Melbourne time

Hello, こんにちは Kon'nichiwa

Well hello, Kon'nichiwa, or should I say こんにちは.....

This blog is about my trip to Japan later on this year. The countdown has begun, today is Easter Sunday, 27 March, I fly to Japan in 70 days, 5 hours and 10 minutes! I know three words in Japanese - hello, thank you and goodbye. I don't drink beer and I don't like raw fish. But I love meeting people, seeing new places, culture and history. I will only pass this way but once and I feel the need to try and see as much as I can in as little time as I have. .
Cheers. 乾杯

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Thursday, 21 July 2016

21. You have to have an Engineering Degree to use a Japanese Toilet

In Japan you never have to worry about squat pots or lack of toilet paper, because the Japanese people are time travellers from the future.

Their toilets look like mission control at NASA. If you ever wanted to know what it was like to jump into the Doleran with Michael J. Fox and ol’ Doc Brown and take a dump in the year 2525, head to Japan.

The problem with this technological dookie machine of wonderment is that it has 42 buttons and all of them are written in Japanese. Figuring out how to flush one of these is like diffusing a bomb. Maybe the red button flushes, maybe it sprays water meant for your bum at such velocity it hits the ceiling, maybe it air dries your ass with jet engine force—you just never know.

Information and photo 2 taken from Travel Write Sing

Friday, 3 June 2016

20. Plus Size Clothing in Japan

Everybody knows Japanese people are smaller than Westerners, while they are dainty and have small feet, we are wider, heavier and have bigger feet. When I was in China, I saw the most beautiful leather shoes and sandals - not the sort of cheap crap that gets exported to Australia, this was real good quality stuff, but there was only one problem - they didn't come in my size. None of them did. The biggest I saw was a 37 and that was considered huuuge over there. A 37 is only a size 6!

It is, I've been told, the same with clothing. A friend who had visited Japan said an XL over there is like a size 12 here! I won't be going shopping for clothes when I'm in Japan. Or for shoes.

Where to Find Tall and Plus Size Clothing in Japan
I came across a website called Surviving in Japan which goes into detail about where to find clothing for tall and bigger size people. It does say though, most of the stores listed are online sites only available in Japanese. Which isn't much help to anyone other than a Japanese person. Or someone who speaks the lingo.

Bra Size Converter
For ladies with a fuller figure, Click here to convert your bra size to the equivalent Japanese size. Example, if you wear a 20G in Australia, you would be a 95I in Japan. If you wear a 36D in America, then you would be an 80E in Japan. Equivalents are given for US, UK, AUS/NZ, EU/JAP and B/E/F (Belgium, Spain and France)

International Dress Size Converter
To find your clothing size, Click here.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

19. Prayer for Tourists

Well, it's only three more sleeps then I'm on my way. The closer it gets, the more I know I have things to do which have not been done because somehow I can't seem to calm down to do them. I am also become quite excited as the time draws near (it's about time it happened!).

Knowing all the hundred and one things I want to do, the things that bedazzle all tourists, I give you - The Prayer for Tourists.

Prayer for Tourists

Heavenly Father, look down on us your humble, obedient
tourist servants, who are doomed to travel this earth,
taking photographs, mailing postcards, buying souvenirs and
walking around in drip-dry underwear.
We beseech you O Lord to see that our plane is not hijacked,
our luggage is not lost and our overweight baggage goes unnoticed.

Protect us from surly and unscrupulous taxi drivers, avaricious porters
and unlicensed English speaking guides.
Give us this day divine guidance in the selection
of our hotels, that we may find our reservations honoured,
our rooms made up, breakfast included, and (hot) water running in the taps.

We pray that the telephones work, and the operators speak our tongue
and remember our morning call for the sake of others on our tour,
And that there is no mail from our children awaiting us
which would force us to cancel the rest of our trip.

Lead us, dear Lord, to good, inexpensive restaurants
where the food is superb, the waiters friendly and the wine served complimentary.
Give us wisdom to tip correctly in currencies we do not understand.
Forgive us for under tipping out of ignorance and over tipping out of fear.
Make the locals love us for who we are, and not for what we can contribute
to their worldly goods.

Grant us the strength to visit the museums, the cathedrals,
the colonial houses, national parks, and convict jails
listed as "must see" in our guide books.
And if by chance we skip an historic monument to take a nap after lunch,
have mercy on us, for the flesh is but weak.

And when our trip is over and we return to our loved ones, grant us
the favour of finding someone who will look at our home movies and
listen to our stories.
So our stories will not have been in vain.......


