Just for Fun :)

Resources for honeymoon, pt. 6 -- hotels and hostels



















Resources for honeymoon, pt. 5 -- gaijin houses
Cheap Guesthouses for longer stays

By Amy Chavez December 1, 2008 http://www.planettokyo.com/news/index.cfm/fuseaction/story/ID/100/
Cheap Guesthouses for longer stays

Once you find how affordable a long-term rental guesthouse in Japan can be, you might find you want to extend your stay in Japan. International guesthouses, colloquially called gaijin houses (foreigner houses) can be very affordable if you’re staying in Japan a month or longer. For example, you can get a room for 48,000 yen (includes electricity and gas) with a shared bath, kitchen and living room. That’s what five nights in a Japanese-style minshuku or ryokan would cost you!

The advantages of staying at a gaijin house are numerous. They are short term, and allow you to live in a furnished apartment-style setting without having to pay large sums for key money and deposits. Instead, you merely pay your rent up front via credit card and you can come and go as you please, or even leave for a few days and come back “home” at the end of the week. Your gaijin house can act as a home base from which you can leave some of your belongings so you can travel lightly on day trips outside of Tokyo, a weekend trip to Mt. Fuji or even a week-long trip to other parts of Japan on your JR Rail Pass. Gaijin houses can be found all over Japan, but most are concentrated in the Tokyo area.

These guesthouses are set up for longer stays and thus offer internet access, a TV/recreation area and English speaking staff. They tend to attract students and other budget travelers seeking longer stays. It is no frills accommodation, but unlike youth hostels, gaijin houses are usually close to train lines and convenient to all parts of the city. Gaijin houses are hubs for travelers to meet, share stories and get the lowdown on what to do and where to go.

Gaijin houses have been around as long as gaijin have but were previously only accessible to travelers after they had arrived. In the past, many foreigners used gaijin houses as a temporary residence while they searched for a job. But recently, they have seen the potential in advertising gaijin houses online to get advance reservations. This movement has been headed up by Sakura House, who owns 190 properties in the Tokyo area which are rented out on a monthly basis. Gaijin House Japan lists properties all over Japan, including Okinawa, and has a comment system where you can read about other traveler’s experiences.

The deals at gaijin houses are so good, even Japanese people are said to be taking up temporary residence in them!

Gaijin House Japan lists gaijin houses all over Japan and offers more upscale offerings. See their English website.

Sakura House has a website in English.

Amy Chavez is a columnist for The Japan Times. Visit her website at http://www.moooobar.com

Resources for honeymoon, pt. 4 -- temple etiquette
Tips for Visiting Temples and Shrines in Japan
How to Visit a Temple and a Shrine in Japan

By Shizuko Mishima, About.com Guide http://gojapan.about.com/od/howtotravel/qt/visiting_temples_and_shrines_in_Japan.htm
See More About:

* japanese temples
* japanese shrines
* japanese new year
* japan attractions

"Asakusa Jinja Shrine"

Asakusa Jinja Shrine
Photo (c) Shizuko Mishima
People in Japan visit Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines on various occasions to pray for good health, happiness, traffic safety, and so on. There are thousands of shrines and temples around the country, and they are popular tourist attractions where beautiful gardens and historical buildings can be observed. Here are basic tips for visiting temples and shrines in Japan.

Tips for Visiting a Buddhist Temple in Japan

* Stop by the purification fountain in the temple grounds at first. Fill a hishaku ladle with water. Pour some water over each hand from the hishaku ladle. Put some water in your left palm and rinse your mouth with water.
* You might need to take off your shoes before you enter temple halls in some temples.
* Remember to take off your hat before you pray to the Buddhist images.
* Throw saisen (offering coins) into the offering box. Put your hands together in front of your chest and deeply bow once. Quietly make a prayer.
* Keep in mind that taking photographs might be forbidden in certain areas.

Tips for Visiting a Shinto Shrine in Japan

* Before you enter the torii (entrance gate) of a shrine, bow to it.
* Stop by the purification fountain. Fill a hishaku ladle with water. Pour some water over each hand from the hishaku ladle. Put some water in your left palm and rinse your mouth with water.
* When you pray to the Shinto deities, the followings are common steps.
1. Ring the bell if it's hung above the offering box.
2. Throw saisen (offering coins) into the offering box.
3. Deeply bow twice.
4. Clap your hands twice. Make a wish.
5. Deeply bow once.
* Keep in mind that taking photographs might be forbidden in certain areas.

