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Thread: Travel to Japan - need advice please

  1. #11
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    We took the Best of Japan tour and yes, it was packed and we were on the go. Thankfully, it was a small group of adults and we were all experienced and pretty relaxed. The "gardens" in Japan are often large parks because such expanses of parkland are considered rare and beautiful tourist areas for the Japanese.

    I needed more free time to explore and finally realized that I would have to come back. Too often I wanted to say wait, what is this? and the group was a block down the street. My favorite memories are when we got to go alone and explore and talk to people (or try to). It is just the trade off to get the tour guide and the wonderful help with the whole transportation issue.


    Steve: we had the funny experience of going into a restaurant and sitting down because there were menus and a waitress. Nothing happened. Watched when the next people came in and they went over to the "automatic machine" on the wall to place their order and pay and then sat down. We walked over to it and everything was in Japanese. So we waved the waitress over and she helped us while laughing at the foreigners. The whole place was run by the waitress and the cook and it was pretty large.

    Another experience our group had several times was at the 7-11s where we changed our money at the ATMs. We would all buy things to change the large denomination notes and the cashiers kept giving us extra things. Finally found out they were having a contest of some kind and these were our winnings. One member got a bottle of wine.

  2. #12
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post
    So we waved the waitress over and she helped us while laughing at the foreigners. The whole place was run by the waitress and the cook and it was pretty large.
    One gets used to sticking out as a Westerner in Japan (or should!). The place you visited sounds iike the place we visited!

    Even common social practices engendered a lot of thinking. Like veering to the right to avoid sidewalk pedestrian/bicycle collisions; in Japan, they veer to the left; never quite got used to that. Another: we just walked into a restaurant. Aside from everyone taking a look at us when we walked in, there's this sign on a stand by the door. In America it would say "Please wait to be seated" or "Please seat yourself". But it's in Japanese only. Which is it this time? Awkward waiting ensued.

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post
    Another experience our group had several times was at the 7-11s where we changed our money at the ATMs. We would all buy things to change the large denomination notes and the cashiers kept giving us extra things. Finally found out they were having a contest of some kind and these were our winnings. One member got a bottle of wine.
    While visiting a temple in Kyoto, we were approached numerous times by primary-school children on field trips; they asked us to write our names and hometown on paper they provided -- apparently they got extra credit for approaching Westerners and practicing their English (or at least enough to ask for the information).

    Hmm. Maybe I need to start planning the bucket-list trip...
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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