Travel Information, Dining Recs, Tips, & Tricks Mega Thread

Monkeyface

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More specifics necessary

I highly recommend a baseball game in Osaka
I don't really know what I want to do. In the past I've always gone with a very rough plan and then narrowed down once I'm there based on locals'/other tourists' recommendations. I have a feeling that'll be more difficult in Japan compared to SEA, and I don't have as much time, so I'll need to narrow it down a bit in advance. One thing I do know is that I don't want to be rushed. I've had enough stress over the past years, so I'd rather take it easy and see less. If I miss some things that's ok.

I want to see the castles, temples, gardens and the old architecture, but I'm wondering if it'll be a case of seen one seen em all. It's certainly the case with old churches in Europe for me. I definitely want some time near the beach in a tropical location, maybe some scuba diving or surfing, so that'll probably be Okinawa. I want to see some of the countryside as well. No need to climb Mount Fuji, but seeing some of the forests and such would be nice. The problem with being in the countryside as a solo traveler is that it can get a bit lonely. I don't mind being completely alone for a week or so, but not much more than that.

I want to see everyday life as well. Get drunk in a bar with salarymen after work, check out the local food scene, etc. I'd probably enjoy the authentic and simple Izakayas more than the super fancy restaurants. I've been going to too many upscale restaurants in London anyways, and I kind of want this trip to be a break from that. Does that make sense?
 

Monkeyface

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Going to South Korea for a week instead of Okinawa, and the remainder of the time in Japan. Can't wait to have some good BBQ and bibimbap with plenty of shochu to wash it down. Korea is cheaper than I expected, big difference with Japan.
 

doghouse

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Going to South Korea for a week instead of Okinawa, and the remainder of the time in Japan. Can't wait to have some good BBQ and bibimbap with plenty of shochu to wash it down. Korea is cheaper than I expected, big difference with Japan.
Watch out for ICBM's.
 

Lord Buckley

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I don't really know what I want to do. In the past I've always gone with a very rough plan and then narrowed down once I'm there based on locals'/other tourists' recommendations. I have a feeling that'll be more difficult in Japan compared to SEA, and I don't have as much time, so I'll need to narrow it down a bit in advance. One thing I do know is that I don't want to be rushed. I've had enough stress over the past years, so I'd rather take it easy and see less. If I miss some things that's ok.

I want to see the castles, temples, gardens and the old architecture, but I'm wondering if it'll be a case of seen one seen em all. It's certainly the case with old churches in Europe for me. I definitely want some time near the beach in a tropical location, maybe some scuba diving or surfing, so that'll probably be Okinawa. I want to see some of the countryside as well. No need to climb Mount Fuji, but seeing some of the forests and such would be nice. The problem with being in the countryside as a solo traveler is that it can get a bit lonely. I don't mind being completely alone for a week or so, but not much more than that.

I want to see everyday life as well. Get drunk in a bar with salarymen after work, check out the local food scene, etc. I'd probably enjoy the authentic and simple Izakayas more than the super fancy restaurants. I've been going to too many upscale restaurants in London anyways, and I kind of want this trip to be a break from that. Does that make sense?
^Yeah baby, all of that. Funnily enough I had a dream about that nasty Japanese hornet that can kill you the other night.

Japan is one of the places I am still intrigued and looking forward to visiting, preferably on the company pay check and for several days at least. A project for 12-18 months would be ideal. Not much chance of that as that region falls out of my remit and is well covered by locals and Australia. Several of my ex-colleagues with very specific Quality Assurance qualifications have worked there for extended periods and one of the GM's of one of our subcontractors in Italy studied there and his stories are fantastic. He married a Japanese air hostess.
 

Monkeyface

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^Yeah baby, all of that. Funnily enough I had a dream about that nasty Japanese hornet that can kill you the other night.

Japan is one of the places I am still intrigued and looking forward to visiting, preferably on the company pay check and for several days at least. A project for 12-18 months would be ideal. Not much chance of that as that region falls out of my remit and is well covered by locals and Australia. Several of my ex-colleagues with very specific Quality Assurance qualifications have worked there for extended periods and one of the GM's of one of our subcontractors in Italy studied there and his stories are fantastic. He married a Japanese air hostess.
My Japanese coworkers worked extremely long hours, but Japan is supposed to be nice as a foreigner because you're not held to the same ridiculous norms.
 

Lord Buckley

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My Japanese coworkers worked extremely long hours, but Japan is supposed to be nice as a foreigner because you're not held to the same ridiculous norms.
If I worked there, I would commit to the same work ethic.

I worked in a JV with one of the few Japanese companies that had weekends off. Monday to Friday it was serious hours from 6.30-7am to 9.30-11pm at night. No one can work effectively for that many hours, but with downtime, inspiration can come late afternoon/early evening.
 

