(USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT JAPAN BELOW)
‘Excuse Me” or “I am sorry”
Thank you (Kyoto & Osaka)
Please help me
Thank you (Kyoto & Osaka)
Thank you (Kyoto & Osaka)
Thank you (Kyoto & Osaka)
Where is (name of place)
(name of place) wa doko desuka?
(name of place) はどこですか
Where am I now?
Watashi wa ima doko ni imasuka?
Where is the restroom?
Otearai wa doko desuka?
I want one (name of item)
(name of item) Hitotsu onegaishimasu
(name of item) 一つお願いします
How much is this?
Kore wa ikura desuka?
Delicious (Not delicious)
Oishii desu (Oishiikunaidesu)
It is everywhere. People are requested not to smoke on the streets while walking but there are smoking areas everywhere unless you go to a bar or restaurant that has been there a while and smoking is allowed in the restaurant. For example, I love Japanese Coffee Shops but 90% of them, they smoke in there, so….. now you know.
Yes, Japan has a drinking culture and you can find alcohol everywhere, even in vending machines on the street. You can fall down drunk on the street and the police will just get you to move off to the side….. Just do not be belligerent, then you may have a problem. LOL
Unless you have hired a private car or guide, or have requested for someone to do a ‘favor’ for you, tipping is frowned upon. Restaurants and taxis will ensure you get every one yen back, so do not try to tip. Now if you want to give the bell person a bill for carrying your luggage up to the room, fine, but a server, bartender or taxi driver will usually not accept compensation.
There are tons of stairs and train transfers. Be ready to walk. You can do your best to catch the elevator and escalators are more frequent than they were 10 years ago but be ready to get your stairmaster workout here. I myself, do not like the buses, especially during the busy season, you can catch yourself waiting for the next one, then the next one. Taxi’s for me are well worth the price for short distances and I can get there quicker.
I love them. They are on time, clean and reliable. You can have a snack on a train contrary to what they tell you. Japanese do it also. Just don’t make a mess and try to keep it partially hidden. You can drink on the trains also whether it is a beer or a soda. Again, just keep quiet and don’t be loud. Remember though, you will have to wait for the next stop before you throw anything away.
Please ensure you do not talk on the phone while on a train. You can watch a video as long as the sound is off.
There are priority seats on trains at the end of the cars. Like anywhere on the train though, if someone is an elder, pregnant, injured or carrying a baby, give up your seat.
Luggage. Keep it positioned so it does not get in the way of others. This especially goes for backpacks. You can wear it on your back as long as there are not too many people on the train, but when it starts to get busy, flip your backpack around to your chest.
My recommendation would be for you to purchase IC/SUICA/PASMO cards for your subway/train/bus passes. They are ¥2000 each and once purchased, you can use ¥1500 of that and refill it as you need it at any station. (¥500 is kept as a hold on the card) You can also use at most convenience stores and some vending machines. Once you are done with them, you turn them back in and get the ¥500 hold and any monies left on them minus a ¥220 processing fee per card. It is a great deal! This way you only have to pay the Guides transportation.
The JR PASS is a great deal if you are traveling between cities a lot and have multiple destinations. You need to estimate how much of the JR trains you will be riding on by downloading a JAPAN RAIL APP. If the costs of the trains is more than what you would buy the pass for, it is a no brainer. Just understand that the pass ONLY works on JR trains so not subways.
There are none. Most Japanese will carry their trash around with them until they find one, usually after you go through the ticket stall.
Remember when walking down the street, you may see a can for plastic bottles next to one of Japanese millions of vending machines. This is not for trash please. You need to remember that there are older people that are usually employed to take those bags later and sort out the bottles, cans and bottles. (Even though the holes may be labeled differently and fall into the same bag). That particular person has to remove the plastic bottle, its label and its cap, so let’s not give them extra work by throwing unnecessary trash into the can as well. Just hold on to it for a little longer until you find a proper receptacle.
