First trip to Japan! How can I prepare?

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First trip to Japan! How can I prepare? 2012/1/16 14:32
I'm moving to Japan in about 2 months to begin my study abroad program. I'll be abroad for about 4 months.

I'm just now starting to freak out. I've never traveled overseas much less moved overseas to live there.

I just want to know from everyone who has studied or worked in Japan what is the best way to prepare?

comments from native Japanese would be great too :)

what should I do while I am still home to prepare for the culture shock and everything?

If there is anything you wish you knew when YOU first went to Japan I would love to hear that too.

I know this would not only help me but many other people who plan to study abroad as well!!

Thank you. I can't wait to hear everyone's comments :D

by Ta-chan <3 (guest)  

Re: First trip to Japan! How can I prepare? 2012/1/17 06:40
I have neither studied nor worked in japan, but I'm going to answer anyway. =)

When I went to japan for two weeks back in september, I tried to prepare for it as much as possible. I learned a little bit of the language (not much, just a few stock phrases from phrasebooks), I read a lot about customs/culture (including two books on japanese etiquette), and I went into it assuming that nobody would speak english. I tried to answer the most obvious questions I would have: How do I buy train tickets and get through the station? How do I check in/out of a hotel? How do I order food? Where will I wash my clothes? I focused on daily/weekly necessities like the aforementioned. I plan *for* vacations, but I don't often plan the vacations themselves.

All of the above things were helpful for me. I wasn't ever really shocked or surprised by much because I'd read so much on etiquette/customs/etc. The culture shock was probably a bit less because of this.

The one thing that, in hindsight, I wish I would've done before my trip is learn the kana. Especially katakana. Taking just a little extra time to learn that one thing would have helped me quite a bit.

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