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moof's prattling

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July 12th, 2014

(no subject) @ 06:53 pm

I haven't been posting here because I haven't had much to say that was new or fully thought-out; I suppose that even a once-a-month fluff might be better than the whole lot of nothing that I currently have. (OTOH, my sister told me that she'd stopped reading my LJ because it was too depressing - but that was probably around ten years ago.)

Speaking of my sister - I'm taking her to Japan for vacation in a little over a week. It'll have been almost five years since I'd moved away from there - and honestly, I'm a little nervous at the prospect. Living there was probably the happiest I'd been for quite a long time (until I got laid off and depression reared its ugly head again), and I hope I won't be emotionally overwhelmed by being there. It should be a lot of fun, though.
 
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From:randomdreams
Date:July 13th, 2014 02:00 am (UTC)
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We're planning on visiting Japan as soon as we're not both having to work overtime to pay off medical bills. Which hopefully should be soon. What suggestions do you have for someone going there for the first time, with a place to stay (on an american military base) and about a year of Japanese in college fifteen years ago?
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From:moof
Date:July 13th, 2014 02:06 am (UTC)
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Oh, golly. Japan is big and packed with things! Is there any particular environment or type of activity you especially want to see or do? I can give you very specific suggestions for things in the Tokyo/Yokohama area, but more general ones for the country in general.

That you have a year of Japanese is going to help you far more than you'd think, especially in being able to read signs: if it's in Roman script, it's generally decorative - but if it's in Katakana, it's going to be semantically meaningful and helpful, and there's a shitton of English loan words (e.g. クリーニング for "dry-cleaners") that are semi-ubiquitous. For a lot of Japanese, English is like 'merkin high-school spanish - half-remembered, poorly pronounced, evokes embarrassment to use, and is a lot more easily understood when written down as opposed to spoken.
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From:randomdreams
Date:July 13th, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
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manintheboat says "gardens. Monkeys. Hot springs. I think a love motel might be a little too much pressure."
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From:moof
Date:July 13th, 2014 02:30 am (UTC)
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Gardens? No problem! Japan loves its parks, 公園. My favorite is Kichijouji in Tokyo, but that's partially because I lived there; it's not nearly as impressive as some of the flower gardens or whatever.

Monkeys! Probably the most famous are the Hokkaido snow monkeys - but the best-known park for them is down in Nagano, Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park. I've never been there! Mostly, I hear people enthusing about the deer in Nara rather than the monkeys, but I think I'd prefer to see the monkeys.

Hot springs: difficult to avoid! Probably the biggest, most famous cluster of them is the Hakone area; it's kind of a tourist trap, but it's still fun. They're also exposed at least a little to English speakers, which can make things rather a lot easier.

Love motel: not as difficult as you might think! Most of them are quite pedestrian; they have nice showers, video games, karaoke, and a large bed. They exist for getting the hell away from your tiny apartment which can be far too intimate (and simultaneously, dull or not noiseproof enough), or for the secondary purpose of crashing for a few hours when you're too drunk and don't want to pay for an usurious cab ride home after the trains have stopped. Their "service time" (aka 'non-peak hours') prices can actually be quite modest.
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From:randomdreams
Date:July 13th, 2014 02:16 am (UTC)
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Do they have a culture of laundromats, or one of sending out your dirty clothes to a service? My scandinavian explorations have been laundromat-based but that was something we couldn't find anywhere in Spain. We ended up doing our own in the bathroom and hanging it all over the room.
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From:moof
Date:July 13th, 2014 02:34 am (UTC)
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Most of the hotels I've been at had coin laundry facilities somewhere in them. They do have コインランドリー ("coin laundry") places around a fair amount of places; This is a fairly good summary. One thing to note is that the Japanese really don't use dryers all that much; they usually prefer to hang up their laundry instead, and then hundred-yen stores are chockablock full of laundry-hanging devices.
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From:moof
Date:July 13th, 2014 02:38 am (UTC)
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Oh! And something else I forgot to mention: while google translate is often utter crap, there exist browser extensions that will do mouse-over translation of individual words: Rikaichan for Firefox and Rikaikun for Chrome. I (still) use them all the time. They both use a derivative of the wwwjdic dictionaries.

Edited at 2014-07-13 02:38 am (UTC)
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From:randomdreams
Date:July 13th, 2014 05:33 am (UTC)
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These will all be totally helpful. Thank you! I'll probably come up with some more questions, but the monkey thing alone will keep us very busy.
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From:xeger
Date:July 13th, 2014 02:21 pm (UTC)
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Heh. I still like to read you, and hear how things are going, good or bad.

... and man ... it's been 5 years already?!? Yargh!
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From:moof
Date:July 18th, 2014 03:06 am (UTC)
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It seems like at this point that people I see "occasionally" in person is "once every five years", which is a super-bizarre thought. The other day, I told oao, "You know, I don't think I've seen you in person since Zeke was a tot" - and he's a teenager now.
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From:weezyl
Date:July 14th, 2014 04:41 pm (UTC)
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Time flies! I did not internally process that your trip is so soon, although I know we've talked about it. I may be in denial of July's quick passing due to the number of work projects currently on my plate that remain half-finished.
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From:cheezaddict
Date:July 14th, 2014 09:05 pm (UTC)
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Have a great trip! Nothing like serious jetlag to trigger raw emotions. I recommend staying well hydrated :)

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