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The Official "I'm going to Japan, help pls" thread



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The Official "I'm going to Japan, help pls" thread
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Mr Waffle
TEH WAFFLES!!11!


Joined: 18 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Chocobahn wrote:
Is there any places good to visit in Kyoto besides the Nijo castle, Kiyomizu temple, golden & silver pavillion? I'm planning to spend 7 days there, so there should be plenty of time to do many things in Kyoto.


I suggest a trek up the Inari Fox shrine, it's a path that leads up a mountainside and you can see out over Kyoto from the top, while walking through a beautiful forest filled with shrines. If you've got a spiritual bone in your body you'll find it an amazing experience. Allow a good half-day for it or more, and plenty of yen for drinks (or a backpack filled with cheaper ones before you get to the mountain Wink)

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3915.html

If you're stuck for ideas when you get there, hit the tourism centre at the top of the shopping centre attached to the main Kyoto Station, they have all sorts of info there. I only spent a day in Kyoto so I can't be of much more use... but, I also suggest just walking through a regular suburb and taking in how different life is compared to some of the other cities. And then stopping at one of the vending machines and buying a litre or two of beer.
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mrgazpacho
Koyomi Mizuhara


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Heian Jingu is really nice as well. The garden behind it is well worth the extra fee, too.

The Imperial Palace tour is good too, but the MIBs watch you like a hawk.
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mattt
Hajime Saitou


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Chocobahn wrote:
Is there any places good to visit in Kyoto besides the Nijo castle, Kiyomizu temple, golden & silver pavillion? I'm planning to spend 7 days there, so there should be plenty of time to do many things in Kyoto.


Look in the Lonely Planet - from memory it has a lot of nice walking tours laid out for Kyoto. I didnt do them, but my friend did. They kind of wind around some parts around centrlaish Kyoto, Gion, and other places. I think evening is best to do them too.

Kyomizudera is really nice. Also, if you plan ahead, you can organise to go into the old imperial garden area. I cant remember exactly where in Kyoto it is, but travel guides will tell you what to do. They only open it twice a year for Japanese people, but foreign tourists can get in anytime as long as they ring in advance.
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Raven Xavier
Usagi Tsukino


Joined: 08 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
One tip for travlling round kyoto, unlke tokyo Buses/tram are the dominant form of public transport. They're cheap, relativley clean and get you almost anywhere.
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Chocobahn
Mint Blancmanche


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks, guys. I'm sure I'll find some interesting places to go.

They all sound like a great idea. Maybe I'll do them all.
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andrelimfj
Hajime Saitou


Joined: 10 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hey guys, i'm confused about locations in Tokyo and i hope someone can help me.

About the district Shibuya, where is Shibuya-ku, i have heard that it is in Harajuku, is that true?

Do anyone know where the Square Enix character goods store is? Their site dont really give a good indication of where it is.

And i read that Japan has really weird vending machines. But i only found mostly drinks and tabacco vending machines. What are the weird vending machines?

Lastly, when i went to Akihabara, there is not many maid cafes around, i saw only maid massages. Wheres all the cafes??
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mrgazpacho
Koyomi Mizuhara


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
andrelimfj wrote:

About the district Shibuya, where is Shibuya-ku, i have heard that it is in Harajuku, is that true?


Other way around - Harakjuku is within the ward ("ku") of Shibuya. Note that there are separate Harajuku and Shibuya railway stations - you can see the relationship on this map: http://www.tcvb.or.jp/en/infomation/2area/map/08map_sibuya.html

andrelimfj wrote:

And i read that Japan has really weird vending machines. But i only found mostly drinks and tabacco vending machines. What are the weird vending machines?


I think most of the really dodgy ones have been removed. I suppose the ice-cream ones are cool, and the beer ones are fun as well.

andrelimfj wrote:

Lastly, when i went to Akihabara, there is not many maid cafes around, i saw only maid massages. Wheres all the cafes??


There should still be a few around, although I suppose most people wouldn't tell you where they were, even if they knew Razz
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Mr. Wendal
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The underwear vending machines is an urban myth.