Most of Japan stands on the left and allows people to walk past on the right unless you are in Osaka. It’s the other way around. Don’t ask. It is just Osaka. LOL
You will see both sides bunched up when there is an excess of a certain group of tourists because they refuse to follow the rules. Let’s not say anything else there…..
Not just for pedestrian walkers but bicyclists as well. They will actually ring a bell asking you to get the hell out of the way as they believe they have the right of way.
CROSSING THE STREET
Usually the Japanese will wait. It has been drilled into them since they were young but because of a certain group of tourists not following the rules, some Japanese are beginning to jaywalk also. Just be nice and wait. We are not that much in a rush.
You will see little trays at registers that allow you to put the money on the tray, not on the counter, not in the staff’s hand, but in the tray. It is what it is. Japanese are not into what they call ‘skinship’.
Always lay your chopsticks horizontal with the part that touches your mouth either on the chopstick rest or the edge of your plate. Do not let it on lay on the table flat. Also, never hand your friend or partner something from your chopstick to their chopstick. This is a big no-no. Place it on a small plate and give it to them or allow then to take it from your plate. That goes for sticking your chopsticks vertically in your rice bowl also. The latter two no-no’s are things that happen during a funeral….. so…….
So, if you are running around on tour with or without a Guide, there are times you may have to take off your shoes. Doing this is not easy for western folks as you must take off your shoe and step directly into the clean part of the building. Do not take your shoes off and walk around on the dirty party or outside of the building and then walk inside. You just defeated the purpose of taking your shoes off.
The same goes for putting your shoes back on. Set them outside and step into them. Do not walk outside with your shoes in hand and go sit somewhere to put your shoes on. Now you might have to take them off again at another person residence or building and your socks are dirty now as are the inside of your shoes.
In the west, we tend to get our beer or alcoholic beverage and just take a sip right away. In Japan, it is customary to wait until everyone has their drink in hand and can all cheers (Kanpai) at the same time for the first round.
You are never to crinkle your money. Try to keep it as neat and crisp as possible.
Cash is king in Japan and most places, especially mom and pop places, have to pay a high tax rate on their net revenue, so many places keep two sets of books. If they are required to accept credit cards, well, a lot of them may go out of business, so carry cash. Seven Eleven and Family Mart are now able ot taking care of your ATM needs.
Learn four or five Japanese words.
SUMIMASEN Can mean ‘Excuse me’ or ‘Sorry’ as if you bumped into someone on the train or a louder ‘sumimasen’ if you are calling a server over to your table.
ARIGATOU, means ‘Thank you’ and it goes a long way. Coming to Kyoto or Osaka? “Ookini’ is the what you would say.
OISHII means ‘Delicious’. You will be saying this a lot.
KEKKO DESU, means no thank you
KANPAI means ‘Cheers’
We are working on this one. Since the Yakuza exploded with decorating their entire bodies with tattoos, it made other people at hot springs feel uncomfortable so here we are. There are about 150 resorts nationwide that will accept tattoos now and Japanese Baths (not onsen) that are dotted around various communities do not care but there is still a taboo. I have tattoos and I feel you. There is hope though!
You will see tons of restaurants with their menus displayed with plastic food outside so you can see exactly what you are getting. It is not like certain establishments in the states that show you one thing and what you get looks nothing like the picture you saw.
CONVENIENCE STORE FOOD
It is awesome, way better than what you would think. There is always rice cakes (onigiri) and sandwiches available. Anthony Bordain loved Lawson Egg Salad Sandwiches and for ¥180 ~ ¥200, are real treat.
Remember that you will pay an 8% sales tax if you take food away but if you eat in the store as some convenience stores have places you sit and eat, you will have to be 10%.
SMALL RESTAURANTS AND STALLS
Do not be afraid of them. Just walk in, smile and be respectful. You might be surprised what you find.
Most people try to be considerate and not spread their colds to others while others while others wear them because of the pollen.
WhatsApp Richard @ +81-80-4016-5288