Post Reply Moving to Japan on Tuesday: I Have Questions
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22 / M / Nashville, TN
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Posted 1/2/16 , edited 1/2/16
I'm moving to Japan on Tuesday. . .

. . .Obviously. That's what the title says.

I'm going to JTIS in Shinjuku, Tokyo for language and cultural studies. I'm going by myself, I'm not fluent in Japanese [yet], and I'm a six foot one ginger who wears my hair in a ponytail with a green hat on my head pretty much 24/7.

. . .it just recently hit me that I'm scared shitless [well, more nervous than scared, but I digress]

I have some questions, for those who have been to Japan:

1. I don't consider myself an 'otaku', but I have a strong interest in classic anime like "trigun", "cowboy bebop", "ghibli films", "ghost in the shell", "gundam wing", etc. etc. Is this still considered as something most people will look down on as an "otaku obssesion", or since it's a little more mainstreamed (at least from my understanding) will it be a little bit more accepted by the general populace?

2. One of my main concerns is using the train. I've watched tutorials on how to get a suica card and how to pay for fares and what not, but I've been trying to find a way to see the map of where my station will be so I could start studying the kanji ahead of time so I don't get lost within the first few days. My apartments will be in Nishi-Kawaguchi. Is there any way to find a map for a specific station somewhere in the bowels of the internet?

3. Last thing, I'm having to make some last minute decisions in regards to how I'll be handling my phone situation. Will it be cheaper to try and get a global phone here and get a SIM card once I'm in Japan? Or should I wait and get a prepaid phone when I'm in Japan? Any advice on an affordable and convenient method for cell phone usage would be highly appreciated.

I'll be documenting the whole experience of moving there and living life so to speak, so if you're interested in that here's a link to my twitter where I'll be posting links to my blog and pictures and vids and all that munk and junk.

https://twitter.com/RukuKabe

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and have a great day! Er, night.
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29 / F / mexico
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Posted 1/2/16
Well 1st congrats
then I lived 2 years in Japan I'll b back this year so I guess I can help you a bit...

1.- is a bit of a problem u don't speak japanese, but is ok .... you can do it when I was there the 1st time I didn't know any japanese and it turn out ok. as for ur 1st point it doesn't matter that u r not a hard core otaku... not everybody in Japan is... but is more welcoming to people who watch anime and manga for fun...

2.- The train system is also in english in Tokio, the hiragana and english name are also written, the train will also make the announcements in English ... usually will be something like " we will soon be arriving at... name of the station... the exits is on the left/right please watch your step" and so... also the machines were u buy the tickets and suica can also be put in english so don't worry. for the map u can actually just google but u have to be careful there is : 1.- local train 2.- subway or metro Yes your suica is valid in both BUT THE STATION MAPS WILL BE DIFFERENT. Local train is run by JR and of course there are stations that you can use to connect train and subway. Is really easy... tho for some "unpopular" subway stations (I mean stations that are not usually visit by foreigners) all info is in japanese.
This site will help you a lot!!!!
http://www.hyperdia.com/en/

3.- As I was living a long time there I got a plan for my phone ... so I can help you there... I know tho some global plans are expensive so for me it was more convenient to have a normal japanese phone .... I'm not really a big help here. ..

So enjoy japan... if you can ride the shinkansen evangelion for me ... it'll run until march so it'll be gone by the time I'm back that really breaks my heart.... but anyhow have fun

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48 / M / New England, USA
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Posted 1/2/16
Now, I haven't used them myself but I've heard of numerous augmented reality apps out there for tablet, ipad and smartphone that visually translate signs and menus in Japanese and Chinese on the fly. You just point your camera at the sign or menu and it translates on the spot. Google Translate, Word Lens and Waygo seem to be the most well-known.
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22 / M / Nashville, TN
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Posted 1/2/16

le_neko wrote:

Well 1st congrats
then I lived 2 years in Japan I'll b back this year so I guess I can help you a bit...

