In the “Ask a local” series we talk to natives to get the best insights and travel advice on a particular destination. In this article we’ve talked to Akihiro about Japan!
About Akihiro and Japan
Where in Japan are you from?
- I was born and bred in Tokyo.
What do you do for a living?
- Work for a Digital Marketing Agency (Sales)
What do you enjoy most about Japan?
- Taking short tips around different areas to see nice views
- Depending on the season: Hiking, Camping, Snowboarding and Hot Springs.
- Hanging out with my friends
Is there any trivia (and/or little known facts) you find interesting about Japan?
- I found that one unique and interesting point about Japan is that old and new exist very closely to each other. For instance, a number of old traditional shrines, temples or cathedrals still remain in big metropolitan cities like Tokyo.
- You can find beautiful, imperial temples surrounded by such a quiet atmosphere right next to electrical high buildings in Akihabara (one of the areas in Tokyo famous for cutting–edge animations and comics).
Will someone visiting Japan get by only speaking English?
- Uhh, yes, if you are lucky. But I would generally say no. We usually start learning English grammar at the age of 13. However, few people can speak and communicate in English.
- But don’t worry, there are lots of signs and indicators to guide you in almost all cities, restaurants, subways and streets. And I suppose people try to answer as much as they can even when you ask in English.
Is Japan a safe country? Anything to watch out for?
- I’ve never seen a country more safe than Japan (maybe Norway?). I am proud of that. However, I do dare to say that you should look after your belongings when passing a huge crowd of people in the street in big cities.
What traditions do you have in Japan that you would not find in the Western world?
- Our working calture, but this is getting reduced even in Japan. People tend to hesitate to leave their company even past 6pm, especially if other coworkers are still working. I guess this is because people think too much of what other people think. This type of traditional acts can be found anywhere in Japan, even among friends.
Which aspects of Japanese culture would you say differ most from the Western world?
- Japanese people tend to prefer to do the same things as other people do. They are super shy though.
Places to go and things to try
What are the must see places in Japan?
- You should go to Kyoto (one of the larger cities in Japan) to enjoy traditional Japanese atmosphere and culture.
Are there any cheap places for great value in Japan?
- Japanese street food shops are not expensive and also very convenient to stop by when you feel hungry. You’ll never be at a loss on where to eat. Compared to those in the United States, Japanese restaurants are mostly reasonably priced. Besides, you dont need to tip!
If money was no object, where would you go (or stay) in Japan?
- Well… Robot Restaurant?? lol. Actually, I’m not sure what it is. But sounds so FUN.
What are the foods or drinks someone visiting Japan should try?
- A unique, Japanese alcohol called “Sake” (if you are over 20). There are lots of types of Sake according to the areas in Japan. The taste is like vodka or whiskey, but some of them are sweeter compared to vodka or whiskey.
Anything else you feel that someone visiting Japan should know about?
- You might have a difficulty if you don’t know how to use chop sticks. Haha.
- And you should check when to come before you do, because we have four typical seasons. Sometimes we feel super hot in the summer, and sometimes super cold in the winter.