KurtisW's Advice List

KurtisW image KurtisW United States 4 years in Japan

I like to ride my bike!

Try to use exact change, or the nearest tenth above images

Try to use exact change, or the nearest tenth above

There may be some other ideas about how to physically use the change after the 1, 5, and 10 yen coins have piled up on you, but I always advise to use the change as efficiently as possible before it gets to that point. One tip I have for how to use your change properly is to always try and match th…(97 words)

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KurtisW

 
Doing Tsuke-men Right images

Doing Tsuke-men Right

Tsuke-men is a style of ramen where the noodles are served on the side of the soup broth, which tends to be thicker than the typical ramen broth.When ordering Tsuke-men, there are a variety of ways you can order the noodles. First you can order your noodles thin, or hoso-men, or thick, futs…(140 words)

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KurtisW

Ramen noodles
Give them the Gift of Language images

Give them the Gift of Language

While toys and trinkets are fine gifts for children, consider buying your child a book about learning Japanese. Many of these can come in the form of picture books that teach them simple vocabulary, such as counting in Japanese or how to say their favorite toys in Japanese. If they become intereste…(133 words)

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KurtisW

Souvenir Toy
Roppongi has Great Nightlife images

Roppongi has Great Nightlife

When it comes to late night clubbing, Roppongi is high up there with a wide variety of classy restaurants, late night clubbing, and fancy hotels. It also tends to attract a lot of expats/tourists, so if you're looking to go out to a place where you can speak English, Roppongi is a great place to ch…(115 words)

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KurtisW

Roppongi Tokyo Park Music Tokyo Midtown
The Legendary Tengu images

The Legendary Tengu

One common statue at various Japanese temples is the Tengu. It is defined by its characteristically long nose, and round face often with a beard that gives it the appearance of an elderly man.The earliest Tengu however were origingally depicted with a beak, likening it to a bird of prey. In fac…(128 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo
Don't go Nude! images

Don't go Nude!

In Japan, the concept of nude tanning at beaches does not exist. They call this mittomo nai, or unsightly. It is acceptable to go shirtless or wear a bikini. At the same time, if you go to a remote beach, then there is nothing to worry about. But definitely don't go nude at a major public beach…(97 words)

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KurtisW

Etiquette Beaches Furo (Japanese bath)
Yoyogi Park images

Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park in Harajuku near Shibuya almost guaranteed has an event or festival going on during the weekends. Japanese traditional festivals are all well and good, but experiencing more mainstream and modern festivals also provides for a great cultural experience in my opinion.One festival duri…(109 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Park Shibuya Event Harajuku Yoyogi Park Spring
Take a chance sometimes images

Take a chance sometimes

While it's usually best to order the sushi directly so it's fresh, sometimes it's good to take a chance and grab a plate off the conveyor belt. The chefs often serve up some of their crazier concoction that you may not have ordered in the first place. It's important to consider that they tend to co…(68 words)

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KurtisW

Sushi Kaitenzushi (Conveyor belt sushi)
Underground Shopping images

Underground Shopping

Shinjuku station is absolutely massive, and can provide hours of entertainment, if you are a shopper that is.One place that I got repeatedly dragged to by my girlfriend when I was a student here in Tokyo is the underground shopping avenue that runs from the Marunouchi line area to the ground le…(117 words)

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KurtisW

Shopping Tokyo Shinjuku Fashion Marunouchi Entertainment Jewelry
You can Purchase Plane Tickets! images

You can Purchase Plane Tickets!

Konbini's in Japan are so convenient you can even purchase a plane ticket there! While you can easily do this on the internet, it can come in real handy if you don't have access to the internet and need to book a flight quickly. This can come in handy if you need to quickly fly back to Tokyo for bu…(64 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Ticket
Check out Summer Sonic Festival images

Check out Summer Sonic Festival

Summer Sonic is a music festival that takes place in August. They have one in Tokyo and one in Osaka. They have a wide variety of music, including Hip Hop, J-Pop, rock and heavy metal. Tickets are 15,500 yen for one day and 28,000 yen for 2 days, so it is expensive. If you have the money, however, …(65 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Music Osaka Summer
Widely Available in Asakusa images

Widely Available in Asakusa

If you go to Asakusa, the stores lined up behind Kaminarimon, or Thunder Gate, often carry imitation swords you can buy as souveniers for friends or yourself. If you are more interested in acquiring an actual Katana, you will need to look up Katana makers online and expect to pay a few thousand dol…(66 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Asakusa
Excellent quality for the price images

Excellent quality for the price

Japanese business hotels are intended for businesspeople on business trips. Most people in Japan when on business are riding the trains, so the hotels are generally located right outside the station.For about an average of 5,000 yen for one person per night, you can get a decent room, and often…(123 words)

