i will be able to rely on it for communicating complicated messages. Aside from that, any suggestions as to what else to do?
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  2. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I'd like to go someday soon.

    IBCJPA
     
  3. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    I'll comment on this tomorrow--I need to squeeze in a couple eps of Ippo before bed
     
  4. Grifter

    Grifter Silver Member

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    3 days in tokyo wasnt near enough for me
    and much less the 1 days in osaka
    next time i want to spend an equal amt of time in osaka as tokyo
     
  5. blackrat

    blackrat OT Supporter

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    Ill be there too for the week of august 11 with a couple of friends, but you'll probably be out of Tokyo by then.

    This will be my second time there, I was in Tokyo for two weeks a couple of years ago. It was a lot of fun, there is plenty to see. I've been to other major cities and usually get bored after 3 or 4 days.

    I remember there being some issue with climbing Fuji when I went. Don't remember if it was a pita to get there or if it was off limits certain months of the year. I was there in April, so maybe it was still snow. Definitely check into that first before finalizing plans.

    Also keep in mind it's supposed to be ridiculously hot there in august. Visit the tsukuji (sp?) fish market in Tokyo when they are doing the auctions, it's a trip. You have to wake up really early but it's worth seeing, not to mention the food afterwards.

    I don't remember there being much of a nightlife in akihabara, but it was execellent and packed in shibuya. Shinjuku's kabukicho area is good too, but not as nice. Tourists go to Ropponji for the nightlife but I had more fun in the spots I mentioned. Definitely a better chance running into people who speak English in roppunji though, especially the "gas panic" bars/clubs.

    A day trip to Nikko is also well worth it, beautiful scenery.

    Feel free to ask any more questions, I'll try to answer them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2009
  6. Kira Yamato

    Kira Yamato New Member

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  7. Kafka

    Kafka New Member

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    Well I'm going to Japan, beat that. OWNED
     
  8. HaloZ

    HaloZ New Member

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    Nikko, Kegon Falls, Lake Chūzenji, and Irohazaka up and down hill are all together.

    you can do that all in one day but take your time if you can. i stayed at a hot spring hotel spa for 2 days up there. it was amazing.

    you can never have too much time in Tokyo. We stayed a few nights in Shiodome, and did shopping in Ginza, Harajuku, dropped a bit of cash in Kabukicho in Shinjuku :) , cruz the subways and the JRs, Meiji shrine, Tokyo Tower, palace gardens,

    http://www.photodump.org/stored26/Pana_of_Tokyo_2_Sm.jpg

    swing down and see Daikoku Futo, Wangan in a minivan, Yokohama, Chigasaki City Kanaqawa, Nissan's Zama garage.

    Aug 13th there is a Super GT race at Fuji Speedway, i did that too and was bad ass.

    just be aware, the road tolls are freaken high!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2009
  9. wufei

    wufei New Member

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    road tolls? I won't have a car, and will just be using public transport. Does that still apply somehow?

    Irohazaka eh?... initial d? :noes:

    For those that have been there, about how much did you spend per week on average? After the ticket and a 2 week rail pass i will have roughly 1k a week, and after speaking with some other people and doing some research online, i was told it would be a reasonable budget as long as I am thrifty (aka, around $60 a night hotels, eat ramen / takeout, don't buy anything insane etc), any more first hand experience?
     
  10. HaloZ

    HaloZ New Member

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    i went with a group and had it planned with a travel agency. and we had a bus or mini bus for all major transpo unless we where on out free time, when we took the subways and the JRs. so i wont bother telling you how much that was. =\

    and yes the same Irohazaka from InitialD.

    BTW, for shits and giggles, most of tokyo and osaka are on google street view.
     
  11. blackrat

    blackrat OT Supporter

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    I'd always heard that prices were high there, but didn't find that to be the case. With the exchange rate pretty even between the dollar and the yen and more importantly reasonable pricing you can expect to pay as much there as you would here to get by. A lot cheaper than western Europe. :o

    We ate on the cheap for the most part so meals were around $5-7. A decent restaurant will run you more of course, but I don't remember spending over $20 even at a nicer spot. Quite a few of my breakfasts and lunches consisted of a couple of sandwiches from the local 7-11 which are actually really good and only a couple of dollars each.

