In Japan, if the police catch you they'll pull
you over for not having a bicycle light on your
bicycle if you're riding it at night.
It's the law so you can even get a ticket if you don't have one.
If you want to save money in the long term
I recommend that you buy an LED (light emiting diodes) bicycle light and rechargeable batteries. LED's use just a fraction of the energy that normal lights use, they're much hardier and can last you several decades of use. I only have to charge my batteries up once every few months. The price for an LED light is not unreasonable.
800 - 1200 yen for a regular halogen bicycle light
Need new batteries every 1.5 to 3 weeks depending on usage. (more money & inconvenience)
3800 yen for my 5 bulbed LED bike light
I don't need to recharge even after 3 months of usage. After 3 months the batteries are slightly drained and I still have about 80% intensity from the beam (But that's still about 4 times more powerful than the one mentioned above).
I don't buy batteries anymore.
The LED light & rechargeable batteries are a better choice for the environment.
Common sense Acommon Travel rules as to where ever you go.
#1. Don't go where you shouldn't go.
#2. Follow the rule of law in the country that you reside.
#3. Adhere to the rule of law from your home country.
#4. Respect and "pre-" read up on the culture(s).
#5. Gain some familiarity with the country's national language prior to your trip.
#6. Practice the local language with the locals.
#7. If concerned with lodging then don't do what isn't familiar to you.
#8. Eat what has been cooked.
#9. Drink bottled water that has a seal. Open it yourself.
#10. Know your coordinates (esp. North & South). Memorize the major cross-roads prior to taking your trip.
#11. Have a copy or two of your Passport in a safe place (either on you personally or in an emergency place).
#12. Go electronic (with back up paperwork) when you can.
#13. Be reluctant to share your full plans with strangers.
#14. Be flexible.
#15. How you handle "it" determines whether it'll be a good event or day or not. Understand that something weird, funny, or bad might occur.
#16. Watch your travel companions as they might just as well cause trouble by accident / unknowingly or on purpose.
#17. International travel is not a time for pranks. (Stay away from pranksters that want to travel with you)
#18. Just try to remember that "nothing" is for "free". (This goes for women too! Crazy partying guys should know this.)
#19. Silently meditate as to rehearse (or re-play) plans.
#20. Always be prepared for a back-up exit plan (... where ever you are (and check for exits)).
#21. Travel with flex travel time on the front end but esp. back end of your visit. This'll reduce your frustrations if there happen to be delays.
#22. Pack light while being wise.
#23. Be nimble. (physically)
#24. If you have good judgment with befriending people (anywhere) then be social with out giving away too much information.
#25. Know your money. Where it is. How much is on you. Denominations in order. Minimize coins if possible (don't need to be heard walking around jiggling).
#26. When driving a rental car ... pay the extra for full coverage. (Take it from a guy that has had 2 separate flat tires and locked up engine all in the same trip. Can you guess where?)
#27. Walk like you know where you are going even when you get lost. The best way to not get lost again is to remember where you were when you were lost.
#28. You are not a "stick" in the mud if you choose to stay away from the "loud" crowd.
#29. Avoid traveling during the host country's elections.
#30. Be aware of political and labor union protest. Don't accidently get caught up.
#31. Never walk away from your open beverages and/or food. Once you've stepped away then pass on further consumption as to be cautious.
#32. Ladies and guys, know that you will meet lots of wonderful people plus some not so. Don't be fooled by "beauty" or a "handsome" face. Danger lurks. If you have a bad judgment of character domestically then it is not going to get any better outside of the country.
#33. If you're not considered "HOT" back home then don't be fooled when you are abroad. Money matters. It isn't really your looks.
#34. The money train gets you access but it can also generate trouble.
#35. Make certain Taxis / Limos drivers happen to be locked into the price and directions prior to departure.
#36. Know the weather conditions prior and during your trip.
#37. Read the local newspapers / journals prior to arrival. (seek to understand cultural, social, economic, etc topics of the day)
Japan is one of the unlucky countries to suffer from earthquakes. If you are staying in a hotel there is always a survival plan somewhere in your room. Read it and hope you don´t have to use it....
If you would like to read some warnings before going take a look at the website. It is an earthquake survival guide by the Tokyo Metroplitan Government
In Japan, Meteological Agency takes care of Earthquakes, Volcano warnings and latest informations. While the tsunami alert is being issued, get away from coast and avoid riverbank and evacuate when necessary.
For details of Tsunami alert. See the pages below.
Taxi fares out of NRT are extremely expensive. Take the train! I visited four Hard Rock Cafes by train, going as far south as Yokohama, all within 10 hours. Do some homework before you go and know what your're doing. Trains run quite often and are reliable.
The streets in Ibaraki, Japan are very tiny and very small. If you are driving over there, make sure to look at all times on those circular mirrors that are placed on the streets especially on those corners.
The Japanese drivers drive fast even if the roads are small because they are used to this culture. They know how to manuever their small cars and squeeze them to small streets.
I usually get butterflies in my stomach everytime another car passes through. If you are driving, just drive slowly and look out to those sharp turns especially when you are turning right or turning left especially in small neighborhoods.
Roads are also very close to the houses of the residents that you can basically see the inside of their kitchens!
Please be careful with what you bring INTO Japan. I was datained and questioned for having 'smuggled' an economy pack of Sudafed with me (and I explained that I regularly take Sudafed, a common decongestant in the US, to help open my sinuses in the course of air travel). This was all to no avail (Sudafed I learned is strictly forbidden in Japan and treated as an illegal drug): my luggage was thoroughly searched and my list of friends was scrutinized since I had the names and addresses of several friends in Asia (which evidently gave rise to suspicion about my possible connection to Yakuza gangs). To top things off, I was strip-searched in an apparent effort to see if I had tattoos or other 'contraband' (tattoos are evidently another indication of a possible connection to Yakuza gangs).
