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Japanese culture

Cloud87

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Hello guys. Considering we are growing old always learning I think I would like sometime to take a trip to Japan. I think from Greece the whole thing wouldn't cost more than 3.000 eu for a weekend at a fancy hotel. Does anyone have any suggestions about any sites worth visiting? Mountains? Valleys? I know you have nice trees over there. I would like to see some purle ones. Do you also have any suggestions about any way to start with the language? Is it Ideograms like the Chinese? I always wanted a son with a beautiful Japanese lady. Too bad I don't have one.
 

thomas

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Hi @Cloud87, welcome to the forum! :)

I suggest you start with a few books on Japanese culture and history. Travel guides, such as Lonely Planet, offer a great introduction to what Japan has to offer.

If you have any specific question, please post it to our forum. Also use the forum's search function, as most questions have already been asked before.

We also have a language section dedicated to Japanese studies as well as very knowledgeable and helpful members.
 

TGI-ECT

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If you are sure you want to have an experience in Japan that might give you some idea of what this part of Earth is like, then please do not plan a stay in a "fancy hotel".

Land at an airfield in the city and plan an immediate departure from that airfield on a train to possibly Kofu with reservations in a reasonably priced hotel that will allow you the comfort of some western style you are used to but also not at a price that isn't worth the extra fancy stuff and that trip on the train will be like a movie of the country before you have to shake off the jet lag by taking a good shower and trying to get a decent sleep.

Then, the next time you wake up, you can start into exploring an area of Japan not too far from your exit from that airfield, but far enough away from the major population center of Tokyo/Kawasaki/Yokohama (Kanto).

You see, you won't have time to figure out what is normal in that population area and what is artificial, so you start out there in Kofu away from that artificial Japan represented by that population area.

And now, Cloud87, many JREF Community Members are going to climb all over me for using that vocabulary "artificial Japan" and that will give you a chance to get a feel for our tiny Net Community right here where you posted --- JREF.

By the way, starting with a study of Chinese characters (kanji) before studying hiragana and katakana is not a good idea.
 

bentenmusume

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TGI-ECT said:
You see, you won't have time to figure out what is normal in that population area and what is artificial, so you start out there in Kofu away from that artificial Japan represented by that population area.

And now, Cloud87, many JREF Community Members are going to climb all over me for using that vocabulary "artificial Japan" and that will give you a chance to get a feel for our tiny Net Community right here where you posted --- JREF.

I don't know if this is going to count as "climbing all over you", but...

I agree with you if what you're saying is that there are a lot of stereotypes/locations/trends in the major population centers that are played up disproportionately as being representative of all Japan, when they're not. I agree that if someone thinks that Japan is all Shinjuku skyscrapers, Akihabara maid cafes/electronics/manga shops, Roppongi bars, Harajuku cosplayers, etc. etc. then they're seeing a very limited (and yes, "artificial" to a degree) side of Japan and of Tokyo.

But surely you can't be suggesting that every aspect of life in every neighborhood in the greater Tokyo area (including many out-of-the-way residential areas that see few tourists, tiny izakayas frequented entirely by locals, etc. etc.) is somehow not the "real" Japan? I would argue that it's just as easy to find the real Japan in Tokyo as in Kofu, but you do need to know where to look, and you'll need to be able to speak Japanese yourself or know/find a local guide who does.

I mean, it's very admirable to encourage people to dig deeper and see a side of Japan beyond the typical tourist sites, but I'm not sure that just dumping a first-time visitor who doesn't speak the language in the middle of Yamanashi is the most effective way of accomplishing that.
 

TGI-ECT

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You sure are a gifted writer, bentenmusume, and that last paragraph gave me quite a chuckle --- and I needed that, so thank you.

Yes, it is true that we can find a sort of Japan of old here and there inside the large population areas. Absolutely true.

And it could be argued that the "new" Japan represented by those massively tall buildings that create that nasty wind around Shinjuku is also the "true" Japan, just new. I suspect old folks like me sort of lean too much onto past days and that is probably not good. But who knows for sure?

Now --- that last really cute paragraph. I would think that a "dumping" concept would be like we snatch Cloud87 out of his favorite pub --- and I use "his" based on that picture in the avatar --- anyway, dumping would be like no advance preparation, and that won't happen, because as long as 'he' returns to JREF he will be starting the preparation.

Plus, I just feel there is something extra when you get out of the greater Tokyo area that is just not so easy to find within the overall population center of the Big Three.

And I am not even sure how to define that "extra" but I am rather sure it exists.

And Cloud87 seems to be on a limited time thing, so that why I came up with idea.

But I am sure no professional travel guide and I am sure no normal human so I suspect there are all sorts of flaws in my idea.

But just this debate is helpful to him.

And I seriously do like the way you write, bentenmusume. There's a discipline there that can lead you to fantastic elsewheres. You can't get through the gate of 'elsewhere' until you have the discipline.

But the question here is whether we want to guide Cloud87 to the gate of Kofu. right?
 

Deibiddo

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Hey I love Greece and its people, one of my favourite countries. I remember having to learn the Greek alphabet during an extended stay and it was difficult but worth it.

I will give you my best tip for understanding the language when you are in Japan: get an app that you can draw characters on for the app to convert it into digital text! I have passed the JLPT N2 exam ('business level') and I still have problems with the pronunciation, but you usually need to know how to spell it with either hiragana/katanga or the roman alphabet. If you can draw the characters for an app to recognise then you don't need to know how to pronounce it... which is probably what you want to check in a dictionary!
 
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