1.- is a bit of a problem u don't speak japanese, but is ok .... you can do it when I was there the 1st time I didn't know any japanese and it turn out ok. as for ur 1st point it doesn't matter that u r not a hard core otaku... not everybody in Japan is... but is more welcoming to people who watch anime and manga for fun...

2.- The train system is also in english in Tokio, the hiragana and english name are also written, the train will also make the announcements in English ... usually will be something like " we will soon be arriving at... name of the station... the exits is on the left/right please watch your step" and so... also the machines were u buy the tickets and suica can also be put in english so don't worry. for the map u can actually just google but u have to be careful there is : 1.- local train 2.- subway or metro Yes your suica is valid in both BUT THE STATION MAPS WILL BE DIFFERENT. Local train is run by JR and of course there are stations that you can use to connect train and subway. Is really easy... tho for some "unpopular" subway stations (I mean stations that are not usually visit by foreigners) all info is in japanese.
This site will help you a lot!!!!
http://www.hyperdia.com/en/

3.- As I was living a long time there I got a plan for my phone ... so I can help you there... I know tho some global plans are expensive so for me it was more convenient to have a normal japanese phone .... I'm not really a big help here. ..

So enjoy japan... if you can ride the shinkansen evangelion for me ... it'll run until march so it'll be gone by the time I'm back that really breaks my heart.... but anyhow have fun



Thank you! That was very helpful! And I'm actually going there to study the japanese language so as long as I can survive the first month or so I should be alright. And my japanese is around JLPT n5 level. I just wouldn't consider myself "fluent" yet. :P

*wew*. . . glad it's in English. Haha. I'll probably still try and memorize the kanji just for the sake of it, as I'll probably be in Japan for a long time.

Thanks for all your help! ^.^


neugenx wrote:

Now, I haven't used them myself but I've heard of numerous augmented reality apps out there for tablet, ipad and smartphone that visually translate signs and menus in Japanese and Chinese on the fly. You just point your camera at the sign or menu and it translates on the spot. Google Translate, Word Lens and Waygo seem to be the most well-known.


That would be awesome except my iPhone isn't internationally capable (it doesn't connect to japan's 3g and 4g and what not), and i won't have the money for a smartphone once I get over there, so I'll probably just be using a flip phone for a while. :/ But that's something I'll definitely keep in mind. Thank you! ^.^
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26 / M / North Carolina
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Posted 1/4/16 , edited 1/4/16
I was in Japan for three months recently and I'm planning on going back to study within the next year.

1. It's really not a big deal.

2. Once you get your IC Card (Suica/PASMO) using the trains and metro is incredibly easy. As long as you aren't really far out in the country side signs and announcements are usually bilingual (Japanese/English). I would recommend using Google Maps until you become a lot more familiar with things. If you get lost, and you will get lost, don't be afraid to ask a station employee or even a local.

Tokyo Metro: http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/subwaymap/pdf/routemap_en.pdf
JR East Map: #4 Keihin-Tohoku http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/info/map_a4ol.pdf
JR Keihin-Tohoku Line: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2371.html
This is your train for Nishi-Kawaguchi and it can take you in to major hubs in Tokyo like Tabata (Transfer here to get to Shinjuku), Ueno, Akihabara, and Tokyo Station. From there you can get to just about any place in the city by train or metro.

3. I used free wifi at stations and a metro map and got around fine when I was in Japan so I can't really comment from personal experience. Japan-Guide seems like it may have some decent information. http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2223.html
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29 / F / Panama City Beach...
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Posted 1/4/16
I lived in Japan for 4 years because I had been stationed over there.

Most people in Japan know English. I never had any trouble communicating. I think I only met about 3 people when I was over there that didn't speak English, and they will still go out of their way to help you.

There are many different types of people in Japan. They are generally very accepting and honestly, they are the nicest people I've ever met in my life.

I lived in Sasebo, so I didn't use the trains much so I'm sorry I can't be much help there.

I got a prepaid Softbank phone when I was over there. My sister used her sim from her prepaid softbank phone in her unlocked iPhone.
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