Lives in Japan...
a journey woman living in Japan and I�d like to share
these female-friendly tips with gals around the world...
As a woman traveller.
Japan is probably the safest country you could travel
in. You will feel and be safe at any hour of the day
or night. If you do feel threatened, which I assure
you is rare, (i.e. unwanted advances from a drunk
office worker on the train), create a scene by yelling
a few words in the language of your choice. It will
stop and the man will probably be yanked from the
If you�re travelling
anytime between June and the end of September, pack
very light, breathable clothing. The humidity in Japan
at this time of the year is more than just unbearable,
it's unbelievable. Don�t forget your collapsible umbrella,
especially in June when the rainy season begins.
A phrase book
that spends a few minutes teaching proper intonation
is also a bonus in your backpack. Even though most
Japanese learn English for almost seven years in school,
the level of spoken English is low, even in large
cities. And, Japanese is a very unforgiving language.
A missed syllable or misspoken phrase will usually
not be understood. A lot of Japanese are very impressed
when a foreigner can sputter out pleasantries and
will generally go out of their way to help. Often
when I ask for directions, people will stop what they
are doing and take me to where I want to go, to make
sure that I get there. (except in Kyoto, which is,
in my opinion both the most beautiful and the least
friendly city in Japan).
One thing that
is a must do in Japan is to visit an Onsen, or natural
hot springs bath. Many are located outdoors and the
water is chock full of minerals that have various
healing and beautifying properties. Bathing etiquette
is very important. First, you sit down at a small
shower stall and clean your body completely. Only
then can you enter the baths. Japanese women are quite
modest and will walk carrying a small towel in front
of them. Most Onsens supply small towels, soap and
shampoo, and some even supply razors and toothbrushes.
Be careful, because the water is always quite hot.
And yes, even though everyone shares the same water,
the baths are filtered, and because everyone bathes
first, the water is quite clean. It is also very rare
to find an Onsen that has a �mixed sex bathing� outer
pool, unless you are out in the countryside. To make
sure, take a peek before you take a dip.
When Canadian, Jennifer S. was in high school,
she spent one year as an exchange student living in
a Tokyo suburb. Now, as an adult, she has returned
to teach in Nagoya, Japan. Jennifer spends her longer
holidays exploring south-east Asia and her shorter
ones tromping around Japan.