Resources for honeymoon, pt. 3 -- bathhouse etiquette
How To Take a Bath in Japan

By Shizuko Mishima, About.com Guide http://gojapan.about.com/cs/livinginjapan/ht/ht_bath.htm
See More About:

* japanese culture
* living in japan
* japan travel tips

"Japanese Public Bath"

Japanese Public Bath
Photo (c) Shizuko Mishima
If you are staying with a Japanese family or going to a public bath, you might need to know how to take a bath in Japan.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 20
Here's How:

1. Take off your clothes in the changing room.
2. Put clothes in the shelf or basket.
3. Enter the bathroom with a small towel and your amenities.
4. There will be a bucket beside the tub, scoop out some water and pour it over yourself to rinse your body before getting in the bathtub.
5. Soak in the bathtub. Remember not to bring anything into the tub, not even a towel.
6. Get out of the tub and wash your body or hair in front of the faucet. (It should be done outside of the tub.)
7. Rinse off soap and shampoo well.
8. Get in the bathtub again if you want.
9. Rinse your body with clean warm water in front of faucet.
10. Dry your body with your small towel before you go to the changing room.
11. Dry your body with your bath towel and dress in the changing room.


1. Do not use soap in the tub.
2. The water in the tub tends to be hot in Japan. You can adjust it by running cold water, but don't overdo it.
3. Usually, the tub water is used by others. Please remember not to drain the water when you are finished.

Resources for honeymoon, pt. 2 -- ryokan etiquette
How To Stay in Japanese Inns

By Shizuko Mishima, About.com Guide http://gojapan.about.com/cs/etiquetteinjapan/ht/ht_japaneseinn.htm
See More About:

* japan hotels
* japanese culture
* japan travel tips
* japanese furnitures

"Japanese Inn"

Japanese Inn
Photo (c) Shizuko Mishima
Step-by-step instructions for what to expect and how to behave in a typical Japanese inn.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 1 night
Here's How:

1. Take off your shoes at the entrance and change into the slippers provided. You aren't supposed to wear shoes inside the inn.
2. After you check in, usually the host or a maid guides to your room.
3. Take off your slippers before stepping on the tatami (Japanese straw mat) floor in your room.
4. Za-buton cushions are set on the tatami for you to sit on.
5. A set of Japanese tea pot and teacups are prepared on the table. A maid usually serve green tea for you. Enjoy the tea and relax in the room.
6. Before dinner, it's a good time to bathe in the inn's public bath. You can take a bath later if you want. Many people take a bath several times a day.
7. After the bath, change to yukata robe (summer kimono) provided by the inn if you want. If a kimono jacket called tanzen is provided, put it on top of yukata.
8. Enjoy dinner served in your room or in the dining room.
9. Maids prepare futon beddings in your room.
10. Guests sleep on the futon spread on the tatami mats.
11. In the morning, maids pick up your futon and get the room ready for serving breakfast. *Breakfast might be served in the dining room.
12. After breakfast and rest, check out or go out for sightseeing.


1. Yukata robe is for you to wear as pajamas, but you can go out of your room wearing it.
2. Be sure to arrive before dinner time.
3. It's necessary to make reservations to stay in a Japanese inn.

Resources for honeymoon, pt. 1 -- packing
Japan Packing Tips
Packing Tips for a Trip to Japan

By Shizuko Mishima, About.com Guide http://gojapan.about.com/cs/traveltools/a/packing.htm
See More About:

* japan travel tips
* japan travel planner

You might be wondering what to bring for your trip to Japan. I will give you some packing tips for your trip to Japan and a list of items.

Japan Packing Tip 1: Money

The yen is the Japanese currency unit. It's convenient to bring major credit cards, such as MasterCard or VISA. You can use them at various places such as department stores, hotels, and restaurants in major cities. If you are traveling the countryside of Japan, many stores might not accept credit cards/traveler's checks. It's good to carry some Japanese yen in cash while you are in Japan. Be careful of pickpockets if you are taking a crowded train or going to an event where you can expect a large crowd. Currency Converter: To Japanese Yen You can use some foreign credit cards/ATM cards at Japan Post Office ATM.