The weirdest thing I've seen is hot coffee. Not very weird.
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Raven Xavier
Usagi Tsukino


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

these are all cafe's. One i think is a bar.
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lordCONAN
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Mr. Wendal wrote:
The underwear vending machines is an urban myth.

The weirdest thing I've seen is hot coffee. Not very weird.


Snopes says otherwise.
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philnicau
Lin Minmay


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Mr. Wendal wrote:
The underwear vending machines is an urban myth.

The weirdest thing I've seen is hot coffee. Not very weird.


Not an Urban Myth, i've seen them, they weren't out on the Streets though they were found in the Sex shops in places like Shinjuku in the late 90s, but i believe there pretty well gone now (i seem to remember there was a crack down on them).
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Sakuya
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I dunno if it consitutes as weird but I bought Pinky St. little figurines out of vending machines in Shibuya.

Back to Japan again at end of Feb !! YEAH !!

Was there earlier this year.. wonder if anything will change in the 1 and half months I'm gone.. like maybe PANTS VENDING MACHINE!
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lordCONAN
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've bought cup noodles from a vending machine ... inside a capsule hotel.
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mrgazpacho
Koyomi Mizuhara


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Sakuya wrote:
PANTS VENDING MACHINE!


LOL that sounded far too enthusiastic Laughing
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lordCONAN
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Actually, that reminds me, at the capsule hotel they also had underwear (brand new), business shirts, and other apparel in a vending machine.
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Mr. Wendal
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
So i woke up this morning, looked out my window and saw this ...



WOOO! SNOW!

It's the first time ever i've seen snow and i couldn't stop smiling all day. I've still got a big stupid grin on my face.

Excuse me, i've got to go make some snowballs and put them in the freezer so they last.
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lordCONAN
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Lol, its snowed a few times here in Hiro, and I must admit, the first time I saw it, I thought it was fkn wikid. Ive already been skiing twice, might be going again next weekend too. It rocks.
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Raven Xavier
Usagi Tsukino


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
oooo so jealous. I would love to go to sapporo for the snow matsuri.
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TidalWave_Jeannette
Mayuko Chigasaki


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 2:01 am    Post subject: Jeannette wanna know... Reply with quote
...where she:

1. Can find the stuff to make her geisha outfit.
2. Where the good lesbian places are.
3. To find a hot Japanese lesbian princess to love.
4. A nice quiet place to live in, but not too far from Tokyo. And some other things.
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lordCONAN
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Lesbians don't exist in Japan. Like all crime, its a foreignor thing, not Japanese.
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Mr. Wendal
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Apparently there are only like 2 or 3 lesbian bars in the whole of Tokyo.
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GoktimusPrime
Lin Minmay


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
about the used undies vending machine thing - they were outlawed because of they violated hygene laws.
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mattt
Hajime Saitou


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Mr. Wendal wrote:
Apparently there are only like 2 or 3 lesbian bars in the whole of Tokyo.


I find that hard to believe... I mean there's a whole 'gay' district in Tokyo, and Osaka too. Just like anywhere, you'd need to know where to look. Or you can find it by accident like I did when I went shopping once! Razz "Oh what does this shop sell? Oh..... @_@" hahaha

lordCONAN is right to an extent... Japanese people dont know much about it, but it's not because theyre homophobic or anything like that, Japan just doesnt have *any* of that "we're here, we're queer" stuff that Western countries tend to have.
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Mr. Wendal
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I heartily recommend the Hokkaido Snow Festival (yuki matsuri) to you all. I went with 2 friends and my brother, got back yesterday. It's easily the best vacation I ever had. If you've seen a lot of snow before though you might not be as excited as i was. Photo time:



This photo was taken on the top of a mountain overlooking Sapporo city. The two people are me and my friend angela trying (and failing) to make a snowman. The photo was taken by my brother inside a restaurant that is on top of the mountain, accessable by cable car.