    We didn't have a rail pass but the subway was reasonably cheap anyway so even though we were using it all the time the costs weren't too out there. With your pass it'll be even better as you can get around the country for cheap. The train to Nikko was somewhat expensive I remember. Talking to some travelers there they all praised that rail pass so good deal on that if you use it correctly. Keep in mind the subway stops at 12 or 1am so if you're going out for the night far away and miss that last train you're going to be out till 6am unless you find alternate means. I remember a lot of places staying open till then so you will always have a place to go at least. You can crash at the local Mcdonalds if need be. :rofl:

    The first few nights were spent at an above average hotel in Shinjuku, two bed running around $120 a night split between two people. The remaining nights were spent at hostels which only cost around $35 to stay in the 6 bed clusters. Really good way to save money there, and you can also meet like minded people from around the world (usually Canada and Australia, no matter where in the world you visit :rofl:) to hang out with and learn about things to see you may have missed. Even the hardest thing about staying in a hostel, no privacy if you pick up on a girl on night, is moot because of the love hotels.

    I stayed here, decent location and good prices not to mention very clean. Kira will like the name of it :hsugh:

    http://www.sakura-hotel.co.jp/

    I'm a big fan of hostels as you may guess, but they're not for everyone. Even if you stay in traditional hotels, try to squeeze in one night in the capsule hotels just to say you did. It's not the best accommodations but an interesting experience. If you have any tattoos though, forget it as they don't allow people there with them. There are a bunch in Shinjuku and some all over the place.

    All told, I spent around $2000 there for two weeks and that was including gifts for family/friends, a few things for myself, and going out pretty frequently at night. Save money in the smart places (you don't need a fancy meal all the time, nor do you need a fancy hotel when for the most part the only time you are going to be there is when you're sleeping) and you'll have plenty to blow on things worth remembering.
     
  12. wufei

    wufei New Member

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    thanks for the reply blackrat, that helped a ton. :wavey:

    About how much would one have to pay a night for a place with it's own bath tub? I'm assuming the hostels may not have them but even then I am one of those people that spend a ridiculous amount of time keeping clean. :hs:
     
  13. blackrat

    blackrat OT Supporter

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    Some hostels have private rooms but private bathrooms are hit and miss. You may still have to share the communal bathroom. Do you need a bathtub or is a shower ok? Hell, even a lot of hotels are strictly shower. Just pickup a washrag or something there and you'll be ok, most places only supply towels.
     
  14. wufei

    wufei New Member

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    i called the sakura hotel in jimbocho they said they only had showers but the sakura hotel (seems to be the same company) in hatagaya said they do have bathtubs (the person there seemed to have a pretty good command of English i hope he heard right... I'll probably look up the words for bathrub in nihongo and call back again). I plan to spend the first week in tokyo and then the rest traveling so i guess i'll have to inquire on a case by case before booking.

    Any experiences with the "GRUTT" museum pass?

    I will be 21 by the time i'm there, a quick check says that 20 is the legal age for cigarettes / drinking / getting into bars. Will they take a California ID or is it really necessary to carry the passport everywhere (afraid of lost/stolen/damaged).
     
  15. blackrat

    blackrat OT Supporter

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    Called? You must have killer rates fir your international plan. :rofl:

    Yeah, hotel employees usually have a decent chance of speaking English. You won't be so lucky with random people or general stores though. My experience in other countries is that your drivers liscense works, but I tend to keep my passport on me anyway. I got stopped by the police after getting out of the bar there and they wanted to see my passport specifically. Honestly, you probably won't be carded for cigs and drink anyway.
     
  16. wufei

    wufei New Member

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    :coolugh:The phone calls were uber quick but yeah, think i will need a phone there? Did you have one? I don't think i'll get separated but just in case...
     
  17. blackrat

    blackrat OT Supporter

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    Personally? No. I brought my phone on my last trip just in case but I like to leave that stuff behind on vacation. Everyone is different but if someone wants to contact me while I'm away they can do it via email. Only was going to turn it on for emergancies but never needed it. Check your provider, if your phone is capable you can just roam on japan network. For AT&T it's $1.50 a minute. As far as keeping together with your travel partner, just have meeting spots and designated times. If someone missed a meeting spot than agree to turn on the phone after so and so time.

