I'm still short Aomori-ken and Okinawa. All the rest of the country I've seen at great length, and have stayed in a variety of hotels, from capsules to 1000-year old ryokan temples, have bathed in 67 hot spring baths. I've been able to take part in weddings, funerals, festivals, and office drinking parties. At this point, I think I've done just about all there is.

I'm not sure what kind of proof would suffice here, but I'll try to accommodate any requests.

[Edit: Part One of my albums, more coming later. Some of these pictures refer to questions answered in the AMA)

[Edit 2: holy god, suddenly, a deluge of questions. I'm gonna go get some dinner. Later tonight, I'll be back to answer as many as humanly possible. Thanks for the response!]

[Edit 3: well, this thing blew up faster than I expected. It's about to be bedtime- but if anyone's still got questions, I'll try to answer them tomorrow! Cheers, all]

Comments: 519 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

Shugbug198640 karma

Top foods have you tried that you thought you'd never like?

JehuLove67 karma

I've always been a pretty adventurous eater, so I don't think I'd say I thought I'd never like them, but I've tried-

Horse sashimi. Tasted like cheap beef. Not a big thing.

Whale. Fuggin' delicious.

Shirako. Look it up. I liked it more before I knew what it was.

Raw chicken. Tried it on a dare. Tasted exactly what you'd think it would taste like. It wasn't great, and I was worried for a day or two afterward. Luckily, no ill effects. I won't tempt fate, though.

ZGiSH24 karma

Wait so Shirako... is fish semen?

JehuLove61 karma


mtaggs8 karma

I had raw chicken on my last trip to Japan. I was in Nagoya at the time I think. Honestly one of the worst things I've ever eaten...

JehuLove13 karma

Yeah, it's more of a rite of passage than cuisine.

creepy_doll4 karma

I will respectfully disagree on raw horse and raw chicken. They are both delcious.

Also did you eat motsu-nabe(entrails, hearts, other random organs)? Lot's of people enjoy that shit, but most of it is really chewy and just bleh

JehuLove4 karma

Horse wasn't bad. I also might not have had it prepared well.

Motsu nabe is okayish. Don't love it. I like it better as barbecue appetizer, tossed on the grill while we work on getting our drunk up to par.

randomclock3 karma

Whale, in my experience, tastes quite like chicken. When/where did you have whale? Also, how did you end up travelling across Japan? I would love to head back there but I'm not sure if I have the capital to do so. Any advice for someone hoping to spend an extended time across Japan cheaply?

JehuLove4 karma

I've had whale a couple times. The best was in Hiroshima, at an izakaya. My travel is a long process, and it's happened over a series of weekend holidays over 4 years.

followthedarkrabbit7 karma

Have you tried sea urchin? It tastes as it smells....like stagnant rock pool water.

JehuLove11 karma

This is true. But I've put worse things in my mouth.

hiroshima231 karma

Where do you reside normally that you can get to Japan for the weekend?

JehuLove2 karma

In Japan. That helps a lot.

huushuur34 karma

How many different Japanese girls from the 47 prefectures do you have intimate knowledge of?

JehuLove49 karma

A gentleman never tells.

But, y'know. Some.

wutz91 karma


JehuLove53 karma

There have been moments where I wished that was true.

Alechs5 karma

In the album there is a pic of you with your so called "rad girlfriend". Are there other girlfriends? The "swell girlfriend" and the "smashing girlfriend" etc.?

JehuLove4 karma

They are one and the same. Been dating about two years now.

wedcf31 karma


JehuLove76 karma

Daily. But it's very polite racism, delivered with a giggle and a bow.

Bag_Boy64 karma

Was in Tokyo in February and walked into a bar to be quickly ushered back out with a very sharp but polite "No, Japanese only!" thought to myself "oh okay, that's fair enough" and turned and left. It wasn't until I was 20 meters down the road that I realised "Hey! They that's Racist!"

JehuLove2 karma

Ha. I know exactly what you're talking about.

neuroticomet30 karma

Do you have a job? Seriously, I've wanted to go back to Japan for 4 years now since my last visit. How do you manage to go to all these places?

JehuLove44 karma

I do have a job- I work for a board of education as a training coordinator for foreign teachers. I also teach part-time at a public high school. I get 20 days of paid vacation a year. Japan's not all that big. If I time the vacation days around three-day weekends, I get plenty of time to see the country. For my first few years, I was out of town almost every weekend- you can get pretty far in a day of highway driving.

Proditus16 karma

How did you get that job? What does it entail? I've mused over the idea of working in another country and basically starting over, and I really like the attractiveness of Japan. But it always just seemed so untouchable to foreigners to me, and I was wondering how you worked around that hurdle.