Monkeyface

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If I worked there, I would commit to the same work ethic.

I worked in a JV with one of the few Japanese companies that had weekends off. Monday to Friday it was serious hours from 6.30-7am to 9.30-11pm at night. No one can work effectively for that many hours, but with downtime, inspiration can come late afternoon/early evening.
They don't work all those hours, they're just in the office that long. I've seen them sleep on their desks, read mangas, and mostly just pretending to be busy. It's much for efficient to work hard and use the remainder of your time to explore the country. Offices look the same around the world, so there's no point in working abroad if all you'll be seeing is your cubicle.
 

fxh

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Going to South Korea for a week instead of Okinawa, and the remainder of the time in Japan. Can't wait to have some good BBQ and bibimbap with plenty of shochu to wash it down. Korea is cheaper than I expected, big difference with Japan.
You could probably fund your trip by crowd funding from SF denizens if you offered to bring back leather jackets and could arrange a whack on a deaf chicken shop man.
 

Journeyman

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They don't work all those hours, they're just in the office that long. I've seen them sleep on their desks, read mangas, and mostly just pretending to be busy.
One of my friends who used to work in Japan asked his colleagues why they would spend the first couple of hours of the work-day reading newspapers and drinking tea or coffee, but would then stay until late in the evening. Why not work hard in the morning and go home earlier? He was told that they had to stay until the manager went home and so, knowing that they'd be in the office until 9pm or later, they saw no point in working hard early in the morning because then they'd have nothing to do in the late afternoon/evening.

A terribly wasteful and inefficient way of working, but that sort of culture can be very difficult to change.

When my wife first graduated from university, she went to work for one of the world's largest insurance companies, which happened to be Japanese. One of her colleagues died from overwork (or "karoushi", as it's known in Japanese) - he had a huge amount of work to do but he couldn't get through it, so he started staying back later and later and coming in earlier and earlier, until eventually he was sleeping in the office. I asked my wife why he couldn't have asked for help - explained that he needed some support, needed someone else to take on some of the work, or asked to not be given any new work until he'd got through the existing pile - but my wife said that people simply wouldn't do that in Japan. There are various elements at play such as fear, shame, loss of respect (from others and of yourself), and also a feeling of competitiveness and desire to succeed in a big, prestigious company.

Both of those things happened 20 years ago, though I'm not sure if anything's changed over the past couple of decades.
 

Monkeyface

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One of my friends who used to work in Japan asked his colleagues why they would spend the first couple of hours of the work-day reading newspapers and drinking tea or coffee, but would then stay until late in the evening. Why not work hard in the morning and go home earlier? He was told that they had to stay until the manager went home and so, knowing that they'd be in the office until 9pm or later, they saw no point in working hard early in the morning because then they'd have nothing to do in the late afternoon/evening.

A terribly wasteful and inefficient way of working, but that sort of culture can be very difficult to change.

When my wife first graduated from university, she went to work for one of the world's largest insurance companies, which happened to be Japanese. One of her colleagues died from overwork (or "karoushi", as it's known in Japanese) - he had a huge amount of work to do but he couldn't get through it, so he started staying back later and later and coming in earlier and earlier, until eventually he was sleeping in the office. I asked my wife why he couldn't have asked for help - explained that he needed some support, needed someone else to take on some of the work, or asked to not be given any new work until he'd got through the existing pile - but my wife said that people simply wouldn't do that in Japan. There are various elements at play such as fear, shame, loss of respect (from others and of yourself), and also a feeling of competitiveness and desire to succeed in a big, prestigious company.

Both of those things happened 20 years ago, though I'm not sure if anything's changed over the past couple of decades.
Nothing has changed. There is a reason why the Japanese government is making up more national holidays. Only way to get them to stop working and procreate is by forcing them to take time off.
 
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C0keZer0

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Going to South Korea for a week instead of Okinawa, and the remainder of the time in Japan. Can't wait to have some good BBQ and bibimbap with plenty of shochu to wash it down. Korea is cheaper than I expected, big difference with Japan.
Since you're going to my homeland, I'll give you some advice. I don't fook'n care whether you take it or not.
1. It's called soju and you're not going to be washing down bibimbap with it, you idiot. If you like liquor, then you will find it too weak and hate it. But try it.
2. Public bathrooms usually do not have soap nor toilet paper. Carry those around, if possible.
3. Use the subway system if you're going to be staying in Seoul. Stay away from taxis. And make sure you get a card to use the subway system in Seoul. The same card can be used on buses and cabs too, but avoid cabs.
4. Don't expect people to hold the door for you. And don't hold the door open for people or you'll be there for a long time. 5. Don't buy any imported stuff at shopping malls. Stuff like a Zegna dress shirt will be about 1.5 times higher compared to the States.
6. Do cross the line over to the North when you get to the DMZ.
 

