Bento - not sure where you live but in Japan, many mothers dress their little girls early on in ridiculously glittered high heels, bangles, "sexy" outfits ... nothing is more disgusting and sad than seeing a mother/ ELEMENTARY or PRESCHOOL daughter comboed out in "alluring" matching outfits! ugh!
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One thing for anyone coming to visit, be SURE to have decent walking shoes as you will most likely walk a LOT more and a LOT further than you do on a daily/nightly basis in the states. And let me tell ya, if you are a woman with a shoe size over 7, good luck finding any shoes! seriously, aint happening.
BTW, Future Visitors: sincerely, watch out for the tainted snacks, rice, fish, and who knows what else by the time you come for a visit. And plan on having a lot of 100yen coins on hand for you WILL want to stop at the many vending machines to quench your thirst or purchase hot drinks if cold weather. Also, watch where you are walking, a LOT of tiny ledges and small step ups/downs etc that most foreigners are not use to and easy to get hurt. Be careful of some shops that have automatic slide doors that look like you need to shut when you do not! Crushed hand on trip is not fun!! While driving in Japan is NUTS (if not absurd) WALKERS & BIKERS take precedence over cars, but, dont expect the cars to not be right there at the walking lane just mm.s away from you. Also re shops .. find a 100yen shop if you can. Most have "100" plastered on the signage and the same stuff in most expensive souvey shops (unless a specialty shop, of course) -- DAISO is great (and yes, most all these type of shops sell goods manufactured in .. gasp .. China!)
Chibaman's PASSPORT reminder is a priority! Get that done months in advance! Also, dont think you are bringing your pet, unless its been chipped and tested for rabies via blood test over six months ago (plus a bunch of other rules) ((sorry but the pet thing is rarely mentioned and I know ppl who have had problems with that)) All that said, for nature and a real taste of "how one imagines Japan" ... Wakayama, Kyoto, Aichi, Hokkaido (if you can afford it and the time of year is right), Sasebo, Osaka if you are on a cheap budget and cant afford Tokyo ... NAMBA is awesome and you are near Kyoto (this is especially great for those with less than a weeks stay) AND you have Nipponbashi (for the otaku who cant make it to Akihabara/Tokyo) - & dont forget summer obon/hanabi festivals
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John Becker - you made a hidden point ... visited 2 WEEKS & 3 WEEKS ... huge difference in what can be accomplished in a few days vs few weeks (especially with jet lag and recovery)
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