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Travelling on my own?

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Travelling on my own?

Postby creativity » Thu 08.05.2010 4:57 pm

I've just finished college and I'm taking a gap year before going to uni. I was hoping to use the opportunity to A) Earn some money (after several months' worth of unpaid work experience, I think it's about time...) and B) go to Japan. I was thinking of going to Japan around May/June, so that the weather would be warmish, but not humid or too crowded. Chances are I will be going on my own because my friends will either be at university, too poor to afford the trip, or simply not interested. I'm not worried about my safety in Japan, but I was worried about getting lonely (and probably very nervous xD). While I'm not the chatty type, I get lonely quite quickly so to fully enjoy Japan I think I would need a companion to share my experiences with, with whom I could speak fluently (either French or English). I was thinking of going to a language school for a few weeks (I think I'll only be able to afford 2 weeks D:) and then travel for 10-15 days.

I was wondering whether anyone had travelled alone, and whether you think the trip would have been better with a travel buddy? Where could I find someone to travel with? Even if it's not all the time, just meeting up with someone I can speak fluently every couple of days would lift my spirits. Is going to the language school a good idea? I was hoping to be able to meet someone I could travel with/speak to there.

Do you have any tips on saving money (apart from the rail pass)? For example, is there special times in the year where flights are really expensive/cheap? What am I likely to spend per week on food?

Any advice is welcome!

Thanks
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Re: Travelling on my own?

Postby spin13 » Thu 08.05.2010 10:34 pm

I've traveled alone a few times in Japan, especially in the north (Hokkaido/Tohoku). It's a little more stressful when you do run into trouble, but otherwise enjoyable. Though reports about discrimination in Japan aren't entirely false, as long as you are positive and friendly for every person who gives you the evil eye you'll meet many who will welcome you and become your (temporary) friend or companion. Some of the best times I had were getting invited to dinner or drinks by locals I didn't know. I'll probably never meet them again but I won't forget them. Of course, the better you speak the language the better off you'll be.

A few tips for meeting people, especially when traveling alone:
-At restaurants, sit at the counter, rather than a table/booth. This is where other single patrons will be sitting and a better place to meet people. Smile and talk to the waitstaff or cook. More people will chat you up if you are talkative yourself (and they know you can speak some Japanese).

-At events (festivals, parades, etc.), ask for directions rather than trying to find places yourself. "Where are the yatai (food stands)?" or "Where does the parade start/finish?" or "Where can I buy beer?" Ask people your age who are hanging out, who might invite you to join them, rather than passerbys or at convenience stores.

-Ask for recommendations. For food, for places, for whatever. "Where is a fun bar?" is better than looking in your Lonely Planet and asking, "Where is bar ABC?" This starts, rather than ends, a conversation.

-Talking to other foreigners isn't going to ruin your "Japan experience." By all means seek out opportunities to meet locals and speak Japanese, but don't limit yourself. If they've lived there for any length of time, their opinions and recommendations are just as valid as the Japanese locals'.

If you are interested in meeting and traveling with English/French speakers you might want to check out organizations like CouchSurfing (my recommendation) or Hospitality Club. These communities give you a chance to meet fellow travels as well as residents who might even put you up. Though many of the active members you'll meet will be foreigners, there are Japanese folk participating in these communities as well. In addition to meeting some interesting people this might be your way to save a little money (though I find even when I stay for free, I spent at least half of what I would on a hotel buying my host dinner, drinks, gifts, etc.).
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Re: Travelling on my own?

Postby iambus » Wed 02.02.2011 4:40 am

I'm glad you posted this question. I had the same exact question :) I plan on going to Japan for about a month by myself and am like you, am slightly shy (at first) but get lonely.

Spin13: This seems like great advice! Thank you for posting! :)
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Re: Travelling on my own?

Postby kt_anthrax » Thu 02.03.2011 1:23 am

hello,

"Any advice is welcome!"

OK. I will write about "expensive period" of May in Japan.

From 29 April to 5 May, this period is called as "Golden week" in Japan.
Many company and school are closed in this period.
Sometime the fee for hotel or tickets of transportation would be applied by special price,
means to be expensive, as compared with usual one.

If you are getting lonely, you can come here, chat.
Many guys who are interested in Japan gathering from over the world
(means some one will talk in chat any time)


have a good trip
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Re: Travelling on my own?

Postby Chico » Thu 02.03.2011 3:10 am

Hi, I'm Japanese and will give you some infomation.

June is not a good time to come to Japan unless you are planning to go to North area of Japan. June is rainy season and very very humid. May is good. Lovely weather. But be careful about Golden week. (29 April to 8 May, I think lots of people will take a day off on 6 May.) It's good chance to meet lots of people, tho.

I hope you can have good time in Japan!
I\'m Japanese. I\'m trying to help Japanese learners. Feel free to ask me! However, my English might not be good enough. Any corrections to my English are appreciated!
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