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Hawai'i Underground >> Trip to Japan


3/20/13 5:07 AM
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conviser
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My buddy and his gf have booked a 9-day stay (I think) in Tokyo. They're both in their 40s, and into food, the arts and nature; no clubs or anything wild and crazy. I've never been to Japan, but I figured you guys would be able to offer some basic tips (which they may already have from their guidebook or online research....but whatever).

* Buying yen: I found Pacific Money Exchange in Waikiki. Is that the best place to go? How much cash should they convert before they go? I hear the foreign credit card fees out there are high.

* Language barrier: Can they get around with just English?

* Transportation: Can foreigners manage the subway system (bunch of different lines mashed together) reasonably well? How about taxis -- are they relatively cheap, and can you just hail a cab on the street (versus having to call)? I think they're going to cab it from Haneda to Asakusa (or was it Akasaka?) upon arrival; no idea how expensive that is.

* Food: Any tips on good, cheap restaurants? They're not high rollers, so they're just planning to hit a bunch of department store basements and holes in the wall for ramen, tonkatsu, etc. And the big fish market early in the morning.

* Odd attractions: They like quirky stuff that's not, like, obscene. Maybe they want to do Noh or Kabuki theater. Worth it?

* Side trips: I figure people get bored staying in just one city for that long. What are some easy day trips to make?

Thanks in advance for any info.
3/20/13 5:14 AM
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fnunderful
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My only experience in a subay in tokyo was a lot like my first time going down on a chick...I was lost and scared and I didn't recognize any of the signs. It took a lot longer than it should have but I did eventually get her there and when I did I never wanted to do it again. TAXI!
3/20/13 5:26 AM
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FCTV808
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* Buying yen: I found Pacific Money Exchange in Waikiki. Is that the best place to go? How much cash should they convert before they go? I hear the foreign credit card fees out there are high.

no idea where's best to buy, but i used to at the boh at the airport before it closed.  used to charge a lot too, but on recent travels to canada, it seems i get nailed on cc fees so not sure about japan. u might want to look into a cc that entices you buy low intl rates? i'd probably convert a grand.

* Language barrier: Can they get around with just English?

depends what you mean by get around. you can get google translate for you phone so if you run into difficulty you can use it.  if you have no japanese and want to sit down and have in depth conversations on the meiji restoration and stuff like that, forget about it.  if you're trying to pick up jchix and are japanese but have no japanese--good luck w/ that.

* Transportation: Can foreigners manage the subway system (bunch of different lines mashed together) reasonably well?

if it's your first time, the subways and bus system are going to be difficult w/o any japanese reading or speaking skills.  trains are easier. cab is the easiest, but fng expensive.

How about taxis -- are they relatively cheap, and can you just hail a cab on the street (versus having to call)? I think they're going to cab it from Haneda to Asakusa (or was it Akasaka?) upon arrival; no idea how expensive that is.

i would just take teh monorail from haneda to the main station and take whatever line goes to asakusa. i forget which one, but i'm certain one of the ogers (or maybe hgers) can tell you which one.  fairly certain it's teh line that just goes in a circle around tokyo central.  if they're planning on learning the trains, that would be the easiest lesson.

* Food: Any tips on good, cheap restaurants? They're not high rollers, so they're just planning to hit a bunch of department store basements and holes in the wall for ramen, tonkatsu, etc. And the big fish market early in the morning.

you know what i eat in japan. choco parfait. yoshinoya gyudon. sushi. ramen. and shit tons of izakaya. there are good ones EVERYWHERE, but i've liked the ones in ginza.

* Odd attractions: They like quirky stuff that's not, like, obscene. Maybe they want to do Noh or Kabuki theater. Worth it?

tokyo has quirky areas. you could cruize akihabara. hang out in shibuya or shinjuku. i dunno man. i sleep all day and am nocturnal in japan. only time i go out during the day is to eat or train.

* Side trips: I figure people get bored staying in just one city for that long. What are some easy day trips to make?

depending on how restricted they will be to tokyo, it might be worth them getting a 3 day jr rail pass so they can just book out of tokyo on a whim and jump on the shinkansen to where the f they want to go. like onsen.  seriously.

Thanks in advance for any info.

3/20/13 2:23 PM
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JIMMYNAKS
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You can now buy Monster Energy(R) in Japan while you figure out what you want to do and where you want to go. Phone Post
3/20/13 2:25 PM
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JIMMYNAKS
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Tokyo? Go to Shinjiku and just walk around.

Sunday at Akihabara will have all the Anime and Cosplay geeks and is great people watching.

Also a lot of cool electronics on the cheap over there. Phone Post
3/20/13 9:08 PM
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conviser
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Thanks for the tips! I'll pass them along. Maybe I'll get my friend to thank you guys himself, and to ask add'l questions as needed.

I think I would gain 15 lbs. out there. Too much good, cheap food.

fnunderful: Excellent analogy. Seems like too much of a hassle to catch the subway.
3/20/13 9:12 PM
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FCTV808
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i pig out in japan but gain nothing.
3/20/13 9:22 PM
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JIMMYNAKS
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I like the Trane because when I grope the school girls they don't say anything.
What? It's cultural! Phone Post
4/4/13 12:41 AM
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conviser
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Buddy had a great time in Tokyo. He took the advice above and searched out all the super-cheap places for tonkatsu, tempura, ramen, etc., which he said were much better than at the premium restaurants here on Oahu. He had a Nagoya-style katsu with miso sauce that he said was really good. Makes me want to go visit, if for nothing other than the chance to eat all day long.

He mentioned that, outside of the low-priced breakfasts at the tourist fish market (Tsukiji? -- just Googled it), he saw no reason to spend money on sushi. Apparently Hawaii's fish is just as good.

He said Akihabara wasn't much to look at, because they haven't fully recovered from some massacre a few years back.

I think he took a side trip or two. I'll need to follow up.

Thx again for the tips!
4/4/13 3:05 AM
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JIMMYNAKS
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Nice! Phone Post 3.0
4/4/13 3:06 AM
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JIMMYNAKS
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I did a bunch of threads back in 2009 that would have been kinda helpful but I guess it's a little late for that.

Glad they had a good time! Phone Post 3.0
4/4/13 4:40 AM
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Robobear
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Pig out and not gain? I'm in!!!

4/27/13 12:38 PM
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Robobear
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FCTV808 - i pig out in japan but gain nothing.

Shaolin just got back and that skinny bastid gained like 10lbs. Shit I might come back 50 lbs heavier man wtf?

4/27/13 3:28 PM
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FCTV808
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depends if you drinking or not.

4/28/13 3:48 AM
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Robobear
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FCTV808 - 

depends if you drinking or not.


Ahhhhh, he does drink like a fish. Noted.

4/28/13 4:40 PM
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Moke
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Eat all you want and no gain...let's just all pack and move right now. Let's just charter a boat big enough to fit our stuff and vehicles and fish our way there.

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