Travelling Through Japan PT. 1: Tricks and Trips

Danielle Adoghe
July 17, 2018

Hey guys! I thought it would be great to share with you through photos some tips and tricks you can use to make your study abroad experience even better. I wish I had someone to tell me these things before I went :p

1. Try to get to know everyone in your program! Orientation is informative, but it's also the only few days that everyone will be in the same area as you. You never know who you might connect with.

2. Put together a list of all your MUST DOs in Japan together, and try to get them in towards the beginning of the program. As the summer or semester wraps up and finals close in, you'll find yourself wanting to spend more time hanging out indoors studying or going out; not adventuring. That's why I'm so glad I got this giant cotton candy towards the beginning of the trip, not the end!

3. Try all the Japan-unique (and even Tokyo-unique) foods you can! Especially if you're in an area that you know you're prooooobably not going to come back to anytime soon.

4. Try to ride in the first or last car of any train that travels above ground. You can get the best photos from there, including shots from the train conductor's perspective! No commuters in these landscape shots.

5. Save some time in your schedule to go to some museums. The science museum we went to, Miraikan, had exhibits on science I didn't even know existed! There were also inventions and ideas made in Japan, so they were given their own unique showcase.

6. Eat some fresh, in-season fruit! When I went, peaches and cherries were in harvest, and they tasted heavenly. If you tried to get this quality in America, it would be 1) not as fresh and 2) very expensive. Enjoy the cheap quality while you can!

7. Japanese fluffy pancakes don't have to be expensive. There are some well-known stores that will happily charge you $14 for a stack (not including your drink). Avoid at all costs!!! Instead, wander around the backstreets of Harajuku and you'll find a few stores that have fluffy pancakes on the menu for far less.

8. Visit Mt. Fuji. I hear climbing it is a great experience, but if you don't want to do a several hour long hike that involves sleeping overnight if you want to see the sunrise, you can always go up to the 5th Station. There's a bunch of soverniers and meals up there, along with a shrine! The view is also amazing.

9. Explore Shibuya and all the little shops. Make sure you take the time to actually read the signs advertising the things on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floor. After a while, you'll get used to all the lights and glitter, but you could miss something hilarious like the Trump Room and Nude Trump (same building, different places!)

10. Go to the beach! The train ride (or plane ride, if you're very determined for a white sand beach) can be very expensive, but there's nothing like a good beachday when you're on vacation.

11. Don't expect really great thrifting in Tokyo. Japanese people take great care of their products, so the used clothing culture is more $70 perfect condition T-shirts than $7 denim jeans. But there is one thrift store in Shibuya that truly made me feel at home: Don Don Down on Wednesday. The clothing prices drop every Wednesday, thus the name. I got this great multicolor letter button down from there, as well as these jeans, and lot more clothing.

12. Hit some of the touristy spots. A lot of blogs will advertise getting lost in the back streets and finding homegrown restaurants. While I don't dismiss that, there are also some touristy places that are totally worth visitng. The Ghibli Museum and Takeshita Street top my list.

13. Stop by traditional Japanese monuments, shrines, and temples. They are rich with cultural importance and they also have tons of omiyage with different meanings like "victory", "good grades", and even "traffic safety".

14. Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market before it closes! Well, that's a big of exaggeration. It's not so much closing as the shops are being moved from the original wood structure to a more modern building steps away. This is being done to showcase a more advanced Japan for the 2020 Olympics. However, if you appreciate the authentic and original, make sure to stop by the Outer Market before 3 pm and you should still see some of the stores that are still open.

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15. UFO Catchers, or what we call claw machines, are a phenomenon in Japan. There are all rigged, but they can be won! Two of my friends got stuffed animals at the same time as this video, which was geniunely the first time I'd ever heard of it happening. What do you have to lose?

Hopefully, you can take these tips and make your study abroad experience even better. Happy travelling!

Best,

Danielle Adoghe

Danielle Adoghe

<p>Storytelling has always been one of my favorite things to do: when I was little, I used to create little books for my siblings with printer paper, staples, and a black Sharpie. Lately, I like to take pictures of my outfits and surroundings, then share my creative journey on Instagram. The Sims 3 is my favorite game, and I personally feel that Beyoncé is one of the greatest artists of all time. Finally, I hate fish, but I love shrimp.</p>

Program:
Destination:
Term:
2018 Summer 1, 2018 Summer 2
Home university:
University Of Central Florida
Hometown:
Orlando, FL
Major:
Political Science
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