Another month and another set of hints and highlights for Japan.
- No, someone has not been sat on the toilet for a long time before you. Most, if not all, of the toilet seats are heated in Japan. They can also hide your farts with water noises, spray air freshener and clean you, front and back…just make sure you turn the pressure down on that one!
- When crossing the road, you must use a crossing or when at traffic lights wait for the little man to turn green, even if theres no traffic coming. Not doing so could earn you more than a few tuts from the locals.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially in the subway. They will go above and beyond to help you, roping in other people if they can’t give you the correct answer. Even if you look lost, you may be offered help without even asking for it.
- Avoid booking into a ‘Love hotel’. Though they may look nice and the prices seem cheap, these quotes tend to be for the hour, and not the night. Plus the title ’Love hotel’ stands for exactly that, most couples come to these hotels for a little bit (or a lot) of sexual activity. However, if you chat to the younger locals about these hotels they will probably recommend checking one out, just for the rotating beds and freebies.
- Most restaurants allow smoking, so if you don’t smoke yourself, make sure you ask to be seated in the no smoking area. These areas are normally smaller and have the less comfy chairs.
- Make sure you get your lazy arse up in the morning to see anything you want to see. Most sights/attractions/temples or anything really, are overcrowded by 11.30am.
- Travel can be expensive. Research JR passes to see if they will work for you.
- Food is also costly, so if on a budget visit the supermarkets and 7/11's after 7pm, here you'll be able to pick up some tasty meals for less than half price!
It has been difficult to choose a few highlights from Japan as it has all been so amazing. Each city has something completely different to offer. However, we have come up with a list of some of our favourite moments…
For Kyle, stepping off the train in Hakone and escaping city life was a refreshing break which he needed. Walking around Lake Ashi and through the mountains was peaceful, and made even better when we caught our first glimpse of Mt.Fuji. Kyle also enjoyed Osaka, a little grungier than the rest of Japan. The streets aren’t as clean, and the people not so polite, but you get a real taste of Japan. All of the bright lights which you see in the guidebooks, and a little anime thrown in too.
I loved Nara, and could of wandered around the park for days! There were so many different temples, shrines and statues to be found, and the people were some of the friendliest which we have come across. Hiroshima is where I’d love to live though, filled with history it has a lot of stories to tell. I like the feel of Hiroshima, and how it seems a little bit behind everywhere else in terms of technology and skyscrapers. Plus its a great combination of city and country life with all the surrounding mountains.
We have both found the people in Japan to be so friendly and polite, even the children have impeccable manners. Unlike at home, you could leave your laptop, phone and keys in a busy bar, return in an hour and still find them exactly where you left them. Signs of honesty are everywhere, from the ticketed bus systems to the boxes in temples for your fortunes, the Japanese trust each other to pay where they should.
It has been a truly memorable experience, and I would love to return and explore the parts we weren't able to reach this time. Only next time I wouldn't come on a budget!
So until next Japan...Thank you!
Love Carrie xxx