Japanese way

+Tokyo

Angie, was asking me about Japan and I made a comment that it was going to be very different. She asked me about how I feel it would be different from where I have been before.

I promised to do a blog post about my thoughts before and afterwards. So take this one as my before…

Bear in mind I have spent most of my life in the west, having only gone as far east as Stockholm, Sweden up till 3 years ago. Recently I went to Istanbul, Turkey (that didn’t turn out so well), so I have no experience beyond the middle east. However I have been a consumer of Japanese culture in multiple forms. Manga, Technology, Toys, etc…

Its would be fair to say Japanese culture is quite different. I am expecting a Tokyo to be thriving metropolis like the time I spent in New York, London, Chicago and Toronto. Theres going to be a lot of people around, like a silly amount of people. I’m expecting most people to be shorter than the average in New York and London. I’m also expecting some funny looks as people wonder why I’m there. Not in a hateful way, just a curious way.

I heard conflicting reports about the amount of English which is spoken, so I am preparing myself for little to no verbal communication which is going to be hard when telling people I may die if I eat fish, seafood, etc.

My thoughts on Japanese culture isn’t based on the media alone. When I got divorced, I shared the house with a Japanese lady who was wonderful. I lost contact with her when I moved to Manchester but we did talk about Japan and even she said dont go because you will die. We also talked about the school girl thing (which I find very weird and creepy) and the strict social hierarchy’s which are being overthrown.

Like most countries the capital isnt much like the rest of the country but I know Angie wanted my stereotypes not this wishy washy overview. So here you go…

  • I’m expecting to face a few delicate situations about race.
  • I’m expecting to get lost a few times and not really have help getting back
  • I’m expecting my size (height and weight) to cause at least one problem
  • I’m expecting at least one person to touch my hair or poke me in some way.
  • I’m expecting at least one allergic reaction and the chaos which will come from not being able to commutate what’s happened.
  • I’m expecting to end up with no cash sometime and being slightly stuck.

I’ll do a after review once I’m back…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

11 thoughts on “Japanese way”

  1. Thanks for writing this post. Glad to see the bullet points!
    Is Akihabara the main thing you’re looking forward to? Do you think you’ll be able to hold back or will your travel companion(s) need to restrain you at the payment tills?

    1. Ha thanks Angie… Yes Akihabara is going to be my downfall 🙂 I’ll have to hide my credit card and limit my cash.
      Always said I was worried about dying and also coming back dead broke…

      1. Expect the worst, hope for the best. I doubt anyone will touch your hair, bumping into people is inevitable in crowds and rush hour traffic. Looking forward to the after post. Have a great trip.

  2. I had the pleasure of visiting Japan four times with my ex (her parents lived in Roppongi in Tokyo). I absolutely loved every trip there. We visited Osaka, Nagasaki, Yokohama and several other places outside of Tokyo. I never felt unsafe and the language barrier was rarely an issue. I was fortunate to be travelling with a native speaker but regardless of that within Tokyo most signs are written in English along with a variety of Japanese scripts. I’m sure that Japan will exceed your expectations in every way. Have an excellent trip!

  3. Get a card printed (in Japanese) that explains what you can’t eat and what will happen if you do. Then show it every time you order food.
    Handy approach whenever you’re traveling to somewhere you can’t communicate easily.

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