Doesn't get any better than that. We spent all day and half the night up there. Wine keeps you warm in the cold.
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mrgazpacho
Koyomi Mizuhara


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Mr. Wendal wrote:
I heartily recommend the Hokkaido Snow Festival (yuki matsuri) to you all. I


Maybe next year. Wait, dammit - I want to go to Yokohama in August for WorldCon. Grrr stupid events conspiring with the calendar against my wallet.
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andrelimfj
Hajime Saitou


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I may plan another trip to Tokyo. But I have to cut down on accomodation fees.

Anyone know any cheap accomodations in Tokyo?
Sleeping on the street is not an option, but i read that manga cafes have a night pack or something. Charging about $14 a night, its pretty neat if i stay there, Laughing .

About capsule hotels, where are they located, and how much they charge per night? I need to have as many options available as possible.
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lordCONAN
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Capsule hotels are around $30 a night mark. They're pretty cool, as long as you don't mind confined spaces. The lounge rooms are cool, except for the obscene amount of smoke, but theres no smoking near the capsules themselves, so that's ok. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if it's common or not, but the capsule I stayed in had very little in the way of climate control. So unfortunately, it was really gagagoogoo hot in there, too hot to sleep (I think I had a slight fever at the time too though). But I would probably go back if I needed accommodation quickly. That said, there was also free porn on the tv inside the capsule.

As for other forms of cheap accomm. Net cafes seem like a good option, but I've yet to do that. On more than one occaision I've slept in a karaoke booth, but this is better value if you actually sing, make use of the all you can drink, and have a few people. That said it's not very comfortable, your skin sticking to the couch like a leather sofa, and theres not really any showers there.
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Mr Waffle
TEH WAFFLES!!11!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Do a google search for Ryokan. "Traditional" Japanese inns, they're usually fairly cheap (not as cheap of as capsules though), and it seems most have western toilet facilities Wink I stayed in one if Tokyo near Asakusa and it was fantastic.

Probably a lot better value if you're travelling with another person, as usual... I think we paid 6000 yen/night for 2. Make sure you stay at one within a few minutes of a station...

Another option is youth hostels. Look up the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) for more details, their website has links to hostels in Japan.
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Mr. Wendal
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Capsule hotels are actually quite expensive in central Tokyo, but then again, so is everything. I think they are up towards 5000 yen or more.
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coldfire
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ok im thinking of goin tojapan for about a week next year around june and wanted to stay in tokyo for a few days to get all my anime fixes and other electronic shopping done as well as take a look around for anything touristy.
Can anyone suggest where i could spend the rest of my time as i would like see some of the city and country areas of japan.
another question. wat are the current custom laws on weapons as i would like to bring a katana home if i can find a nice one and im not saying i will but any h material.
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Zenon
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Just got offered a teaching position for a year in Kamiooka, near Yokohama (30 minutes south of Tokyo).

I'm going to accept the offer because apparently Kamiooka is a residential area which is quite close to shops and things and only 13 minutes from Yokohama which is a pretty large city.

I was wondering if anyone had been there (or near there) and could tell me what it was like? Thanks.
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lordCONAN
Melfina


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm pretty sure Yuni lives in the Yokohama region, try PMing her. I met up with her when I was in Tokyo for New Years, and I believe she's still over here.
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Mr. Wendal
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I live within a stones throw, if I could throw stones 10km.

Whaddya wanna know?

Quite close to shops? You're not living in the sticks. There'll probably be 4 convienience stores and a supermarket right outside your front door. Yokohama has a population of about 3 million, the size of Melbourne give or take. Yeah Yuni lives near you I think, I think I gave her some advice a couple of pages back, have a looksie. I've never met her though.

Send me a PM if you have any questions or anything.
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Zenon
Minawa Andou


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Mr. Wendal wrote:
I live within a stones throw, if I could throw stones 10km.

Whaddya wanna know?

Quite close to shops? You're not living in the sticks. There'll probably be 4 convienience stores and a supermarket right outside your front door.