JehuLove28 karma

I started out as a high school ALT (look up "JET Programme"), team-teaching English with a Japanese teacher. I did that for three years. After that, I received an offer to move to the prefectural capital to work at the board of education and help assist the new foreign language teachers in transitioning into their new home and conducting training seminars and such during the year.

To be honest, if you have a college degree, aren't an idiot, and know how to make yourself look good on paper, it's not hard to get an English-teaching job in Japan. Once you're here, if you work your ass off to find other opportunities, you can find them.

creepy_doll11 karma

To be honest, if you have a college degree, aren't an idiot, and know how to make yourself look good on paper, it's not hard to get an English-teaching job in Japan.

Fixed this for you.

I've met some really smart and some really dumb english teachers. They will take anyone whose native tongue is english(and many who pretend it is) that has a college degree, and it sorta sucks for the smart ones(I know a couple that were fully qualified teachers) because they won't get to use their skills if they land in a place that had a bad experience with a previous ALT(which is quite common)

JehuLove7 karma

But a lot of dumb people can make themselves look good on paper.

Ponicrat26 karma

Have you had any particularly interesting experiences with Japanese wildlife?

JehuLove78 karma

We were doing some exploring in an abandoned mining town in Hida (the mountains of northern Gifu-ken). We'd been taking pictures in an old elementary school, and it had started to get a bit dark out.

As we exit the building, we see shadowy movement in the direction of our cars. As we get closer, this... THING looks up at us, and then bolts in our direction. It looked, from our perspective, like a wolf with antlers. We shit ourselves with fear and fled.

After returning to town, we asked our local friend what the hell "the thing" was. Apparently we'd seen a Nihon Kamoshika, this weird-ass nocturnal Japanese deer.


lionheartdamacy21 karma

I love those things. I see them every now and then up here in Toyama. Pretty clever animal. For some reason, we call it a Serow in English. They have a scent gland near their eye! Neat, right?

JehuLove22 karma

We have those things in English-speaking countries?

I still just call them "the thing."

lionheartdamacy16 karma

Kind of. They live throughout Asia, so I'm sure some English biologist described the Serow a long, long time ago and gave them their name. The Japanese Serow is one of the better looking ones, I think.

I'm an amateur zoologist, so I researched a lot of the fauna of Japan before moving here. I impress my friends by shouting out animal names as soon as I see them. Impress or scare, you know, whatever.

JehuLove14 karma

I still haven't seen a Tanuki, which bums me out.

UpvotingJesus26 karma

Thanks for doing this! I got to visit Tokyo last October and really fell in love with the place... Living there for a few years seems like such a wonderful experience.

When I was there, I considered renting a car to explore, but the timing didn't work out, so I mostly wandered around the city by subway and on foot.

I'll be going back to Tokyo later this year and would love to rent a car and get out of the city for a day or two. Is there anything tricky about the rules of the road out there? I have my international driver's license already, and I've driven in England, so I'm (moderately) comfortable in a right-hand drive car on the other side of the street... I guess I'm just a little nervous about not being able to read all of the road signs. Do you have any suggestions to prepare?

Ultimately, the driving thing is just because of Initial D, and I have this ridiculous dream to drive safely and responsibly up and down the five hairpins of Akina (Mt. Haruna) and pretend I'm a master of drifting. I totally understand how goofy this is.

JehuLove22 karma

Dude. When I get home, I will try to find a video of my buddy and I driving on Mt. Haruna in the snow. It's absolutely ridiculous. I don't know Initial D, but my friend wouldn't shut up about it.

Driving in Japan is great. Driving on the left side comes naturally after a few hours. The being on the left isn't so difficult- the hardest thing is remembering you have four feet of car to your left instead of your right, so you have to account for that.

The only rule of the road here that's hugely different is NO LEFT TURN ON RED. Ever.

[Edit: Turns out i had the video on my phone and could publish it directly to YouTube. Neat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVSTq3UgXpU]

jinxedblackcat23 karma

Has anyone tried to.. ah what's it called... Kancho you? Y'know the stupid kid thing where they put their index fingers together, sneak up on you and then jab you in the ass?

JehuLove37 karma

Nope. I don't deal with little kids, usually. Seems to be an elementary school thing.

I have, however, had dudes straight grab my junk to see how impressive I am.

gtsomething24 karma

Are they usually impressed by your impressiveness?

JehuLove72 karma

Their hands usually explode. Then their wieners. So I dunno.

Nihhrt10 karma

Are you serious about the junk grabbing thing? Where did this occur? Were you at a bar or something? That's fucking weird!

JehuLove12 karma

It's happened a few times. Office drinking parties. Students.