    If you do bring your phone over, be sure to turn data off, I've heard some stories where people forgot to turn off data and with hourly push ended up having a bill over a grand.
     
  18. HaloZ

    HaloZ New Member

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    some reposted info...

    most folks over there about 35 and under, know english, even if they play
    like they dont.

    if you are worried, carry your passport or at least a photocopy of it. i never needed it but im 33. but i left my PP in the hotel safes, and carried a photocopy.

    i took my phone also, but it didn't work with their system, so check and see if it will. and then get the international plan.

    also if you take credit cards, alert them you will be in japan with dates so they don't shut them off on you.

    one thing i did have an issue with was trying to find non-asprin. i would ask the guy working at 7-11 and they had no idea what i was talking about and i never really saw it around.

    while the cigs are sold in vending mech, you need a card for those, so you will have to get them at the stores.

    i also took most of my cash and had it exchanged in Narita airport. they had the best rates when i was looking around. their ATMs are hit and miss with working with out cards.

    if you are a big guy, make sure you also take enough clothes, mainly shoes.

    the all in one washer/dryer suck ass. dont waist yout time/money on them.
     
  19. wufei

    wufei New Member

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    Why would they play like they don't know English? How sneaky :squint:

    Ah, good call I will notify my cred card companies.

    Any particular hotels / lodgings that you would recommend staying at, at any of those locations?
     
  20. Sekuhara

    Sekuhara FIGHT THE POWER

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    i'll be there later this summer

    be back in this thread later
     
  21. HaloZ

    HaloZ New Member

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    i'll look up the hot springs hotel close to Nikko in the morning, other than that, you don't what to stay at the places i was at. most where in the 150-250 a night range.

    some ppl don't /wont speak english BC they embarrassed of their skills or lack of. and some just don't like americans.

    after a few days, you might notice yourself changing your speech patterens to a more simple structure also after ppl looking at you very confused if you use a lot of words.
     
  22. blackrat

    blackrat OT Supporter

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    one thing about the international plans, at least for at&t, it wasn't worth it to use theirs unless you were making a lot of calls. International plan for the month was a sizable amount of money and all it did was lower the minute rates from $1.50 to $0.99. Data was $50 for 20 megs :ugh:

    Good call on everything else though. Somehow I was somehow able to find a pair of size 14 sandals at some general store. :rofl: A store selling SBs and similar shoes only carried up to size 10 though.

    And also, I am not a fan of exchange stations. They charge high rates. I have WAMU (Chase now) and they just pulled a small percentage (1%) off of every ATM withdrawal. I found that a lot more reasonable. Citibank is fairly common over there and you can pull money from them no problem. That was the only spot I withdrawled from in Japan, but I've been able to pull out money no problem in every other country I've been to from any ATM. Haloz has a point though and some might not work. If you have a more money hungry bank (BOA) the story might be different though. Call them and find out. Either way, pulling money from an ATM is almost definitely a better deal than the stations if you do the math right (if your bank has a higher penalty then pull out a good lump, otherwise just do a general pull every few days as necessary).
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2009
  23. wufei

    wufei New Member

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    Anyone have any experience with "toyoko" inns?

    Also, since i plan to stay in tokyo for the first week, and then spend the next 2 weeks traveling, should i buy just a 2 week rail pass? or 3 week? I'm told you can use them on the shinkansens, trains and some buses, but what about the subway stations of major cities? I'm thinking if i plan to just stay within tokyo for the first week i don't know if it is necessary, unless of course it applies to the subway.
     
  24. Sekuhara

    Sekuhara FIGHT THE POWER

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    applies to like all JR stuff, you can use it for most

    in tokyo you'll be using trains more than the subway

    only really worth getting the pass if you'll use shinkansen a few times or more
     
  25. wufei

    wufei New Member

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    plan to see,

    kyoto,
    yokohama
    hiroshima
    okinawa


    :wavey: worth it yet?

    edit: actually is there a site with what the cost of a ticket would be between distances? I'm having trouble finding this info.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009

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