Japan Packing Tip 2: Appliances

The electricity in Japan is 100 volts, and there are two cycles (50/60). In Tokyo and areas northeast of Tokyo, the electricity is 50 cycles. In the southwest Japan, it's 60 cycles. Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya are in the southwest side. If you need to bring any appliances from your country, make sure to bring a converter or plug. American appliances can be used in Japan without a converter although they will have less power. If your appliances are three-pronged, you need a plug since Japanese appliances are two-pronged. You can buy converters and plugs in the airports or travel equipment stores in Japan. But since it could be a hassle for you to find a store that sells the converters, it's better to purchase them in your own country. It shouldn't take much space in your luggage. If you want to email your family or friends from Japan, you might want to take your laptop. You can connect to the Internet from major hotels and public phones although Internet access can be expensive in Japan.

Japan Packing Tip 3: Luggage

Compared with westerners, who often travel with large suitcases, it's not common for Japanese people to travel with a large suitcase around the country. Consequently, there isn't usually a wide space to store large luggage in trains, and the coin lockers aren't large enough to hold them either. Keeping your luggage small is recommended when you travel around Japan. You might want to bring several small bags so that you don't have to carry a large suitcase.

Japan Packing Tip 4: Shoes

Since it's a Japanese custom to take off your shoes indoors, you might have to take off your shoes often in Japan. Bringing a pair of shoes that you can slip off and on easily might be convenient. Make sure to bring, and wear, a nice pair of socks or pantyhose to avoid any embarrassment when you take off your shoes.

Packing Tip 5: Handkerchief and Pocket tissue

It's important to carry a handkerchief in Japan. Many restrooms in Japan don't have paper towels. Be sure to bring a handkerchief in your pocket to dry your hands. Also, pocket tissues are good to carry, since they are often needed while traveling.

Japan Packing Tip 6: Gifts

While you are in Japan, you might be visiting a Japanese home. If you are wondering what to bring for gifts, former travelers to Japan share good ideas in the forum.

Check List:

* Passport and Visa
* Airplane Tickets
* Japan Railpass purchasing order
* Traveler's check
* Japanese yen in cash if possible
* Travel Insurance
* Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express)
* Photocopy of all these documents
* Small suitcase or extra bags
* Camera (film is cheap in Japan)
* Umbrella
* Small calculator
* Dictionary (Japanese Conversation book) / Guidebook
* Sewing set
* Walking shoes
* First Aid Kit / Prescription / OTC Medicine
* Alarm clock
* Glasses and Contact lenses
* Jackets / Night wear / Socks / Underwear
* Shaver (cordless would be good)
* Laptop if you need
* Plastic bags (can be trash bags)
* Pen / Memo note
* Cosmetics and your amenities

Vespa love!
I took my Vespa into UB for the first time during a school day and parked it in the designated motorcycle parking near Clemens hall. I taught my class, then came back and saw another Vespa parked next to mine, the pink one I had seen last year. I thought it was super cute. Here's a picture:

I think I'm gonna take Kelly's advice and leave a post-it note on the pink Vespa as a love note from my Vespa.

Also I went riding with Dave and his dad: a Vespa, a three-wheeler, and a two-wheeled cruiser. I bet we looked rediculous. lol.

Yay Vespa club!

R.I.P., 今 敏
Satoshi Kon, one of the most brilliant dreamers of our time, died three days ago (August 24th). I have long since admired his work for its amazing sincerity and grasp of the human emotional conscience (and indeed, I am using his films in my thesis work). I am totally shocked that he is gone, and will treasure even more the movies he has left me. Each of his movies was a masterpiece, but the piece that has still touched me the most to this day is Millennium Actress.

If you haven't seen it, you haven't lived. Another of his films (but MUCH lesser known) and another one of my favorites, Tokyo Godfathers, should also be on your to-watch-before-you-die lists.

The saddest part of all is the farewell message he has placed on his blog, viewed here. Run it through babel fish or another online translator and you'll get the gist of his translations. The saddest part, is how he ends, where he says he can go in peace and signs the blogpost, "お先に," which is the Japanese term for "I'm leaving before you," often used in the workplace or in another situation in which it is implied that there will be another meeting.


Team Jacob, BITCH!!!
I totally went and saw "Vampires Suck" with Dave. And you should all go see it. It was totally worth it, and now I understand the plot of Twilight and I didn't have to sit through hours and hours of the real thing.



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