ShyGoy18 karma

Are you Japanese or any sort of asian? And how accommodating are the locals of people who don't speak much Japanese? I am half-Japanese but I know verrrry little Japanese, and I've wanted to go to Japan for some time now to get in touch with my roots, but I've been nervous that since I look Japanese I would be expected to speak Japanese and would be ostracized by the locals for being such a Japanese noob (the only Japanese thing about me are my looks and love of ramen). I'm going to go soon regardless but I just want to know what to expect and how much to prepare

JehuLove44 karma

Nope. I'm a white guy from Denver. As for "accommodating," it's really hit or miss. By and large, people are delighted to have foreign guests, and will go to great lengths to make you feel well taken-care-of in their country. They're polite as all hell. Sometimes you get the odd racist, and sometimes you can win them over, sometimes not.

After talking to my Asian friends who don't speak Japanese- I get the feeling that it's a little more of an annoyance for them, because they don't look sufficiently "foreign" to warrant "special guest" treatment, but the trade-off is they don't get stared at in public.

RPbbgun12 karma

How's the green tea?

JehuLove29 karma

Green. Often hot.

If you ever have an opportunity, go to an early summer festival in a mountain town. Get the shredded leaves fresh right out of the barrel. I have a giant bag of the best tea I've ever drunk simply because I stumbled into a local festival (like 80 people altogether) in Mie-ken one afternoon. Cost me 200 yen.

brnbrown1511 karma

You are living my dream. How could I possibly get to do what you're doing?

JehuLove11 karma

Seriously, if it's your dream, get on it. Do some research online, and you can be here in 6 months. No shit.

TUBBB11 karma

Are the Japanese, specifically the teenagers, as universally polite as I am lead to believe by documentaries on NHK?

Is there anything a westerner could unintentionally do that'd be considered completely normal in their own culture but is seen as rude in Japan?... For example, I know that in certain parts of Asia it's considered very rude to show the soles of your feet.

And, on a similar subject, is there anything that a westerner could do to try to fit in that'd be seen as patronising?

For those of us with only a basic grasp of Japanese, how easy would it be to get by in Japan? (non-verbal communications between different cultures really fascinates me).

Have you ever tried Hoppy and is it any good?

JehuLove17 karma

Teenagers are teenagers. Everywhere. Some may seem polite or shy, but they're certainly talking shit when you're not in earshot. Others are assholes. Most are perfectly awesome. I love my high school kids. Especially the assholes.

Hmm... Rude things a foreigner could do? Honestly, the biggest offender seems to be just unwarranted noisiness. We're all sort of guilty of being loud as fuck in public when we first get here. Eventually we figure out that we're drawing attention to ourselves and learn to develop a "filter" of sorts.

Westerners trying to be "overly Japanese" when they really have no idea what that entails is a big one. I recommend most people try to be a polite version of themselves, as opposed to trying to assimilate or show how much you think you know about the culture.

You'll be fine. Just make an effort.

I've never heard of "hoppy." I asked my Japanese girlfriend and she has no idea either. "Is that food?" she asked.

TUBBB3 karma

Thanks for the answers.

I've never heard of "hoppy." I asked my Japanese girlfriend and she has no idea either. "Is that food?" she asked.

Hoppy is a non-alcoholic beverage, with a taste similar to beer, that started out as a cheap alternative to beer. It's usual mixed with Shōchū and is drank in the older parts of town (from what I remember from a show on NHK). The wikipedia page seems to confirm this.

JehuLove2 karma

Huh. Never heard of it.

BBigzy10 karma

How much money have you invested to take this four years of road-tripping?

JehuLove13 karma

Not much. I try to travel on about 10,000 yen a day (roughly $100). I stay in hostels when possible, sleep in my car sometimes, find cheap capsule hotels, and the like. I also try to live on the cheap when I'm not traveling so I have more cash on hand for these adventures.

Ichiro_Ino2 karma

Where do you get the money? How much do you get? My average daily spending is around $2.5, I can't believe I should be spending $100 a day for a trip.

Edit: getting downvoted for a legit question... what's wrong with you reddit...

JehuLove4 karma

From my paycheck. Just live smart, cook your own food when you're not sightseeing, and you can save more than you think.

hi_im_saagar9 karma

Which 2 didn't you visit and why?

JehuLove18 karma

I haven't YET visited Okinawa or Aomori.

Okinawa, well, because it's a little pricier than just getting in the car and seeing where I end up- plus I'd have to book a flight early and my travel schedule doesn't usually provide for that much advance notice. It's gonna happen, though. I'm thinking October, maybe.