Monkeyface

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Since you're going to my homeland, I'll give you some advice. I don't fook'n care whether you take it or not.
1. It's called soju and you're not going to be washing down bibimbap with it, you idiot. If you like liquor, then you will find it too weak and hate it. But try it.
2. Public bathrooms usually do not have soap nor toilet paper. Carry those around, if possible.
3. Use the subway system if you're going to be staying in Seoul. Stay away from taxis. And make sure you get a card to use the subway system in Seoul. The same card can be used on buses and cabs too, but avoid cabs.
4. Don't expect people to hold the door for you. And don't hold the door open for people or you'll be there for a long time. 5. Don't buy any imported stuff at shopping malls. Stuff like a Zegna dress shirt will be about 1.5 times higher compared to the States.
6. Do cross the line over to the North when you get to the DMZ.
Geez that's your inside information? Don't you have any cool tips?

Ah yeah shochu is the Japanese version. Same same, but different. I like it all.
 
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C0keZer0

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Geez that's your inside information? Don't you have any cool tips?

Ah yeah shochu is the Japanese version. Same same, but different. I like it all.
Go to the park that I told you about. You'll love it.
Cool tips? Dang, I'm old and married so I don't know the coolest bars and clubs to go to anymore.
My bad on the lame tips.

Japanese wine/liquor - saki
Korean liquor - soju
 

Monkeyface

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Oh crap, you're in Japan already? I didn't think that you were going for a couple of weeks! I entirely forgot to send you any suggestions/tips.
No worries mate, I've been eating and drinking my way across the country. Plenty of days with a second lunch and/or second dinner because the food is just so good! Japan is surprisingly easy to get around once you get the hang of it (bus stops are harder to find though, but easy enough).

Kyoto/Hiroshima this week, and then going back to Tokyo after for a few days of shopping in shibuya/omotesando/aoyama (I'm size XL in Japan, so basically everything in my size is deeply discounted during the sales), and then back home again.
 

Journeyman

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You probably know this already, but while in Kyoto, see if you can pop over to Nara for a day trip and stop off at Fushimi Inari Taisha on the way there or back. Nara has quite a few shrines and temples, including Toudai-ji with its "Daibutsuden" or "Hall of the big Buddha", which is the largest wooden building in the world.

Kyoto, of course, is full of places to go and things to see - Kiyomizu-dera, Ginkaku-ji, Kinkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji and a plethora of other temples. Over on the western side is Arashiyama, with a famous wooden bridge, bamboo groves and Tenryu-ji temple.



In Hiroshima, see if you can make a day trip to Miyajima - check tide times so that you're there when the "floating torii" (the large, wooden shrine gate just off the edge of the island) is partially submerged, as it's not nearly as photogenic when it's high and dry. You can actually stay in Miyajima overnight, if you like, which is a nice experience. You can either walk up or take a chairlift up the hill on the island - I walked up and stopped at a tiny little hut for some udon noodles part-way up for a rest and to admire the view. You can also hire a bike on Miyajima and go for a ride around the island.

If you're interested in cars, you can book a tour of the Mazda factory - and the accompanying Mazda museum - in Hiroshima.

Are you stopping anywhere else in that area - Okayama? Kurashiki?
 

Monkeyface

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You probably know this already, but while in Kyoto, see if you can pop over to Nara for a day trip and stop off at Fushimi Inari Taisha on the way there or back. Nara has quite a few shrines and temples, including Toudai-ji with its "Daibutsuden" or "Hall of the big Buddha", which is the largest wooden building in the world.

Kyoto, of course, is full of places to go and things to see - Kiyomizu-dera, Ginkaku-ji, Kinkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji and a plethora of other temples. Over on the western side is Arashiyama, with a famous wooden bridge, bamboo groves and Tenryu-ji temple.



In Hiroshima, see if you can make a day trip to Miyajima - check tide times so that you're there when the "floating torii" (the large, wooden shrine gate just off the edge of the island) is partially submerged, as it's not nearly as photogenic when it's high and dry. You can actually stay in Miyajima overnight, if you like, which is a nice experience. You can either walk up or take a chairlift up the hill on the island - I walked up and stopped at a tiny little hut for some udon noodles part-way up for a rest and to admire the view. You can also hire a bike on Miyajima and go for a ride around the island.

If you're interested in cars, you can book a tour of the Mazda factory - and the accompanying Mazda museum - in Hiroshima.

Are you stopping anywhere else in that area - Okayama? Kurashiki?
Cheers bud!