Overall, take Japanese authority very very SERIOUSLY. While my holiday was nearly completely ruined from just stepping off the plane in Tokyo, I kept my wits about me and decided to continue with my journey despite this questionable treatment, which may have been grounds for a good lawsuit in the States. (Keep in mind that when you come off a non-stop plane from the States to Tokyo -- or to any far away country, you aren't going to look your best and just may look as much like an international terrorist, fugitive or other criminal type as I apparently did: e.g., I had some scruffy facial hair since I had not shaven over the course of my journey which included a layover in Seattle from my Cleveland departure and perhaps my choice of apparel was a little too scrubby.)
For all its social rules and refinement, there is still some lacking "qualities" one might encounter in Japan. Like most places in Asia, public urination is an all too common sight here. Of course, one would expect that in any country to some degree, especially in the bar sections of the city. however, in Japan you can expect to see it in the daytime and by all sorts of people. I've seen constructions workers peeing in the street, facing traffic. truck drivers doing it on busy roads in day light. Students, in their teens, peeing right in front of people's houses in the day. of course, I've seen drunk guys wipe it out and pi$$ right in front of crowds of people in city setting.
You might think that there are no bathrooms here, however its quite the opposite. there many places that have 24 hour bathrooms and I never encountered a place that said you had to be a customer to use the toilet.
Obviously, this is one of the less desirable aspects of this country. Japan is after all a land of contradiction.
I went to the area that was known for Geishas and felt unsafe. This was the only part of the city where I felt unwelcome and made sure that I left before the sun went down! This area has signs posted for women for "rent" and is overall not a good area of Kyoto.
Japan is a very crowded place, so if you have inquisitive (and fast moving) children as I do, you need to watch out! For peace of mind, I had the adresses of the places we were staying printed up in Japanese and laminated. At each destination I would pin our current adress to the back of the baby's jacket...just in case! Some of our hosts thought this was hillarious, but it made me feel better knowing that if he did 'get away from me', it wouldn't be too hard for him to be brought back. The older kids also carried one in their pockets (along with cab fare), so if they did become separated they wouldn't have to panic!
I travelled alone to Japan for 2 weeks last year. When i was in Tokyo, i stayed in Asakusa area, and i felt very safe!! and Tokyo is really safe. Train was alright too. However i Didn't feel safe in Osaka, and Osaka is the only place i met weird people, and There is seperate cabin for women only in the Osaka Train. I didn't see train like tat in other places of Japan, so i believe only Osaka is unsafe. Hope i didn't offend any osaka vters :)
When i was in Hiroshima, i felt a bit creepy when i walked back to the hostel at nite. Maybe i was thinking of the Atomic Bomb Museum...
I only experienced this once and it was because the two guys I was with wanted a "change of scenery" we ended up in a darts bar just to the right of the big screen in Shibuya. I'd read about it before and hadn't ever in the whole 2 weeks had any extra charges but I knew something was up when the "Complementary" popcorn and warm towels arrived.
Only wanted a beer for goodness sake!
So two beers, and unwanted popcorn came to over 2000yen. I've had accomodation and damn good meals for less than that! And had beer at both!
Note that some Museums in Japan are very much into historical revisionism, whitewashing events that may be embarrassing to Japan, in particular, but not restricted to WW2 atrocities.
The Yushukan museum in Tokyo is the worst example perhaps, but not the only one.
Many Japanese dislike this revisionist trend as well, but be prepared to see things that you will disagree with.
Crime is a relatively rare thing in Japan, but it is fast on the rise here. Certainly if you’re a victim of a crime you should report it to the police, however don’t have much hope in anything being done. Most lost items, even items of value, are recovered because of good Samaritans, though this is also changing. Its not surprising to hear people tell stories of getting a wallet returned with all the money missing. Such occurrences would be unthinkable 10 years ago. Anyway, police are rather ill equip to handle most situations, god help you if you have a serious problem like someone with a gun. Police more often than not resemble the Keystone Kops and will often be bamboozled but the most dimwitted criminals. Case in point, in 2007 a British ESL teacher was murdered. When police went to the apartment of the main suspect of killing her he managed to evade 6 police officers. Did I mention he was barefoot and didn’t have his wallet or money on him. Police were still unable to capture him and he remains at large today.
The flipside to the police is if you get arrested in Japan. You will find a much different animal when confined to the police station. You most likely be a victim of human rights. Lack of sleep/food, lengthy question sessions and NO access to a lawyer. The police can only legally hold you for something like 40 days before they have to charge you. If they can’t brow beat a confession out of you they will release you and then immediately arrest you again as soon as you set foot outside the police station and hold you for another 40 days. Said treatment will continue until you confess. Confessions can not be retracted here. they can, but a judge won’t care about your retraction. Point is, don’t underestimate the bumbling keystone kops here.
I agree with most people that Japan is generally a safe place. But my brother was pickpocketed a few months ago on the bullet train between Kyoto and Tokyo. He was in the Green Car (first class), his jacket was hanging on a hook...while snoozing, someone came along and took his wallet from the jacket chest pocket.
The Park Hyatt Tokyo is everything I expected from the highest quality of hotels. All of the staff...more
We stayed 3 nights at Kyoto Granvia Hotel from Feb. 27 to Mar 1, 2008. We paid Yen 17,600 per night,...more
I've personally stayed in this hotel twice in my previous 2 trips to Osaka. Famous for their...more
More Regions in Japan