In November I went up to Akita-ken- the plan was to do both Akita and Aomori on a 5-day weekend. Unfortunately, on the drive up I started feeling ill, and on day two I woke up in the hotel with a full-blown flu. Fever and chills, body aches, all that. I opted out of Aomori, got in the car, and drove 12 hours straight just so I could be back in my own bed the same night. I sort of wish I'd just gone for it, but I would have been doing it just to cross it off my list, and the adventuring would have been slim, so I decided to put it off. I'll probably get there sometime in the next few months.

lionheartdamacy8 karma

JetStar can get you to Okinawa from Osaka pretty cheap (we're talking less than niman). Peach Airlines also does special deals every month. I definitely recommend JetStar, though!

JehuLove2 karma

Yeah? I'll have to give it a see. How far in advance do you have to book them thingies?

lionheartdamacy3 karma

I booked mine two months in advance, although I had to change one of my tickets a month before and it was only a little more expensive. JetStar's site is INCREDIBLY easy to use and you see the prices of a flight on the days surrounding your departure so you can choose the absolute lowest.

JehuLove1 karma

Hmmm. That might work out well for Sept-Octoberish. I don't think I wanna go for the next few months. It's gotta be stupid hot there right now. What would you recommend seeing in Okinawa? I like small destinations with personality over big tourist attractions.

SaintSnuggles9 karma

How about an album of your best pictures?

What is the most memorable thing that has happened to you over the four years?

JehuLove82 karma

When I get home I can try to post something like this- a lot of my albums have pictures of my students or workplace, though, which I can't post online.

I posted this http://imgur.com/a/I8bU4 last month, maybe it's a start.

The most memorable thing? That's pretty broad. Hrm... I would imagine it was the night where we thought we'd stumbled into an old RPG.

I was with three friends in Kochi city a couple years ago, September. The hotel we had reservations for somehow assed-up our dates, and we were forced to try to find a different spot. While looking for information at the city visitor's center, we get approached by this old guy and his wheelchair-bound wife.

He asks us, in very broken English, if we want to stay in his guest room. He said it would cost us 2000 yen in total. Madness, we thought, but we decided to go with it for the sake of how bizarre it was. We get to the guy's place by taxi, and go upstairs, where he has this massive tatami room, perfectly suited for four guys. Jackpot.

We enjoy a long soak in the guy's giant stone bathtub, and when we get changed and ready to go out exploring for the evening, he stops us at the door and gives us each a bottle of grape-flavored "Energy-Up," Some kind of vitamin drink. "You need this!" he says. No shit.

So we go out. We get to a korean barbecue restaurant that we found by just asking random people on the street for recommendations. When we get there, we drink far too much beer, and start breathalyzing each other (my Canadian buddy carries this with him everywhere). The table across from us notices (three really tall Japanese guys), and ask to get in on the action. So we start breathalyzing them, and continue drinking together. Come to find out, these guys are players for the Chunichi Dragons, Nagoya's pro baseball team. They invite us to an "all night dance party," and of course, we go.

It was basically a Japanese rave, with reggae and hip-hop dance thrown into the mix. We met up with a girl who kept feeding us scotch. I remember very little of the rest of the night, but I do know at some point, around 5am, we made it back to the old guy's house, where he somehow had piping-hot plates of spaghetti with meat sauce waiting for us.

That was pretty good.

cassidymoon10 karma

Wait, so, how was that like an old RPG? I don't mean to be a dick, I mean, it's a cool story and all. Maybe we played different RPG's growing up? What are we talking? Like... pen and paper? Computer? Japanese, Anglosphere, whatever everyone else makes (I think poland does a fair amount?)?

JehuLove43 karma

Sorry, I guess that sort of applied to the whole trip. I guess there's more to the story.

Lots of locals sending us on random quests, old guys giving us potions. I dunno. We were pretty much at the mercy of a larger story happening around us. It seemed like an apt comparison at the time.

[deleted]-2 karma


JehuLove4 karma

I think so. Do you have the request without the shitty attitude?

[deleted]-1 karma


JehuLove1 karma

That's cool. I ain't no photo shooty guy. Did all those with my phone. The raw photos actually look a little washed out. We're stuck with the instagram-ready masterpieces, I'm afraid.

Mr_Cumbox2 karma

I think there's a saying involving "beggars" and "choosers" that would apply here...

Edit: The deleted post I replied to was something along the lines of "Do you have the original pics without the shitty filters?"

JehuLove5 karma

"You miss 100 percent of the beggars you never chooser." —Wayne Gretzky

lionheartdamacy8 karma

What season did you visit Hokkaido? I'm wanting to go in the summer and would appreciate any recommendations on what to see. Usually everyone's all about the Snow Festival, but I live on the backside of Japan so I get enough snow for my liking...

JehuLove9 karma

I did Hokkaido two years ago in February.

Honestly... I've never done it during the warm season, and I'm not sure it would be worth it. I mean, maybe. But most of the charm of the place, as far as I could see, was pretty winter-centric. Great ramen shops in a back alley where the freezing weather makes the food taste twice as good. People wearing insane snowboarding gear just walking around town like it's normal. Onsens that offer an escape from the freeze.

