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Adice from experienced travellers to Japan?
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Posted August 2, 2012 at 12:45PM
Hi folks I know a number of you have travelled to Japan and I have my first business visit to the country in a couple of weeks time, and just wondering if there is anything in particular that caught any of you unawares on your first trip? Etiquette? Food? Currency etc?
My company would prefer to provide me with US dollars as currency to exchange there, as we rarely travel to Japan, so any spare is a nuisance, I don't envisage any issue with exchange of $ to Yen, but thought I'd ask.
Food doesn't worry me too much, I enjoy pretty much anything, but again, you never know if there's something to watch out for.
Any advice gratefully received.
I'll be passing through Tokyo and then spending the week working in Komatsu in the Ishikawa Prefecture (Well away from Fukushima, thankfully)
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Posted August 6, 2012 at 5:34PM
"I'll definitely be taking it steady with the pop."
Cabin crew members are now trained to watch for signs of overindulgence, which is indeed seen in a very different light to years gone by.
"I am wondering if I'll get any jet lag"
You're far more likely to suffer the effects of jet lag when you travel east than when you fly in a westerly direction. I've had serious jetlag in the past, and it's not nice, but it doesn't happen any more. For what it's worth here are my tips for avoiding it:-
Before you fly, eat a protein-rich meal.I usually treat myself to a steak and avocado salad. Drink plenty of water during the flight - dehydration is a sure way to make any jetlag much worse. A couple of days before you go, make sure you have some oranges and/or fresh tomatoes. Do the same thing on the day you arrive.
During the flight walk around the aircraft at regular intervals. Try to choose a time when the cabin crew are not in the middle of a food service, Some point during the artificial night, when they've closed the window blinds and turned down the lights is ideal.
As soon as you can after you arrive try to ensure that you get into some sunlight, and do the same thing early the next day. Lots of bright sunlight early in the day will get your circadian rhythm back into order faster than anything else.
If none of that works for you, remember that the jet-lag will be gone within 48 hours at most, and more probably within 24 hours.
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Posted September 7, 2012 at 7:23PM
Just a quick update, as I got back last week.
Firstly thanks again for all the advice, some wasn't applicable through simple circumstance, but some was very useful, but thanks all regardless.
What a fantastic place, and although it was a very short 6 day visit, what a friendly, helpful, cheerful breed of people I met. I can honestly say, without fear of exaggeration, that in the whole time I was there I didn't meet a single individual who was not friendly, pleasant, polite and as helpful as they could possibly be (Italy.... please take note!!!)
It was a tough visit by way of travel arrangements and business duties, extremely tiring to say the least, but outside of work I had a great time.
I've been lucky enough to do a fair amount of travelling through the UK, USA and many European countries (I think I can buy two beers and say please and thank you in about 10 languages now), and I have never experienced a level of service to get close to matching this. Every shop, bar, restaurant and member of hotel staff were bending over backwards to do the best possible job they could do.
I would love to be able to afford a holiday there, as I would return tomorrow, especially now I have learned where to find non fish menu's. I like fish, but after 2-3 days of eating it 2-3 times a day, some raw, some cooked, it did get a tad wearing.
Great experience, and thanks again for all the hints.
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Posted September 7, 2012 at 8:51PM
Picklefactory. Which tip did you find the most useful? The meals to help ward off jet lag? The Kindle? The drinking alcohol tip or the clean undies? Glad you enjoyed it and good luck on the next one.
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Posted September 8, 2012 at 11:19AM
Hmmm, difficult to pick the most useful, there were a number that were useful to varying degrees. From a business view point, I think the business card tips. They clearly do take them exactly as seriously as the advice stated, and I had some satisfaction in realising at the first instance that I don't think I managed to offend anyone with the business card handling, and was happy in that they gave my cards exactly the same degree of very detailed attention that I gave theirs.
From a general perspective, possibly the best tip was the link to the Japan Guide website, where I found a whole heap of useful information.
The one thing I found on that site, which I didn't believe at the time of reading, was in the eating out section where it said not to be surprised if, after leaving a tip, the staff might chase you down the road to bring your tip back to you, as there is no tip culture there, I honestly questioned just how old the site information was. This exact thing actually happened on one occasion, where a young waitress caught us up around 100 mtrs from the restaurant we'd just left and across two roads to bring us back our tip. When we tried to explain, via sign language as she spoke no English, that it was for her, she reacted as though we had just given her a car...... can you imagine something like that happening anywhere in Europe?
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