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KurtisW

Hotel Ramen noodles
See if You Like Shochu images

See if You Like Shochu

Of the varieties of alcohol in Japan, Shochu is the most common hard liquor that is often drank on its own and is mixed in a variety of drinks. It's strength is typically in the 15-20% range and comes has a wide variety of brands to try. It tastes like sour plums. Even if you don't like it on its o…(87 words)

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KurtisW

Shochu
Nigori-zake, thick like milk images

Nigori-zake, thick like milk

Sake, made from rice, comes in all grades and qualities, usually hanging around the 12% alcohol range. One type however, is a bit unique, and also has a higher alcohol content: Nigori-zake.This is unfiltered sake. If you have ever washed white rice before cooking it, you have seen a thick almos…(102 words)

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KurtisW

Milk Sake (Rice wine) Wine
Strong Zero Chuu Hais Give You More Bang for your Buck images

Strong Zero Chuu Hais Give You More Bang for your Buck

While chuu hais come in various kinds, Suntory's Strong Zero Chuu Hais give you more alcohol per yen, as they come in 8% and 9% varieties. They are quite popular with Japanese men, but people of any gender can consume them. They typically cost 201 yen at most convenience stores and 158 yen at store…(54 words)

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KurtisW

Convenience store Sake (Rice wine) Don Quijote
Try Learning About Japanese Language and Culture before Considering Lessons images

Try Learning About Japanese Language and Culture before Considering Lessons

Before taking haiku lessons, you're better off learning some Japanese first. Without any understanding of the language or culture, you will simply be learning about a poem format and have no cultural context to truly understand Haiku. When you're ready for lessons, you can look to a Japanese langua…(65 words)

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KurtisW

Haiku
Try Asakusa by Kaminarimon images

Try Asakusa by Kaminarimon

There are numerous kimono stores along the shopping avenue directly behind Kaminarimon in Asakusa. They have kimonos of varying quality available. If you're looking for a proper, traditional Kimono, expect to spend a few thousand dollars. If you're looking for something more affordable, there are o…(47 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Shopping Asakusa Kimono
Kyumeikan Dojo in Itabashi images

Kyumeikan Dojo in Itabashi

There is a Kendo dojo in Itabashi called the Kyumeikan dojo. They can teach Kendo to students as young as 3 years old and offer classes in English. The dojo is unique in that it sends students to other dojos to learn from other teachers and offers dinners so students and teachers can get to better …(69 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo
Check out the Ohara School of Ikebana images

Check out the Ohara School of Ikebana

The Ohara school of Ikebana in Tokyo is one of the more well known schools and is conveniently located in Miniami Aoyama. They offer classes in English at around 4000 yen but they are closed from July 18-September 5 for summer holidays. Address7-15-5 Minami AoyamaMinato-Ku, TokyoPhone N…(51 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Holidays Summer
Check out Shunkaen Bonsai Museum images

Check out Shunkaen Bonsai Museum

There is the Shunkaen Bonsai Museum in Edogawa, Tokyo if you're looking for something other than the Bonsai Art Museum in Omiya. They're open from 10am-5pm everyday except Monday. Address:1-29-16 NihoriEdogawa-Ku, TokyoPhone Number:+81 03-3670-8622(40 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Museum Art Art museum
Large parks in Tokyo images

Large parks in Tokyo

Many large parks in Tokyo such as Shinjuku Central Park, Yoyogi Park, Komazawa Olympic Park have regular flea markets throughout the year.Japan has in some cases a binary culture in terms of used items. In general, and you will hear many Japanese and foreigners alike claim this, Japanese LOVE n…(167 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Park Shopping Shinjuku Yoyogi Park
The "Kuji" for prizes images

The "Kuji" for prizes

Takarakuji basically means a lottery, with random chances at getting a prize. The most common and commercial one is the national money lottery, and tickets are usually sold at small booths near train stations, or out in front of large grocery stores.However, often called "Kuji" for short, many …(153 words)

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KurtisW

Train Ticket Ramen noodles Train station
Conversation clubs images

Conversation clubs

Japanese people are very interested in speaking English. It is quite the phenomenon, as it seems that a huge majority, of people in Tokyo at least, want in some way to make English a part of their lives. Some need it for work, others want it as a tool to be able to handle foreign customers, some li…(164 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo
Fuchu, west Tokyo images

Fuchu, west Tokyo

The horse racing track in Tokyo is located west, in a slightly more suburban area called Fuchu city. It takes about 30 minutes from Shinjuku in downtown, and can be accessed on the Keio line.The cool thing about this stadium I have noticed is that it has its own small train line running from Fu…(130 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Train City Shinjuku River Horse racing Trip
Seagull Girls images

Seagull Girls

The Tokyo American football team, the Seagulls, play regular games at the famous Tokyo Dome. Always accompanying the team is the lively and cute cheersquad. Cheer leading is actually quite popular among young girls in Japan, and despite the fact that cheer is something that kind of developed from a…(173 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Sport Baseball Entertainment American football
Ask the Driver images