The only thing I'd like to see in Hokkaido that might be better suited to spring or summer is all the crazy dairy farms and microbreweries. Amazing cheese and butter come from Hokkaido. Most Japanese beer is...predictable, so the variety would be nice. I imagine the drive around such an open, huge area might be worth a trip, but I can't really speak to good spots outside the Sapporo area.

lucky_the_donkey7 karma

So I am guessing in order to do this you need to speak or at least know some Japanese?

JehuLove14 karma

It helps. I mean.. It's not necessary, provided you make a lot of arrangements ahead of time- but I don't usually do that. I speak a bit of Japanese, and it's definitely made a difference. Out in the countryside, people at hotels and whatnot aren't likely to know much English, and half the fun of traveling on the fly is meeting locals and getting their recommendations on places to visit. I usually don't have a destination in mind- I start out, go somewhere, and start talking to people. From there, I figure out where to go next, and so on.

It's definitely possible to travel in Japan without any Japanese, if you've got a travel phrasebook and do a lot of research. For weekend trips to god-knows-where, though, yeah, the ability to speak some Japanese really goes a long way. A lot of places aren't very foreigner-friendly, but when they realize you're making an effort to speak their language, they warm up pretty fast. I imagine this is probably true for any travel, though.

lucky_the_donkey7 karma

Japan is at the top of my list of places to visit and I think I would definitely enjoy the countryside more than the novelty/oddity of say Tokyo. Although, your post is what made me really consider exploring the countryside. I imagine some of the places are really cool and beautiful from what I have seen. So, I think I should start to at least explore and try to learn some basic Japanese from your recommendation, because that sounds more like what I would be interested in. I only get a couple weeks of vacation a year, which I have been stockpiling so maybe I'll get to visit sooner rather than later. Thanks for the quick reply! Another question for an experienced soul of Japan if you can, what are the prefectures in the countryside that you would absolutely recommend an outsider should see based on historic buildings, great nature, and happy people?

JehuLove22 karma

Well, after you've had your fill of Osaka, Tokyo, and Kyoto, my recommendations:

  • Gero-shi, Gifu-ken. It's a mountain hot spring resort town in northern Gifu-ken. 1000 yen will get you a day pass to try a handful of different hot springs. Eat the keichan. It's miso garlic chicken with cabbage. Go during the beginning of August for epic fireworks. Then go north to Takayama. Great day trip, with a lot of old charm- the locals call it "little Kyoto." Stop for karaoke at Queen's Court on a Friday or Saturday night.

  • Shirahama beach, Wakayama-ken. A little tourist area that isn't touristy. Enjoy the hot springs overlooking the beach. Good ramen. No real nightlife, so everyone worth talking to is packed into one of two small bars. Make some friends.

  • Kochi city, Kochi-ken. South Shikoku. Hands-down the friendliest people I've ever met in Japan. Everyone's super laid back, the yakitori places are always packed with insane surfers, and there's a bunch of really rad historical stuff around highlighting the life of Ryoma Sakamoto, a samurai who helped open Japan to foreign trade.

  • Beppu, Oita-ken. Oita's an area of Japan that doesn't look like Japan. It looks more like New Mexico or Southern Colorado. Beppu is the shitty tiny Las Vegas of Japan. It's got tons of pachinko parlors, hotels, and literally hundreds of hot springs, each boasting different health effects. There used to be a hilarious sex museum as well, although i hear it's either closed or being renovated.

  • Koyasan - This remote mountain village has been the home of shitloads of temples and thousands of monks for more than 1300 years. It's also got Japan's largest cemetery http://imgur.com/a/I8bU4

Runners up:

Nara - Todai-ji Temple and its enormous Buddha

Matsuyama - Dogo Onsen, Japan's oldest bathhouse, which inspired "Spirited Away"

Nikko, Gunma-ken - Crazy winding mountain highways and a temple complex that must be seen to be believed. I think Tokugawa's grave is there, too, though I might be mixing up my temples

lucky_the_donkey4 karma

Oh man OP you are awesome. I am going to look into all of these, although I am kind of drawn to the New Mexico/Southern Colorado of Japan as that is where I live, but maybe I should explore a different environment. Dang now I am torn, because I did not even know Japan had that kind of climate. Research is what I need to do. Thanks!

JehuLove6 karma

Oh! Also, go to Sapporo during Snow Festival. Early February. Go to the all-you-can-eat/all-you-can-drink 3 hour lamb barbecue at the Kirin Beer garden. Look at insane snow sculptures and try to stay warm.

latitude546 karma

Do you remember anything about Ishikawa prefecture? According to the website linked below, it's the safest area in Japan which is the safest country in the world. I just thought it'd be cool to go there.


