You are here

Last-minute Nerves, Packing, and Japan?

January 5, 2019

When I applied to IES Abroad - Nagoya in the summer, it seemed pretty far into the future. Throughout the fall semester, after receiving my admittance, I still didn't register what it meant. The past 48 hours have been unreal. I realized that I am going to JAPAN. Yes, I am going to an Asian country with only a year and half of language study under my belt, and no guarantees that there will be another Latinx student at Nanzan University with me. 


Had I considered that before I applied? Yes.  

Am I ready for it? I believe that I am capable of handling it and getting through it. I don’t know if I am ready, but you rarely are ever fully prepared for great adventures...or at least that’s what I tell myself – an avid planner. 

I’ve concentrated on packing and researching what I need for Japan, but as my flight departure time approaches, I’ve gotten more and more nervous. So, what to do about these nerves? 

Well, relaxation techniques could work for you, but I’m more of a reflection-type of gal. So, I’m going to let you know of hurdles I’ve already encountered and overcame. 

First, we’ll start with CELLPHONE USAGE

Having recently returned from Mexico, I admit I was pampered because my data plan allowed me to continue using my phone with all its functions. Now I’m faced with a minor problem, but probably a slightly more complicated problem because of the language barrier. How do I choose a data plan in Japan? Is a rental phone better? Do I need a rental phone? What is PocketWifi? 

Somehow, after hours of research, I decided on SIM card rental. Not only does it seem to be a cheap and decent option, but I also get to continuously use my phone instead of just relying on WiFi. 

(PocketWifi is exactly what it sounds like. You carry a little WiFi device around that you turn on and off. I’ve read it’s better for larger groups.) 

I’m not going to lie. Until I have a SIM card in my phone, I will be very nervous to be in a new country with an insecure communication method. I’ll probably talk more about this once I’ve handled this issue in Japan! Keep an eye out! 


I’ve traveled domestically a lot, and, although I have gotten better at packing, I always struggle to pack LESS. This time, I really cut down on what I will bring, but I was STRESSED. Besides the usual essentials, here are some handy items I packed after some research: 

  • Hand towel(s) – Apparently, Japan’s bathrooms don’t usually carry towels/napkins. 
  • Slippers – You definitely need these if you want to go inside Japanese homes/some buildings. 
  • New Socks – If you don’t wear shoes inside, people will definitely pay attention to your socks. As someone who loses them often, I am worried. 
  • Wall Plug Adapter – If you have a charger with three prongs, you’ll need an adapter to use it in Japan. 
  • Medicine – This one was more about figuring out what medications you CAN bring and which you CAN’T bring. I don’t have a list (mostly, because I couldn’t find a comprehensive one), but one I read over and over again that you can’t bring is Adderall. 
  • Feminine Products – I brought a pack, but I read that feminine products are pretty easy to find and purchase. 
  • Birth Control – I put this one by itself because I want to emphasize it! If I abide by the general, but vague, restrictions, then birth control is not a controlled substance and I should be fine taking more than a month’s supply. However, I am still worried, despite reading others’ experiences and advice. I will definitely update everyone on this next time! 
  • Deodorant – Japanese deodorant is very different than U.S. deodorant and you probably won’t find the brands from home in Japan, so take as many as you need for a semester! 

For now, I can only be content with what I’ve packed and learned. The next step is to start the journey and see how it goes.  

Wish me luck!

From Our Blogs

Jan 13 8:58am

Studying Abroad from My Study Abroad

by Hyunmin

Right before takeoff, I'm trying to explain to myself why, the heck, I am flying to Vienna.

Learn more
Jan 13 5:24am

Post-Landing Adventure: IES Abroad Orientation

by Lesli

A field trip in Inuyama during the IES Abroad Nagoya Orientation.

Learn more
Jan 12 1:16am

The Week Before Vienna

by Audrey

In this post, I discuss the week leading up to my trip to Vienna. I also share a haiku.

Learn more
Jan 11 5:01pm

"Are You From North or South America?"

by Allison

When you’re an American in England, you have to sign every time you use your credit/debit card. Literally. Every. Time. The other day, I was at the grocery store and had to sign for my groceries. The cashier asked me if I had an English back account, to which I responded no.

Learn more
Jan 11 12:47pm

Two Thumbs Up & A Midwest Goodbye

by Tessa

An introduction before moving to France!

Learn more
Jan 10 5:56am

Following the Travel Bug to Granada

by Nina

My long-anticipated trip abroad will finally be reality in just one week and though I'm not yet completely packed, I'm feeling mentally prepared and ready for take-off!

Learn more