|Japan: Lessons Learned
||[Oct. 22nd, 2008|04:19 pm]
It's very tiring to be the only person in the group that speaks Japanese.
I have little familiarity with what's popular these days in anime; most of my interests are so old that if I were to ask the average person in Animate if they had heard of them, I wouldn't be surprised to get a blank stare.
The staff at the JR lost-and-found (at least for the Shinkansen Toukaidou line) respect the idea of service, despite the fact that their job revolves around dealing with the mistakes of others.
Rolling bags are good. Backpacks aren't. (Akiba's too crowded -- it's hard enough to squeeze yourself through the 'aisles' between shelves.) And it's not unreasonable to buy a pouch (the uneducated might call it a 'purse') to hold your electronic dictionary seperately.
I'm not sure I want to remember it, but we found a great store in Akiba for addressing the widest range of sexual fantasies in the least amount of floor space.
God, I wish there was a real, honest to God, Japanese-style pan-ya in the United States. I want bread stuffed with potatoes, or bacon, or cheese, or just so awesomely soft that it melts in your mouth. I want savory. Save me from danishes.
It is easy to get a good strawberry cake in Japan. Even when the restaurant we visited couldn't find a decently-cooked, decently-priced meal with a compass and a map (admittedly, finding anything is harder in Japan), their strawberry cake was just fine.
Learning how to read those useful maps set up over most(?) of Tokyo is an incredibly useful skill. Determining what streets made it onto the map and didn't on the store map you downloaded from the internet is not fun.
"The * line" is not always just one track. For example, the Ito line has two branches, one of which does NOT go to Izukyu-shimoda. Also, when you get off the Yamanote line (/out of Tokyo?) it is possible that a platform (as in a single side) serves two different trains.
Your purchases will expand to fit the available space in your luggage. If you have space, you will buy more.
You can't mail liquor out of either FedEx OR the post office to the US. If you try (at least at FedEx), the nice Japanese lady behind the desk will break into hysterical laughter. You can take 5 liters of alcohol back with you in your checked luggage.
When separating your baggage, you should make really, extra-special, absolutely sure you didn't forget one of your medications, particularly not the one that has a very strict schedule.
A very, very good pair of shoes is required for a trip to Japan. Do not wear sandles, do not wear dress shoes, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Shoes make an incredible difference.
Pasela's karaoke library is beyond impressive. It's phenomenal. Also, while it's not advertised on their website, their electronic karaoke browsing/ordering system supports English just fine. Also, they will let you extend your time, given that your room isn't going to someone else shortly.
There's probably several lessons I missed, but here's a first shot.