JehuLove18 karma

That's funny- Ishikawa is the only place in Japan I've ever seen a dude get into a fistfight with a cop. He was being drunk and belligerent outside a grocery store.

Ishikawa-ken is beautiful. I've stayed in a little beachside cabin on Noto Peninsula three times. When I think of Ishikawa, I think of driving along a rocky coast and barbecuing on the beach. It's a really quiet place. There's also a crazy island there with an awesome fish market and a terrifying Silent Hill-ish abandoned campground that's absolutely worth a drivethrough.

Farther southwest from Noto, there's Kanazawa. It's a university town with an amazing outdoor market, one of the better modern art museums I've ever seen, and the best sushi I've eaten in Japan. The women in Kanazawa are stupid gorgeous.

scottwo2 karma

Ouch. Really hurt my Kanazawa pride by it being called a "university-town." Like there wasn't a castle there.

JehuLove3 karma

I didn't mean it that way- I guess after living in the countryside for a long-ass time, I was just surprised as hell to see tons of people walking around a town who weren't over 60 years old

And it does have more of a "Boulder" vibe than most parts of Japan.

raretreats6 karma


JehuLove15 karma


You can, however, get a one-year International permit without any effort- you just have to make sure you get it before you leave the states.

Getting a license is a whole different beast. There's a written test you can take in English, and it's so easy it's laughable. The driving test, though, is insane. It's basically a test of your ability to memorize a sequence of specific instructions, and then reproduce them in a single try. There's a driving course at the test site- it's literally shit like, "Drive 50 meters. Pump your brakes three times. Stop. Check every mirror. Roll your window down. Go. Turn left. Stop. Go around these obstacles in this order. Keep your speed at exactly whatever kph." I paid to go to a driving school- two run-throughs of the course and an annotated map cost me about a hundred dollars US. I was lucky enough to get it on the first try. Also, there aren't many testing centers- some of them you have to travel two hours to get to. A friend of mine had to take the test three times. And pay for it.

Roadhouse775 karma

What was the Culture shock like, if there was any, I have been obsessed with Japan my entire life, always loved the culture and history, did you get what you expected from Japan if you expected anything?

JehuLove4 karma

I had no expectations and didn't honestly even care much about Japan when I came. It could have been any foreign country as far as I was concerned. With a few notable exceptions, the people I knew who "Loved Japan" before coming were the ones who burned out on it the fastest. I'm glad I didn't know much coming in, or I might have had some epic problems.

I have pretty thick skin, and I adapt to change well. If you can roll with the punches, you'll do fine.

Totally_Jelly_Donuts5 karma

I spent about 5 years in Japan myself, working (not a teacher), and always kinda lamented that tourists who've been there for 2 weeks see more than I have in 2 years. Moved overseas for the time being, will remedy that when I get back, and your stories really do kinda kick me in the butt to get on that, no excuses.

My question: Did you get your permanent residency? I heard from a friend after 4 or 5 years you can apply and get it... I hadn't even thought of it before I left, I simply relinquished my Alien Registration card (didn't get the new one) and will let my visa run out... kinda wondering if I shot myself in the foot.


JehuLove5 karma

Nope. I'm not a permanent resident. Not sure if I want it. I'm sort of waiting to see what job opportunities will be available after my contract runs out a year from August. I don't think I want to live here permanently, but I'm also not sure what I want to do next.

t_sushi5 karma

Which prefecture was the least interesting?

JehuLove13 karma

They've all got their charm, but I'd have to say... Hrm. Tokushima-ken. The drive had some really nice coastal views, but nothing really set it apart. We tried hard to find some reason to stop and explore, but there really wasn't much going on as far as we could tell.

bast3t3 karma

As someone who has been to Tokushima-ken many times, that makes me very sad! Try coming for Awa Odori time. It's the second largest festival IN THE WORLD. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awa_Odori

JehuLove2 karma

I will absolutely do this. I know I'll likely be down that way again in the next few months.

Barkc3 karma

Did you go to the Matsumae castle in Hokkaido? How about Hokkaido Museum of Art?

JehuLove1 karma

I did not! I only had three days there, and I saw mostly snow festival-related stuff. We did go to a crazy chocolate factory, however.

IamNorwegianAMA3 karma

Anatawa nihongogo wakarimas-ga?

Learning Japanese with audiobook (Pimsleur). Do you know any Japanese?

JehuLove20 karma


Advice number one: Get off the roman letters ASAP. Unless you're just memorizing a few phrases, it actually makes learning Japanese more difficult. Get on that kana, and then start on kanji, otherwise grammar's gonna be a nightmare.

CapeNaturaliste3 karma

That's a pretty impressive list. Still missing Toyama, Tottori, Shimane, Ehime & Okinawa on mine. (I worked as a location scout for a Tokyo based production company until 2011).

