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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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Old 16 Jul 2009
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Stuck in Japan

My son's just spent nearly six months in China and thought he'd like to spend a couple of weeks in Japan before returning to the UK. He's got a flight booked to London from Tokyo in 10 days time but even after just a few days he's not enjoying the city.

Any suggestions as to how he could improve / change things / pass the time would be gratefully received. We've suggested -

Call it a day and fly back now (bankruptingly expensive - anyone know any better)
Take a train / cheap flight to another part of Japan or even another country in the area ( any info on whats worth seeing, where's worth going, visas needed etc) or even the left field idea of
Spend the 10 days on the Trans Siberian railway and see some Russian railway lines.

If he is in the Tokyo area anyone know of things worth seeing / doing that would pass the next few days while he works things out
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Old 16 Jul 2009
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This question is wayy too broad in that we do not know what he is interested in and such like, countryside? , mountains , drinking , hiking etc.

A quick escape is to get a China visa 2-3 days and take a ferry about 80 quid to Tianjin or Wujin which is 24 hours away and sit tight there.
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Old 16 Jul 2009
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Thanks for the reply. Yes I know it's broad but I was just hoping that I'd get suggestions of any type that I could pass on.
He researched his time in China really well and knew exactly what he wanted to do but not so much with Japan.
I think it's the "alone in a big city" syndrome at the root of things after a couple of months in rural China.
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Old 16 Jul 2009
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I've spent a lot of time in Nippon, and my wife is Nipponese (albeit I met her in Australia 25 years ago). I suggest heading up to to Tohoku (North east of Tokyo) and aiming for the coast - Kamaishi etc..)

Other alternatives are a few days in South Korea, but it is all relative to what you find negative about Nippon vs. Zhongou - Korea is a good compromise between the two.
Garry from Oz - powered by Burgman
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Old 17 Jul 2009
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If he is in Tokyo, tell him to go to the Kinokuniya bookstore next to the Takashimaya department store in Shinjuku. It has a large selection of English-language books. There he can pick up guide books where he can find something he may be interested in.
This site also is full of information
Japan National Tourism Organization |
Also check out the tourist information center.
Japan National Tourism Organization | Arrange Your Travel | Essential Info | Tourist Information Centers
Summer is time for fireworks and festivals in Japan. Pick up a phrasebook and guidebook and get out of Tokyo. Too hot in the city this time of year. That's one reason I moved out of the city altogether! North or to the mountains is more comfortable.

Although I have not done it myself, I friend who did the Siberian express said it was extremely boring after 2 days. Unless you get off and see the towns, you just sit there watching the scenery go by for a week.
Japan touring information
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Old 17 Jul 2009
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There's a pub in Shinjuku, and I'm almost certain it's called the Dublin, where you go and stand around with a pint of lager and several Japanese people will come and ask if they can have a conversation with you in English (to practice language skills obv.) It's hilarious and charming.
The trouble with Tokyo (which I reckon is the most exciting city on the planet) is that it's blisteringly expensive. I've been a few times but luckily someone else was paying.
Really max out the credit card at the Park Hyatt bar, 50-odd storeys up. (Apologies if he's a recovering alcoholic. I'm sure there are loads of other things to do as well.)

London-Cape Town 2004-06
Buenos Aires-Vancouver 2008-10:
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Old 18 Jul 2009
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Thanks for all the replies. I may have the chance to experience them first hand as rather than him coming back early, I'm going to join him for 10 days.
This has come up under the radar and at the moment I'd have trouble finding Tokyo on a map (but as long as the pilot knows which way he's flying...).
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