Did arashiyama by bike today, was a lovely day in the countryside. Going to Nara tomorrow, and Hiroshima/miyajima the day after.
 

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Anyone have any good insider tips for Miami? Rambo Rambo ? Looking to stay somewhere close to all the action, preferably where I don’t need a car (if possible) so recommendations re neighborhoods welcome.
 

doghouse

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Anyone have any good insider tips for Miami? Rambo Rambo ? Looking to stay somewhere close to all the action, preferably where I don’t need a car (if possible) so recommendations re neighborhoods welcome.
It's @Rambos town. I used to spend every winter in SFl but not too much anymore.

I like Coconut Grove myself, but the stereotypical Miami is more downtown and South beach.
 

Rambo

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Anyone have any good insider tips for Miami? Rambo Rambo ? Looking to stay somewhere close to all the action, preferably where I don’t need a car (if possible) so recommendations re neighborhoods welcome.
happy to help. first, what do you consider "action"? you want to be on the beach or you want to be near a golf course? i absolutely would not look to coconut grove if you don't want to drive since its situated smack in the middle of the city and away from all the touristy things.
 

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happy to help. first, what do you consider "action"? you want to be on the beach or you want to be near a golf course?
For this bloke = Close by to cheap "massage" with happy ending, expensive restaurants serving hamburgers and all you can eat and especially powdered iced tea and where "dressed up" means sandals with dirty cargo shorts with a band t shirt
 

prince nez

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happy to help. first, what do you consider "action"? you want to be on the beach or you want to be near a golf course? i absolutely would not look to coconut grove if you don't want to drive since its situated smack in the middle of the city and away from all the touristy things.
Definitely not a golf course lol. Was thinking more somewhere close to a nice beach (well, I’m not expecting Bondi but anyway...), bars, restaurants, clubs etc. with a lower than average likelihood of being shot on the street for looking sideways at a Cuban.

For this bloke = Close by to cheap "massage" with happy ending, expensive restaurants serving hamburgers and all you can eat and especially powdered iced tea and where "dressed up" means sandals with dirty cargo shorts with a band t shirt
You know me too well. Btw thanks for all those tips from your last visit to Thailand!
 

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Definitely not a golf course lol. Was thinking more somewhere close to a nice beach (well, I’m not expecting Bondi but anyway...), bars, restaurants, clubs etc. with a lower than average likelihood of being shot on the street for looking sideways at a Cuban.
then you want to be on south beach, ft. lauderdale, or key west. ft. lauderdale and key west are slightly more difficult to get around without a car but there's uber everywhere now so its not bad. south beach has shuttles and busses and shit.

narrow it down and let me know which one you'd like recommendations for.
 

prince nez

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then you want to be on south beach, ft. lauderdale, or key west. ft. lauderdale and key west are slightly more difficult to get around without a car but there's uber everywhere now so its not bad. south beach has shuttles and busses and shit.

narrow it down and let me know which one you'd like recommendations for.
Ok thanks, appreciate it. I’ll google a bit on those three and let you know.

Also going to Chicago on this trip - any of our 4 active US members know anything about the Windy City? doghouse doghouse ?
 

doghouse

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then you want to be on south beach, ft. lauderdale, or key west. ft. lauderdale and key west are slightly more difficult to get around without a car but there's uber everywhere now so its not bad. south beach has shuttles and busses and shit.

narrow it down and let me know which one you'd like recommendations for.
I'm not sure ye olde prince is looking for Lauderdale type stuff, I see him more as a Miami man, but I could be wrong. It does have Bimini Bay Bar though, which is the world's greatest drinking establishment, so there's that.

Key West is probably the easiest to get around sans car though, bicycle is the preferred mode of transport anyway.

Ok thanks, appreciate it. I’ll google a bit on those three and let you know.

Also going to Chicago on this trip - any of our 4 active US members know anything about the Windy City? doghouse doghouse ?
Have you already picked hotel? You have to stay in the Loop. Everything else is a sprawling suburb or ghetto, and getting around is a royal pain in the ass.
 

prince nez

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I'm not sure ye olde prince is looking for Lauderdale type stuff, I see him more as a Miami man, but I could be wrong. It does have Bimini Bay Bar though, which is the world's greatest drinking establishment, so there's that.

Key West is probably the easiest to get around sans car though, bicycle is the preferred mode of transport anyway.
Ok settled on Sth Beach - all recs and tips for bars, restaurants, clubs etc. welcome!

Have you already picked hotel? You have to stay in the Loop. Everything else is a sprawling suburb or ghetto, and getting around is a royal pain in the ass.
Thanks for this. Haven’t booked Air BnB in Chitown yet, so any picks for the best neighborhoods also much appreciated.
 
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