Have you ever hitchhiked or picked up a hitchhiker during your travels? Any interesting stories?

JehuLove2 karma

I have not, but I absolutely should.

ninj4z2 karma

Do you remember where you where and what you were doing when the Tohoku earthquake hit?

What's the most surreal thing that has happened to you in Japan?

By the way, you'll love Okinawa whenever you have the chance to visit. My wife lived there when her dad was stationed there in the Marines, and she has many fond memories. I'd like to visit there with her someday.

JehuLove2 karma

The answer to your two questions is the same.

It will forever go down as one of the weirdest coincidences of my life. I was in a group meeting for regional JET program advisors.. Discussing what to tell people they should do during an earthquake.

One dude looks up and says "uh- are we having one now?" Sure enough, we started to feel it. We were far enough away that it felt very slow and ponderous- a little like being on a boat. But it was "heavy" feeling enough that we knew it was strong. We didn't realize how serious it was until an hour or two later. After the meeting, I went to a sento (bathhouse) and one of the outdoor tubs had a big projection screen showing the news. I sat there in the tub with a friend and everyone around slowly realized how big a deal it was, as we watched the estimated death toll slowly tick upward.

The aftershocks hit our area harder, and we were a bit on edge for several weeks.

Cobblar2 karma

I know you touched on this in other questions, but if I was visiting Japan for a couple weeks, how much Japanese do you recommend I know to really get the most out of the experience? I've got a handle on the very basics from attempting to learn Japanese a few times, and inevitably fizzling out. How much will I really get out of spending a month or two before my trip studying up?

Seeing you answer all these questions is really firing up my inner desire to visit Japan.

JehuLove2 karma

Honestly, If you've visiting for a few weeks, you're better off spending your time researching what you want to see and memorizing some key phrases than trying to learn the language. I've been here 4 years and my language is still atrocious, despite plenty of study- I STILL get by on memorized phrases when it comes to making travel arrangements and such.

historyduhr2 karma

Lived in Japan for two years so:

  1. Ever been to Yunessun Hot Springs?

  2. Ever been to Hiroo and arusigawa park in Tokyo?

  3. Do you know what "the big spider" is in Roppongi Hill?

  4. Aren't you amazed how clean Tokyo is?

JehuLove3 karma

  1. Not yet.

  2. Nope.

  3. Not a clue. Oh man, this is sad.

  4. YES. Well, some parts, anyway.

DrunkenKatamari2 karma

Thnx for planning my japanese vacation for me!

JehuLove13 karma

Anytime! I welcome couchsurfers at my place, feel free to drop a line.

barooboodoo2 karma

I'm not sure if I missed this somewhere, but whereabouts do you live?

JehuLove3 karma

I'd rather not say in the AMA, but if you PM me I'll let you know.

ShowersNeiked2 karma

What kind of job enabled you to do this?

JehuLove2 karma

Working for a board of education, being smart about when I use my vacation time.

savage1ma2 karma

I'm actually considering having my Honeymoon in Japan, what Area would you recommend for something like that/do you think would be most suitable for this? I would consider it a 1-maybe 2 week trip.

I would just like to warn you that you are now my go to guy regarding Japan.

More Questions:

Did you just pick a area to go to and drive there and let yourself be suprised or did you book certain things in advance that you already knew where in the area?

Same question applies for Hotels, did you just go and find one and get a room or book it in advance?

JehuLove5 karma

Tell me a little about you and your fiancee, and I can probably make a good recommendation. What are you into, what food do you like, and what kind of atmosphere are you going for?

Usually I either pick a starting location or an ending location. When I pick a starting place, I go RPG style- that is, I go into town and talk to people until I figure out where my next quest should lead me. When I have an end location in mind, I figure how long it will take to get there, and then try to find a road I've never been on that will get me there eventually.

As for hotels, I rarely book in advance. Means I rarely end up in a perfect situation, but the freedom is a nice tradeoff. I just start browsing on my phone at rest stops as I make my way into a new city, and figure it out. Navigating hotel websites is one place knowing some Japanese helps.

savage1ma4 karma

Well she(23) is Polish, I(28) am American, we both live in Germany. We both read quite alot... love Video Games and play Paintball/Airsoft (both) together with a passion.

Im a great fan of Japanese History surrounding Takeda Shingen and the other Samurai, also Musashi Myamoto etc i would love to go see Shingens armor display... I'm more historically oriented so pretty much the national museum, Himeji Castle, the Imperial palaces in Kyoto and Tokyo, shrines etc. She loves Pokemon ( i think she has every game there is), Anime and the Japanese culture. So i think she would like to see Akihabara for example.

Did this help?

