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About Dolphins, Japanese Baths and Solo Angst...
e-mail vignettes contain loads of tips...

Push Pin

She Lives in Japan...

bonsaiI�m 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 train.

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.


To read about Her Visit to Northern Ireland, click here.




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