Ask the Driver

I've lived in Japan for about 4 years, and I'm still very confused about the bus system, mostly because all of the stops listed between the starting and ending point are very small neighborhood areas with names that you really won't know unless you are a regular rider, or you live in the area.T…(149 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Train Restaurant Museum Train station Bus
Portable ashtray images

Portable ashtray

Cigarette butts constitute a huge amount of the garbage that fills our streets, parks, and oceans, all over the world. Japan is no exception to this, as although there is a small amount of littering, cigarette butts are still a common site, especially in the shop and club-heavy downtown areas like …(160 words)

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KurtisW

Etiquette Shibuya Roppongi
Good til the last drop images

Good til the last drop

Japan has beer, and then they have "happoshu", which is actually imitation beer with very low actual malt/hop content. Happoshu however tastes nearly identical to beer, and for all intents and purposes, should, in fact, be considered a decent replacement for real beer.There is one striking char…(168 words)

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KurtisW

Beer Sapporo
Toshima-en fishing area images

Toshima-en fishing area

Located in Nerima, which can be accessed on the subway from Tokyo (either on the Fukutoshin line from Shibuya, or Oedo line from Shinjuku), has a very nice fishing area that caters to all levels.The fishing area is more geared however toward those who want to leisurely fish on the weekend, or w…(130 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Park Shinjuku Shibuya Subway
Check out Ryogoku images

Check out Ryogoku

If you go to Ryogoku, you can find a wide variety of sumo stables and see sumo wrestlers going about their daily business. Ryugoku has its own sumo stadium as well, called the Ryugoku Kokugikan. You can watch sumo wrestling matches there on occaision. I also recommend trying Chanko Nabe, which is a…(66 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Sumo Hot pot dish
Go to Shinagawa images

Go to Shinagawa

Shinagawa has some of the nicest evening yakatabune dinner cruises because of its close proximity to Roppongi's Tokyo Tower and the famous Rainbow bridge. You can either make reservations online or show up at a dock where they are parked.(40 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Roppongi Tokyo Tower Yakatabune
Hostess Cafes images

Hostess Cafes

Hostess cafes are all over Japan and serve Japanese style pub food and drinks by cute hostesses. They are very popular with Japanese men because the hostesses are often flirtatious and friendly. The prices vary, but the cafes often become expensive if you become enamoured with your waitress.(48 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo
Yakatabune in Shinagawa images

Yakatabune in Shinagawa

If you go to Shinagawa, you will see Yakatabune in the bay, which are Japanese house boats. They often offer day and night cruises with various dining options. I highly recommend a night cruise that goes by the famous Rainbow Bridge.(41 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Yakatabune
Check out JR Rail Pass images

Check out JR Rail Pass

If you purchase a JR rail pass before coming to Japan, you can ride all JR trains and most Shinkansen for no additional fee. One week costs around 28,000 yen and 2 weeks costs around 45,000 yen. Typically, a round trip out to Kyoto or Osaka will cover the cost of a week rail pass.(52 words)

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KurtisW

Train Kyoto Osaka Shinkansen Bullet Train Trip
Business vs Economy images

Business vs Economy

Serviced apartments in Tokyo tend to be some of the nicest options you could possibly have for housing. Many foreign businessmen choose a serviced apartment over a long term hotel stay, for obvious reasons of comfort, and avoiding the logistics of moving into a new place, dealing with Japanese real…(143 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Hotel Transportation
Nakameguro, shops along the river images

Nakameguro, shops along the river

Nakameguro is a quiet yet fashionable and fun district just outside the more lively and inclusive Shibuya area. Nakameguro is well known for its fashion shops, and dainty restaurants that are perfect for dates, or casual upper class dining. There are of course less expensive and more chain store-ty…(151 words)

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KurtisW

River Tokyo Shibuya Fashion Flower Spring
Novelty in the modern day images

Novelty in the modern day

Japanese swords (nihonto) have been used by Japanese warriors since very far back into the first millennium. The modern day "katana" was actually a more well developed blade that came into popular usage around the 12th century. It was from then that the blade began to have a few changes to length a…(181 words)

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KurtisW

History Samurai
A bit exclusive images

A bit exclusive

Japanese "snack" bars are not necessarily what you would think. Just seeing the word "snack" on a shop sign is not an indication that the store serves snacks. They do serve snacks to customers, but this is hardly the original intention for going to a store like this.It would be better to think …(205 words)

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KurtisW

 
Obstacle course for kids images

Obstacle course for kids

This large park, the Heiwa no Mori Koen Field Athletic Course (peace forest park field athletic course, is located near Omori station on the Keihin Tohoku line (you can ride this line from Tokyo station).The park is filled with fun obstacle course-type playgrounds that kids and adults alike can…(141 words)

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KurtisW

Tokyo Park Tohoku