But if you just show up and get a room do you not pay more than if you would have booked one?

JehuLove6 karma

I say go into Tokyo, do "Tokyo stuff" for a couple days, then go to Kyoto for a few days, see all the big important stuff. Then I'd take a train to Gero in Gifu-ken. Top your trip off with relaxing hot spring baths, and see Takayama while you're there. That place is the best. Country enough to be "real Japan," but enough personality to be a destination.

Another good option would be find a hotel near Lake Biwa. It's a beautiful place, and few foreigners vacation there.

If you ski or snowboard, head to Hakuba in Nagano-ken.

[deleted]2 karma


JehuLove25 karma

Give out?

If I'm reading that correctly, the answer is a very definite "kinda." There's kind of a stereotype re: Japanese girls liking foreign guys, but I've found that it seems to be a relic of the late 80s and early 90s during the economic boom. Since then, I think the foreign appeal has worn off a bit. In the big cities, there are clubs and whatnot where girls will go specifically to meet foreign guys, but they're exactly the type of girl you'd expect them to be, and at the end of the day, they think of foreign guys as a funny novelty and not much else.

By and large, most Japanese girls, outside of big cities, tend to be shy (which often comes off as sort of stand-offish)- they're aware of the stereotype, too, and in areas with any degree of foreign tourism, the girls realize that foreign guys can sometimes have that expectation, and put up a bit of a wall in response.

At the same time, though, people out at bars or clubs can be a lot of fun. Girls get a kick out of guys trying to speak Japanese, or having a chance to practice their own English, so if you want an opportunity to meet people, you've got it- you've just gotta be outgoing, genuine, and not creepy. And yes, sometimes that can lead to pleasant surprises.

That being said, any American guy going to Japan with an expectation that girls will be throwing themselves at him is going to be in for a rude awakening.

And again, as with most things in life, being very, very attractive will help. I've got one British friend who looks like a goddamn adonis. He's doing just fine. If you're a dumpy neckbeard, no amount of being western is gonna help you.

[Edit: The original question was "Do Japanese girls 'give out' to Americans?"]

swansswansswans2 karma

JET represent! I'm on my second year here in Kyoto and I love it.

Adapting to a completely different culture is hard. What's the most difficult thing you've had to try to accept (or simply can't accept) about the Japanese culture/way of life.

JehuLove6 karma

I am still absolutely dumbfounded about how very very basic business transactions to receive services (internet access, package delivery, making appointments for damn near anything) takes fucking weeks. While face-to-face customer service is painfully polite, I have no sense that anyone wants my business when it comes to things like installing internet access, car repairs, special ordering items. There's absolutely no reason anything should take as long as it does in this country.

Also, the patronizing is obnoxious. It's really offensive to hear how good I am at using chopsticks from someone who's been watching me use them every day for two years.

swansswansswans2 karma

Couldn't agree with you more on the second bit. I just shoot it back in their face and ask them if they can use a knife and fork. Then they quickly realize the ass they've been and drop all that "sugoi!" bullshit.

JehuLove3 karma

Except sarcasm doesn't quite work here so well. I've had people get legit confused when I tried that.

swansswansswans1 karma

Then you can just cut to the chase and say "more than two billion people use chopsticks to eat their food worldwide".

That one usually works for me too.

JehuLove2 karma

You.. I like you.

the_ceramic_sponge2 karma

Hows youre day been

JehuLove8 karma

Not bad, thanks.

Edward19902 karma

Hey dude, I went to Japan three years ago and it was a fucking blast! Have you thought about doing grad there or something? I'm thinking about it and I'm wondering if you'd have any advice.

JehuLove4 karma

I've thought about it- but there's a world of difference between "get around Japan" Japanese language skills and "grad school" Japanese language skills. Probably not in the cards for me.

TheGreatMoro1 karma

Sorry for the non Japan related question but I love your photos, what camera did you use? All the colours look so vibrant.

JehuLove1 karma

That's an iPhone 4S, using the Camera+ app.

reddithelpsme1 karma

One Piece. Is it really popular in all parts of Japan? Popular with all age groups?

JehuLove1 karma

I feel like the cute characters are more popular than the actual stories. But then again, I don't really know one piece, just see it referenced a lot.

Dictated_ButNotRead1 karma

Is it possible or advisable to move to Japan without knowing any Japanese first? I kinda feel like Japan would be fun, seems to be a really cool youth culture up there, but I won't be youth by the time I get around to learning Japanese to spend a few months up there :(

JehuLove1 karma

It's easier to learn here than it is to learn somewhere else.

rbe150 karma

I think I speak for everyone when I say that we need to know what's going on with the other two prefectures.

JehuLove2 karma

Already answered a few times.

ThroawayforJesus-14 karma

Go fuck yourself.

JehuLove10 karma