Sorry if you took offense, but he said it was residential so that's what I assumed. I haven't been to Japan before. And believe me, I know what it's like to live in the sticks and Japan doesn't come to mind.
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Mr. Wendal
Cagalli Yula Attha


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I wasn't offended. At all. Must be the whole "can't tell the tone of my voice when you're reading my text off the internet" kinda thing.
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mrgazpacho
Koyomi Mizuhara


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I dunno about living there, but I hope to travel to Yokohama at the end of Summer next year to see WorldCon, so any interesting tidbits about the place are welcome Very Happy
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Janos
Doraemon


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Okay, so I went to Japan for two weeks in January (I saw the snow too). And one thing that struck me (not with surprise, mind you) was the Eastern Style toilets. Baffling. I hated them. So here we go.

Toilets

Okay, so we all know about the differences in toilets?

You have Western style, which is self explanatory. Go in, sit down, do your thing.

However, in Japan, they have managed to transform their WC's into Rubik's Cubes. Imagine a urinal. Now lay it on its back and sink it into the floor. Tah-da! Japanese toilet. I honestly tried to work 'em out, but I figured "I only have so many pairs of clean pants" so I gave up.

However, there is a loophole. You will almost always find a disabled toilet near the "normal" ones. It is always western. (you can't expect a guy in a wheelchair to try his luck with the other kind) Shocked

That is possibly the best advice you can get from me.

Hiroshima Shopping

Okay, so if you ever find yourself in Hiroshima (as many Japanese people do) I found (read: stumbled on) a few good places to buy...things.

First up, at Hiroshima Station, there is a 6 floor department store called GiGa to the left of the main exit. 3rd floor is books and manga, 2nd is DVDs and music, 4th is Games. There's a big arcade at the top.

Also if you follow the tram tracks from the city station, they'll take you straight to Hondori Shopping Street. There are heaps of things to see there, including department stores, a HMV, Sega World, and a Mr Donut (which is now my favourite place. Ever)

A cheap lunch for me was a pack of Pocky and carton of milk from Lawson'sRazz

A wander around between the DeoDeo department store and the river will lead you to this big anime store. I got a FMA calendar for $10, and upstairs is a store called "MelonBooks"(or MeronBooks, they couldn't stay consistent) where they sell doujinshi and less "family friendly" manga and dating sims. Me and my mate walked in Shocked "Edward Elric should not have teh bewbs" and slowly backed out.

A little more walking will get you to the A-Bomb dome and Peace Museum, where the comments in the guest book range from "we should apologise to the Japanese for WWII(not just the bombs, apparently)" to "kill all Americans for killing Japanese" Rolling Eyes

If you ever get lost, the tram tracks will guide you.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Whew, I wrote a lot huh? I still have more though, I might post it some other time for anyone interested. I think lordCONAN lives there, so he'd know more than me.
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Raven Xavier
Usagi Tsukino


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Janos wrote:

A little more walking will get you to the A-Bomb dome and Peace Museum, where the comments in the guest book range from "we should apologise to the Japanese for WWII(not just the bombs, apparently)" to "kill all Americans for killing Japanese" Rolling Eyes


lol I wrote an entry in the guest book on behalf of the madboards when I was last thee in september. Very Happy
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Janos
Doraemon


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I just wrote "depressing". We got nasty looks from a bunch of people at the fountain that were there for a service.
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lordCONAN
Melfina


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yeah, I live in Hiro, so if you have any questions, shoot.
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Hagane No Renkinjutsushi
Mayuko Chigasaki


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
anyone teaching english over there? is it a financially sustainable career option
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Melfina


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Location: Tsurumi-cho, Hiroshima

PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I don't know if you'd want to make it a career option. That's kind of like saying, is being a MacDonalds server (not manager) a career option. Sure the salary of a teacher is very easy to live on, but I wouldn't want to try to support a whole family on it. And it really isn't the kind of job you'd want to make a career out of. Unless you taught at a uni or actual school.
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Mr. Wendal
Cagalli Yula Attha


Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 2549
Location: Teaching English in Japan

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's financially stable enough, the money ain't bad. It ain't good either.