Saturday, 28 May 2016

18. Takayama Accommodation

Great Western Hotel

I had actually booked a double room here ages ago, and when I stopped smoking back in February, I had to contact the places I'd booked and ask to change my booking to a non-smoking room. Unfortunately all the non-smoking double rooms were booked, so I ended up cancelling. After having seen the cost of the double room at K's House hostel, I noticed this hotel had rooms for a similar price but much bigger of course and better appointed.

Above: Spa and wellness centre

Above: Twin room

Twin Room - Non-Smoking

Room size: 23 m²
Beds: 2 single beds

Soundproofed, air-conditioned room with a smoothly sophisticated decor. Each room includes a refrigerator, an en suite bathroom and flat-screen TV with video-on-demand movies available for purchase.

An extra bed can be accommodated at extra charge.

Room facilities: Air Conditioning, Desk, Heating, Interconnected room(s) available, Soundproofing, Shower, Bath, Hairdryer, Free toiletries, Toilet, Bathroom, Slippers, Pay-per-view Channels, Telephone, Radio, Flat-screen TV, Refrigerator, Electric kettle, Wake-up service, Alarm clock.

The hotel also has a Spa and wellness centre, including sauna, hot tub and massage.

K's House Takayama

This is a hostel on one of the main roads a few streets down from the railway station, and a three minute walk away.

Double Room
Room size: 6 m²

Simple room with a double bed, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and an en suite bathroom.

Amenities like toothbrushes, yukata robes and shaving kits are not provided. They can be rented between 08:00 and 21:00.

Room facilities: Air Conditioning, Heating, Shower, Bath, Toilet, Satellite Channels, Flat-screen TV

Free WiFi is available in all rooms.

Hotel or Hostel?

I know I save $18 of I stay at the hostel, but $207 for a room that's 6 m² is over priced. The hotel room at $225 is 23 m². Do I save $18 ot "treat" myself to the larger room in a hotel? I like the idea of their wellness centre and I wouldn't mind having a massage. From what I've been reading, everything closes early in Takayama and by 8 o'clock, the streets are dark and empty. How boring, especially as it'll be summer when I'm there, it would be lovely strolling around in the evening. With this in mind, if I was staying in the hostel, I'd have company, meet other people in the common areas (lounge etc), listen to people's stories of their travels, perhaps get some advice etc.

I will have been staying in a 6 m² for my week in Kyoto, although that room has a single bed so it won't be as cramped, and in a four bed dorm for my night in Kanazawa, perhaps I might really look forward the the larger room. The hotel room in Tokyo where I spend my last four nights, is 14 m² - a single room. Hmm.... perhaps I will go for the hotel after all. I have to make a decision in the next few days - by next Saturday at the latest. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

17. Bathing Rule When Drunk

I found this fab place in Tokyo - it's called the Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari. It says, "Te Ooedo Onsen Monogatari is a lavish hot spring theme park on Odaiba. It is a great place for the uninitiated to first experience a Japanese hot spring bath, and is also a fun, special treat for people of all ages."

Their website gives a list of 14 rules and etiquette regarding bathing (communal). But Rule No. 2 has me stumped -

Hmm... does that mean it's okay to enter the bath if you're only a little bit drunk? Or tipsy or half-pi**ed? What if you're three sheets to the wind but not under the table?

So ..... if you're muddled, plastered, sloshed or inebriated but not completely off your face then it's alright to enter the bath. Just remember which one is the correct one. (If your a fella, don't go in the ladies' bath)

Saturday, 14 May 2016

17. GEAR Ticket Booked

GEAR - A Show with a Difference

My ticket for GEAR is booked, I need to be there an hour before the show starts to collect and pay for it. GEAR is a non-verbal performance at the Art Complex 1928 building. I don't know what the story line is but it involves mime (of course if it's non-verbal! - naturally!), juggling, break dancing and magic acts, using the latest technology stuff. Sounds very interesting. Some friends who visited Japan last year saw the show and raved about it.

This is the Art Complex 1928 building where the show is. Knowing what it looks like, I'll know what to look for when I'm there.

It dates from 1928 (well obviously!) and was originally the Kyoto office of the Mainichi Newspaper. Today the building houses restaurants, a café and a theatre.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

16. Language and Culture

Today, I learned something very important - never, ever, ever say, "Chin-chin" when raising your glass because chin-chin is a Japanese colloquial word meaning penis. That would be what you'd call a cultural cock-up.

To prevent raised eyebrows and offence, say "Cheers" instead, or better still, the Japanese "Kanpai" (乾杯)