Home in Japan

            Traveling has been my favorite leisure since I was three years old. The idea of seeing the world out of my usual environment is exhilarating. I want to learn about others, what makes us different, what makes us the same, and how we are a real family. 

Every trip was memorable to me (#TamiTravels) and for some reason, I wished I never was a Filipino so that I would not line up to get multiple visas in many countries and a lot of personal debates about my nationality. With this realization, I just have to accept and be thankful for being blessed with the opportunity to travel and that somehow, being a Filipino makes me different scrutinizes all the pros and cons of my own country. There are a lot of places I saw and wished I were right now, and one of them is Japan.

Tami Travels

            I only have three days to squeeze my entire adventure bucket list at my first time in the country and first time traveling at legal age. I have to admit, it’s quite different from traveling when I was minor, because now I should be aware of the customs, responsibilities, rules and regulations, and culture of the country. Of course, culture shock is not new to me.

When I was thirteen, I have high hopes of learning Japanese and stopped pursuing for personal reasons. Six days ago, I sort of regret missing the opportunity of not learning their language well. But thank God for my Humanities class last semester, fitting in is not that an issue.

My twin sister, Joan

            In this blog post, I will share to you eight (including tip zero!) tips to make your stay productive, memorable, and nostalgic. I’ll also share to you my personal story along with my list.

My All-Time Travel Tip is Read Ahead. Research on their culture, tourist spots, language, arts, practices, gestures, and currency because I guarantee that it will help you a lot. The rest is self-explanatory.

            First day.
            If this excludes our arrival from the airport, then my first day was just shopping at Aeon Mall. It looks like Western mall, really organized and clean. Their groceries have long lines and unlike in the Philippines, Japan hires no bagger for your groceries. We got tired so we took the taxi. The weather sang a song with me, “Just like my the clouds my eyes did the same. It rained!”

            Second day.
            The Raining won’t stop. From five am until twelve noon, the weather is bizarre! This day originally was supposed to be for USJ and the next day for Namba and Nara tour, unfortunately for the weather, we have to make a choice. My sister had to buy Copic Markers in Namba and I wanted to visit the temples and deer at Nara. Mom stayed at the hotel and my sister and I chose to go to Namba. It was clear that it was our first time to ride their train. With no idea of their language, we almost had a break down for almost losing the chance to either get to our choices. Luckily, the information center was really helpful. The concierge even assisted and escorted us on our way to our Train Line.

My last day in Japan was at Universal Studios (if it does not count the “departure day”). Honestly, I went there for the Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Display. I didn’t enjoy much, honestly, because of the language barrier. Every spot there uses their language and less English. I love the rides though because of the thrill, obviously, and spontaneity. But I’m really upset that Shrek, Terminator, Biohazard (Resident Evil), Jurassic Park are closed! We took the available ‘time-worthy’ rides and photos to eat up our time. Speaking of ‘eat’, my twin sister and I didn’t eat much that on our stay at the park.



Tips for the Tipsy
Travel Tip 1: Always check the weather! Everything depends on it—your adventure, transportation, outfits, time, and the entire stay.
            When we arrived at Japan, we did not expect it to rain really hard the next few days. It really ate most of our time. Needless to say,

Travel Tip 2: Location is everything! May I briefly explain to you that my twin sister and I had a hard time navigating ourselves for food? Yup. We booked our hotel at Kansai Washington Airport because it was accessible to their train station but then we realized almost all hotels are near our travel destinations. First, we should have booked our hotel near our travel spots. Second, food is not that accessible in the hotel. We tried to search ourselves for authentic Japanese cuisine but our place was surrounded with convenience stores and fast food chains. We ended up surviving off stale bread and cereals.

 Travel Tip 3: Always Bring your Passport! There are stores that are ‘tax free*’ with the condition that *aliens (Foreigners) must present their passports upon payment for discounts. It will save a lot of money and regrets.

Travel Tip 4: Umbrellas up! Whether it’s Scorching Sunny, Raspy Rainy, Cheerful Cloudy, the weather in Japan will require you to use one. You can rent one if you aren’t planning to stash your money.

Travel Tip 5: Only Expect to Depend on Yourself 24/7! Study the map, compute your transportation, download applications for your reach (see my list later) and most of all, if you depend on The Buddy System then expect to get lost around. In the event of this disaster, you have yourself prepped even if all your companions are really reliable and responsible. See your iPhone? Go forth! That is what technology is for.

Travel Tip 6: Transportation Will Be your Second Religion. Taxis are major luxuries. Unless you are willing to blow your cash on the tuxedo wearing man in black Honda, go ahead. Walking will eat all your hours, kill your knees, and turn that frown not upside down. Train station is everything. They invested their time studying the strict breaks and paradigm of timetables and railways. Read, study, and save more. Biking IS their usual mode of transportation. I’m not sure if you can rent one, but I’ll put that on my ‘List of Top Questions in Life’ and let you know.

Travel Tip 7: Get Used to Their Toilet and Their Love for Jammed Spaces! Japan is the Home of Technologies and Innovation. There will be vending machines for legit Japanese meals, a lot of buttons for your toilet, and expect lesser space in their homes, hotels, rooms, etc. It’s part of their culture. By the way, you will obviously notice their love for their own country because they use Japanese a lot. Even their subtitles are in Japanese Characters.

Last tip of the day, Travel Tip 8: Don’t Give Tips to Them! And by tips I mean, money. They don’t live on ‘alms’ because they believe in hard work.

Good Luck! 

See you tomorrow for my next post, Universal Studios Japan

Apps for Traveling: (thanks to my sister)
Waze - navigates
Waygo - translates Chinese, Japanese, Korean Characters into readable English
XE Currency - converts your money to their money


Home in Japan Home in Japan Reviewed by Michelle Tan on 4:56 PM Rating: 5

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