One Month Down, 11 More To Go
It's hard to imagine that I've already been here a full month but it appears to be that way. Time really does fly in the most insane situations. I would like to briefly reflect on my first month here by sharing some wisdom that I have fabricated in my time, so please, if you are ever in Japan, heed this advice and you will have a successful and amazing month as I have had.
1. If you only learn one phrase in Japanese I highly recommend "excuse me." Used in the right context and tone of voice, it is universal. You can use it to get past people on a crowded escalator, you can use it to grab the attention of waiters and bus drivers, or use it to have things repeated to you. So far, this phrase has been a staple in my daily life because a polite foreigner is looked at better than a mute foreigner.
2. Explore cities with both people and on your own. Going out on your own allows you to go at your own pace and forces you to ask strangers to take pictures of you. While this may seem a little ridiculous by asking strangers to take a picture of you you further your ability to ask other Japanese people other things. Plus, being able to wander around Japan as fast, or slow, as you want is an ideal situation.
3. Don't be cautious with food. Just throw all inhibitions to the wind and try it all. Oh, you are definately going to eat some bad stuff every once in a while but there's more good than bad out there. And you cannot eat McDonald's all the time. Who wants to be the stupid tourist who doesn't experience the country to its fullest?
4. Watch your finances. Don't go pissing away your cash as quickly as you can. Yes, it's fun to go out every night and drink to your heart's content but the punishment later on down the line outweighs the constant drinking fun. Don't get me wrong, go out and enjoy yourself but all in moderation.
5. As with many destinations no one tells you about the freaking weather. Purchase a hankerchief to mop your brow and wear undershirts if you are wearing conservative clothes. There is nothing worse than arriving to work drenched.
Overall, my month has been filled with alot of great times with very few exceptions. As long as the next 11 are very similar, I think this year will go off without a hitch.