If you like fun footage you might like this one. A short feature of four friends traveling from Sydney to the Gold Coast. All footage captured through iPhone.
Now that I’m nearing the end of my stay in Tokyo, I’m going to list out the top five things you’re going to need to know when visiting Tokyo under 90 days. If this is your first time it might be useful. I hope this helps you or someone you know.
1. STAY CALM
Right after you leave the airport you’re in for a rush of busy activity. Tokyo is a big city with small corners and bright lights. I seems like every one is in some sort of rush to go somewhere. If your Japanese language skills aren’t up to par the idea of getting around the city can be quite intimidating. Don’t worry! Most places have integrated english into their signage. This includes Trains, Maps, Menus and others. Some Japanese around town know a small bit of english so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
2. Buy a Suica card at the Airport
A Sucia card is a like a charge card for for the JR trains & Subway system of Tokyo. You can even use the Suica to buy any items at connivence stores like 711, Family Mart and Lawsons. It’s a good item to have if you don’t understand the subway system. All you have to do is swipe over the over the entry gate and go! The scanner at the gate is so strong you can even swipe through your wallet, like most Japanese.
3. Do your research
Every country has different holidays, weather patterns and special occasions. These instances can change your experience dramatically. For instance if you’re traveling to Japan around New Years time. During New years most Japanese will be on holiday, therefore students are out of school, people are off work and lines maybe longer at your popular attractions (Disneyland, Concerts, etc).
4. Look to purchase everything before you enter Japan if you can
There are a bunch of sweet deals you can get while you’re outside Japan that can’t get while inside. Like for instance the JR pass. The JR pass is a ticket that will allow you ride the Shinkansen (bullet train) and all JR trains as many times as you want for a select amount of days. This item is important if you want to travel to other major cities like Kobe, Kyoto or Osaka. Once your inside you cannot purchase this ticket and it will cost you each way around $150. Yikes!
5. No free wifi
Most places in the US and in Canada have options for free wifi. In Japan this is not true. Free wifi is almost impossible to find. If you do find it it super slow or really hard to connect to your favorite social media apps. I would set up to rent a internet dongle at the airport. This way you can use your personal device at your connivence. If you must search around for free wifi here are a few options I’ve found. Other than that you’re on your own.
7eleven / look for “7spot”
Some malls and subway / look for “wifine”
The Apple store
Tokyo station and major stations / look for “JR East wifi”
Other than that you’re on your own. Have fun!
For those who have been following my Twitter, Instagram or other social media streams you know I have been using the hashtag #FlyingGaijin. After I recieved a few questions about it I realized I failed to tell you what that means. Duh! I assumed everyone spoke Japanese.
Flyin = Flying (You all know this)
Gaijin (sounds like Guy jean)= Japanese term for foreigner, alien or outsider
Simple enough right? If you didn’t know any Japanese at all this is your first successful lesson!
New Years in Japan is slightly different vs being in America. The Japanese use this time as a time for reflection prayer in temples rather than partying in the street. The Japanese have a custom of sending New Year’s Day postcards (年賀状 nengajō?) to their friends and relatives, similar to the Western custom of sending Christmas cards.
At midnight on December 31, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells a total of 108 times (除夜の鐘 joyanokane) to symbolize the 108 human sins in Buddhist belief, and to get rid of the 108 worldly desires regarding sense and feeling in every Japanese citizen. A major attraction is The Watched Night bell, in Tokyo. Japanese believe that the ringing of bells can rid off their sins during the previous year. After they are done ringing the bells, they celebrate and feast on soba noodles
That being said since I already visited the Sensoji Temple earlier in my trip I figured I would try to find a area where people were going crazy in the streets. This video is a short clip of the Shibuya station after the count down.
The holiday season is here again and chances are you or someone you know is traveling somewhere. My questions is, what’s in your flight bag? Everyone packs different things in their carry on bag. My bag seems to be very tech dominated, while your’s could be mostly snacks, make up or entertainment magazines. Show me what you got! Safe travels.
Carry on Bag (Briggs and Riley) contents:
Bose (noise canceling headphones)
Extra clothes (Rolled not folded)