Reflecting on Japan

I can’t believe a month has passed since Alex and I returned from our Japanese adventure! I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but have been quite distracted over Christmas and New Year…speaking of which, the happiest of New Years to you all!

I really hope you enjoyed reading about our adventure when we were away! I thought it would be a good idea now to write about what I wish I’d taken with me or left behind and also, some things that I wish I’d known before going.

What I wish I’d taken with me

Although we were very lucky with the weather for most of our two week trip, there were a few very cold days and I wish I’d brought a thicker scarf with me and a proper wool hat. I also wish I’d brought my parka coat rather than a mac as this would have been much warmer and the hood would have come in very handy at times! I didn’t mention this while we were away…but a few days into the trip, and for no apparent reason…my jeans split, in the crotch. They could not be saved. I had decided to save space and only bring one pair for the trip but I should have brought two pairs of jeans. I’m nearly 5’11” so as you can imagine, trying to buy a replacement pair of jeans in Japan was almost impossible. I say almost impossible as I was able to buy men’s jeans from Gap, which did nowt for my self esteem but, desperate times called for desperate measures! I also wish I’d brought another travel adapter (I only brought one) and a multi-plug travel adapter as some of the rooms/beds only had one socket on offer. One final thing I wish I’d thought about bringing is a pedometer as we walked SO far, it would have been interesting to know exactly how far.

What I should have left behind

There were a few items of clothing that I didn’t wear, but it was hard to know what the weather would be like as we were travelling around Japan and the different regions have different climates. I could have done with more layer-able clothes really. I optimistically brought a pair of birkenstock sandals with me, thinking that if we got a mild day, they’d be handy for going into temples and the like…however, there weren’t any days that we didn’t walk for miles so these were impractical. I also brought two pairs of ballet pumps with me and only used one, I mostly wore my converse shoes as the weather was quite changeable.

What I wish I’d known

There aren’t really any hand towels/hand driers in the toilets, apparently most Japanese people carry a small flannel/towel with them, so they don’t need them. I did bring a packet of tissues with me but I saved these for occasions where there was no toilet roll available, which happened fairly frequently in the public toilets, though these were often much cleaner than in the UK. Speaking of toilets…the heated toilet seats are a dream! There also aren’t very many bins around, so often you’re stuck carrying your rubbish until you get back to your room/hostel, or sneaking it into the occasional rubbish bags on the street, waiting to be picked up. I also wish I’d learned more Japanese phrases, for example, there were a couple of times where we went in the wrong direction and although we managed, by standing outside one of the thousands of 7 Elevens to use their free WiFi…I do wish I had learned more before we left but then again, we got by! I think the main thing that I wish I’d known beforehand is how cheap everything is in Japan…food, travel, activities…we could have spent more on some of our accommodation but as we booked all of that from England before we left, we didn’t really know. So if you’ve put off of going to this incredible country because you think it will be expensive, please don’t be! Our flights cost around £370 each for a return journey, we paid upfront for two week JR rail passes and mostly stayed in hostels, which I know aren’t for everyone but a lot of them have nice private rooms too.

I absolutely loved Japan and cannot wait to go back and see more of the extraordinary country!

What do you think? Are you tempted?

L

 

 

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