One thing I like about running J-List is being able to help people be closer to Japan. One of my Twitter followers told me he’s coming here in a few months and asked if I could give him some advice on how to get ready. How you prepare for a visit to Japan depends on whether you’ll be staying only a week or two or if you’re planning on being here on a long-term basis, of course, but I’ll do my best. Although Japan is a modern industrialized nation, it’s amazing how often little cultural differences can cause problems for visitors from abroad. It can be difficult to find a bank you that accepts bank cards from overseas (hint: the ATMs at Seven Eleven are a good place to start checking), and there are arbitrary limitations on how much of your own money you can withdraw per week, so have a backup plan when it comes to money. If you have special medical or other issues, it’s best to assume you won’t be able to find what you need in Japan and bring extra medicines/whatever with you. Products like deodorants may be difficult to identify at first, so bring some extra from home lest you accidentally find you’ve been applying feminine products to your underarms. If you have especially large feet it can be good to bring an extra pair of shoes — above 28 cm (American size 10/British size 9.5/European 44) can be hard to find. Of course everyone should study Japanese for several years before coming here, but if this isn’t possible, we offer some useful Japanese study tools to help you get started. Finally, don’t forget to bring an open mind with you: no matter what you expect to find in Japan, it will surprise you with strange customs like the way you’re supposed to slurp your noodles rather than eating them quietly.
Any other advice I should send to my twitter follower? Put your personal advice for coming to Japan in the comments.
Coming to Japan? Bring some spare shoes if you have big feet.