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The Temple Pagoda
The pagoda, a structure that has evolved from the Indian stupa, usually comes with three (sanju no to) or five (goju no to) stories. Pagodas store remains of the Buddha such as a tooth, usually in form of a representation. The one I saw in Sensoji Temple is 'goju no to'.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
The Shrine's Honden & Haiden
Depending on the shrine's architecture style, the main hall (honden) and offering hall (haiden) are two seperate buildings or combined into one building. The main hall's innermost chamber contains the shrine's sacred object, while visitors make their prayers and offerings at the offering hall.
The honden and haiden in Meiji Shrine is seperated to 2 building.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
The Japanese government is working hard to change the country into an International country, the road sign board mostly has been changed into bilingual, subway map and instruction board in public has been added with English, Korean Spanish and Chinese language, of course the dots-dots language for the eyes-disability has been added too on the hand bar at the subway.
The yellow path provided for the blind people to guide for direction.
Vending machine usage like the locals do!
Vending Machines are everywhere. The picture here is one row of three of vending machines at the Meiji Shrine. Vending is a tradition in Japan. I love to watch people grab a coke from a vending machine that talks. Sometimes when the machine says thank you, a Japanese person will actually bow to the machine! It is like the Matrix or something.
There is literally nothing that you cannot buy in a Tokyo vending machine. My favorite has always been the one in Shinjuku with the used women's panties, but we won't go into that here. Seriously though, you can buy everything from eggs to porn to photos and a place to recharge your cell phone.
I love the fact that I can go out to the middle of nowhere on a hiking trip on Mt. Hakone, and half way up the mountain, in the most remote spot imaginable, there will be a vending machine! What is more impressive is that alchol is served in many of them. The Holiday Inn I stayed at had a Suntori Whisky vending machine on my floor near the elevator. I was asked by some Japanese kids to break a 1000 Yen bill for them, and was was surprised when they used the change to buy a bottle. I'll never do that again, at least not without carding them first!
- Beer Tasting
Asian Style Toilets
This came as a shock to me when I first saw one, I had no clue what to do. So, to alieviate that pressure form others, I present instructions below, and a web link to a site that can also help.
Most importantly, bring toilet paper and towels with you as they are not always provided in public facilities! If you are near a major subway station, you can often get little tissue packets from people handing them out by the station. (they do contain information abo call girls, but that's not important.) The other thing to remember is that some places charge for use of their facilities, so bring change otherwise you may be on the outside looking in.
First thing to know, the front of the toilet is the raised curved part below the tank in the picture here. You stand with legs on either side of the basin and drop your pants around your knees. Next, you squat over the basin, and go about business, making sure to keep your balance while you do. The next part is the trickiest, to flush the paper or not. There is some debate over this. Many Japanese style toilets will have a small trash can next to them with a plastic bag in them, I have been told this is where you place the soiled paper. But I have also seen ones that don't have this little can. If that is the case, I have assumed that it is ok to flush the toilet paper there.
If you are in some places, there will often be a pair of slippers outside the door. This is so you don't dirty your own shoes.
Fortunately Japan has been making the move to more western style toilets and they are often there in the places westerners are most likely to visit. If you are at the home of a Japanese person though, don't be afraid to ask them how to use one, it is not uncommon, and you won't lose face for doing so.
- Family Travel
Every phone number (except cell phones) in Japan consist like this.
The area code for Tokyo is "03". You don't have to dial "03" if you are inside of Tokyo but you have to dial "03" at first if you are outside of Tokyo when you make a phone call to inside of Tokyo.
The country code for Japan is 81, so dial 813 at first when you make a phone call from overseas to someone in Tokyo.
To make a phone call to outside of Japan when you are in Japan, dial "001-010" at first before country code. The overseas call service is provided by KDDI.
3numbers phone call services
*all are provided by NTT
119 amburance & fire station
118 the Maritime Safety Agency
104 dial information
106 collect call (behind the communicators)
108 collect call (auto)
115 order an telegram
117 time signal
177 weather forecast
3G mobile in Japan
For those who travel in Japan who need a mobile guideline...i think i can share over here. It had been some times for me to check out the home operator whether is providing the roaming services to Japan.And yes, it did. But somehow Japan mobile is in 3G like Korea and US. You need a 3G mobile in order to get the roaming service in Japan.
You have some options here.
For your info, the operators in Japan is either Vodaphone or NTT DoCoMo which runs on CDMA mode.
If your local operator provider offer the roaming service like me, just get a 3G mobile rental in airport and put in your sim card will do. The rental fees is about 1200yen per day and minimum 3days. There will be some deposit and so on...check out the vodaphone guideline at www.vodaphone.jp. There is a Vodaphone operating in 2G and 3G mode in the market but is quite expensive. I found 1 in Shinjuku outlet.
You need to inform your home operator when you aboard and probably they will provide you a DoCoMo phone and just switch it on when you are in Japan. The different is you will get another Japan local number in your mobile.Your original number from your home country will diverted to this DoMoCo service number....but the good thing is you will get a cheaper price comparing with the Vodaphone when you making a local call in Japan because is only about 22yen per minute.
- Business Travel
Most guides will advise buying Yen before you go to Japan to cover initial expenses but then buying more once there as there is a better exchange rate in the country itself. You also avoid the commission if buying while there.
Consumption tax of 5% on all purchases, including hotels and restaurants. Foreign visitors are exempt from this tax on major purchases outside of hotels and restaurants AND rebate counters are found in large stores.
The Temple Gate
Gates mark the entrance to the temple grounds. There is usually one main gate, and possibly several additional gates, for example, along the temple's main approach.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
When you are lost or have a problem go to the nearest koban. A koban is a policepost and is found on many streetcorners.
Just look for these floor exit sign in case of emergency. I thought they work real well as you may be crawling in the event of fire and smoke.
The telephone code for Japan is 81
The telephone code for Tokyo is 03
When dialing from overseas dial +81-3 for any number in Tokyo.
MOBILE PHONES IN JAPAN!
Some high-tech mobile phones in Japan! Some can even take pictures from the mobile phones!
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