But yeah, once you become a teacher, there really is no corporate ladder to climb or anything, and little opportunity for advancement to anything serious enough to worry about. Any promotion you get just lands you more admin work, less actual teaching.
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Yuni
Motoko Kusanagi


Joined: 11 Aug 2003
Posts: 800
Location: Melbourne

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
what lordconan and mr wendal said.

also, i work part time for nova DONOTEVERWORKFORNOVA and i can survive on the money they pay me. if you drink and go out for dinner every night, you might find yourself short. if you have to send money home to pay off some loan, you'd also be a bit tight.

i don't really do either so i can afford a monthly splurge at akihabara or tower records. i usually try to travel somewhere for the weekend once a month. that might be about $500 a month.

so yeah, the money is adequate, but i really don't recommend teaching for more than a year, two years tops. the other gaijin here that have been here for several years tend to be incredibly bitter and jaded aggressive go-getters. just stay here for a year or so for a great holiday.

if you want to stay for longer, try to change to your preferred career, like computing for example - you'll be happier. but you will need to be pretty good at speaking japanese for most jobs outside of teaching.

blatant plug: http://teach.3yen.com this and www.3yen.com are resource sites for people thinking about living in japan.
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Yuni
Motoko Kusanagi


Joined: 11 Aug 2003
Posts: 800
Location: Melbourne

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
mrgazpacho wrote:
I dunno about living there, but I hope to travel to Yokohama at the end of Summer next year to see WorldCon, so any interesting tidbits about the place are welcome Very Happy


what's a worldcon?

when i found out i was going to live in yokohama as opposed to my requested tokyo, i was a little disappointed. i thought it was kinda like being sent to geelong when you wanted melbourne.

i still *kinda* feel that way but remember that this "geelong" has the population of melbourne and this "melbourne" has the population of all australia.

yokohama is a nice place to live, and you can be entertained here, but i'm a harajuku and akihabara fangirl, so that's where i spend most of my weekends. it's only a 25 minute train ride to shibuya from yokohama.

there are some interesting things here, like the ramen and curry museums, sakuragicho, minato mirai, the stadium if you're into baseball, then nearby is kamakura and the u.s. naval base in yokosuka.

but you can see all of these things within a few weeks of living in yokohama. tokyo has more of interest *and* if you travel a bit further, chiba is a smaller yokohama/kanagawa, with disneyland. tokyo seems to be always changing too, so i think there's more to do in tokyo than yokohama.

nightlife in yokohama is fine, but of course, it's bigger, brighter and more expensive in tokyo. also means that you either go home early with the last train or stay out all night.

basically, tokyo is more fun than yokohama, but yokohama does have it's merits. and since it's so close to tokyo, it hardly matters anyway.

the one upside of yokohama over tokyo: it's cheaper to live there.
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mrgazpacho
Koyomi Mizuhara


Joined: 13 Aug 2001
Posts: 1811
Location: Wollongong, NSW, AUSTRALIA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yuni wrote:

what's a worldcon?


Basically the world science fiction convention. I've been to the Tokyo Anime Fair but at least WorldCon should have lots of English for a dumb gaijin like me... Laughing

I've been to Tokyo about 5 times already so don't need to be told of its attractions Cool Just wanted to know if any Yokohama fans wanted to extol its virtues Very Happy
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Ahazmaksya
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Joined: 13 Feb 2001
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
What's the weather like in Tokyo, in late December? Obviously its Winter, but how cold does it really get etc
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Mr. Wendal
Cagalli Yula Attha


Joined: 18 Oct 2001
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Location: Teaching English in Japan

PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The coldest part of winter is late jan-feb. In Dec it's still pretty cold, but it varies. You have some days where the max is like 4 degrees. It doesnt rain much in december though.

If you want to know more im sure you could find out by googling tokyo weather forecast.
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lordCONAN
Melfina


Joined: 03 Apr 2003
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Location: Tsurumi-cho, Hiroshima

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hiroshima FTW.

That's all.
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stone_monkey
Team Edward FTW!!!


Joined: 01 Dec 2000
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Location: In the forest with Edward Cullen!!

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
LC: what are these Capsule Hotels like?

Are they all over Japan? and are they safe for a 22 year old to use for a week?
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