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Japan (definitely not) opening to tourism in April 2021 on a trial basis


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Tony Galiani

I did my first trip to Japan in 2019 and, though I was a bit nervous, it is super easy to get around.  We have traveled a lot so I suppose that has something to do with it but we hit ground running and had no trouble getting around.

We purchase our Suica cards and phone sim cards before we left so had the advantage of having them before we arrived which really made things easy.  The unlimited internet and easy wi-fi everywhere made navigating around a breeze.

Not sure what to say about the flying concern - personally I would rather get in a plane going somewhere across the world than drive I-40 to go 30 miles to Raleigh (which feels like a near death experience every time I do it).  Hopefully you will find a way to fly some time.

Plus this forum is super helpful so I am sure you can get lots of useful info about traveling to Japan.

My biggest issue now - is I waited so long to go to Japan - should have done it years ago.

 

There are a ton of travel videos for Japan - you might enjoy watching them to get a feel for traveling there. 

For the Admin in my office, I sent her some cockpit videos so she could see what goes on in the flight deck during a flight and landing.  Once she learned about how it all works, she was much more comfortable flying.

 

Ciao,

Tony

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5 hours ago, Kanpai Keith said:

@NateJ93 About the only word of Japanese I speak is Kanpai!  Seriously language was not an issue.  Railway signs are all in English.  Everyone was keen to practice their English. It helps to have any addresses you may need written in Japanese. They only issues we had were with taxi drivers, most of whom are quite old and have not had the benefit of learning an additional language.

 

we flew ANA very good airline, couple of hours in a bar before you fly and all will be well 🥴

 

It's definitely got a lot easier. When I first went a lot of signs were not in English and getting around was a bit tricky. Smartphones didn't exist so no GPS or navigation apps.

 

Things got a lot easier when they had the World Cup and put up a lot more signs. You can also buy temporary SIM cards now, with 1GB or more of data so you can use your phone. They are data only so you can't make calls or text (Skype works though), great for Google Maps which will give you all the directions, which bus or train to hop on etc.

 

Sometimes there is too much English... Often when I go into a cafe or something they are reaching under the counter for the English menu before I can even speak. There was a campaign of videos about it a few years ago, white Japanese who constantly find people assume they speak English... I think they are on YouTube somewhere. Must be quite frustrating for them. I usually try to get in early with a coffee order in Japanese to avoid it.

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Kanpai Keith

First night in Japan, Sapporo after about 20hours traveling. Out drinking with the locals.  Most menus were in English. Food was excellent, just don’t expect to find much cheese.

 

We all had 31 day prepaid SIM cards.  Free calls between each other.

 

We found that everything was pretty inexpensive and had some great blowouts and a few all you can eats. Best thing of all no tipping, but you normally pay a small cover charge or minimum order.

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disturbman

In my experience, the best to quiet the nerves, beside medication if you are really afraid of flying, is a glass of champagne right before take off. Takes the edge off right away. There is a reason it's on AF round of drinks before departure.

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The "noodles with chop-suey-like-mixture on it" is funny

 

My first time in Japan was in 2000 when I had a booth at MacWorld Tokyo.  This is before I married my wife (who is from Japan but was a student in the US when I met her).  I didn't (still don't) speak Japanese.  I've learned a few things since (phrases etc) and a few hundred "kid" words from my kids' picture books (dog, cat, cow, airplane -- all words that don't get you far). In 2000 the major stations had roman letter signs for places while smaller stations didn't necessarily.  Luckily they had hiragana versions of station names which I could mostly read (phonetically).   I had little trouble getting around.  I had been self-studying Japanese a small amount (did not do me much if any good) and I was at Tokyo station trying to find the Kinkos that was supposedly nearby.  Finally the woman at the info desk just had me ask in English...   In 2000 SIM cards didn't help as the Japanese phone system was mostly pre-GSM (Japan specific CDMA on most carriers) so no roaming.  I did have a Palm Pilot app that had the subways and trains for Tokyo in it so I could get some help on ho to get around.  Otherwise it was paper maps and stuff.

 

Our last trip was 2019.   Almost everything has some measure of English signage.  T-Mobile lets me roam for no extra money [though relatively slow] so the first trip in a long time I didn't get local SIMs.  Local SIM cards are a lot easier to get then they were 10+ years ago, where you had to show proof of residency etc even for data only.  EVentually you cold get data only ones a bit easier but still was supposed to have a local address (thanks to my sister in law handling return of the SIMs [yes they wanted them back] etc).   I guess now it is super easy and if your phone has the virtual e-SIM even easier.

 

I've long taken the kids on day trips etc by ourselves without my wife going when we are there and have no issue not speaking more than a few courtesy phrases.    I always just try and be polite, speak correct and relatively slow English, and it seems to work out.  If the person helping me can't understand what I want, they always go get the resident English expert.

 

I can't wait to go back.  Hopefully this coming Christmas time things are more opened up.

 

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Pfizer's vaccine has been approved in Japan, doses have already arrived and will be administered this week. Medical staff first.

 

371 detected cases in Tokyo yesterday, the 8th consecutive day under 500.

 

Ganbatte Nihon!

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Sad news. I was really hoping they would open up to limited numbers in the next few months.

 

There seems to be an effort to get a "vaccine passport" system up and running. Unfortunately it won't help me much because I won't be vaccinated for a long time yet.

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disturbman

Most of the world won't.

They really should postpone the Games to next year, and Paris' to 2026.

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They really need to get the vaccine roll out going. China is planning to do 550M people by the summer.

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katoftw
7 hours ago, mojo said:

They really need to get the vaccine roll out going. China is planning to do 550M people by the summer.

Not gonna happen unless the have a secret supply we dont know about.

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railsquid

China has its own vaccine, also the ability to board up people in their apartments etc. if they don't do what they're told. Japan != China.

 

According to this report seems like the Japanese government is now requiring a PCR test (doesn't say whether it needs to be negative) from max 72 hours before departure from anyone entering Japan including Japanese citizens, and "strongly discouraging" any kind of short-term travel from Japan to areas where the now trendy mutant versions are rampant.

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katoftw

I thought they have-had need the neg pcr test condition for a while to enter Japan?

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disturbman
7 hours ago, railsquid said:

and "strongly discouraging" any kind of short-term travel from Japan to areas where the now trendy mutant versions are rampant.


Which is basically the whole of the Euro-Atlantic world.

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18 hours ago, railsquid said:

China has its own vaccine, also the ability to board up people in their apartments etc. if they don't do what they're told. Japan != China.

 

That's right, they have Sinovac and another one, both produced in China. They are also supplying a lot of doses to other countries. I think their manufacturing capability exceeds the speed at which they can vaccinate their own people by quite some margin.

 

I see a couple of countries have already announced that they will start accepting tourists who can prove they are fully vaccinated now. Mixed feelings about this, especially as I probably won't be in that state until the very end of the year.

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railsquid

Well I think we've all learned by now that it's much better to be cautious rather than try and open up early. Hate to say it, but just being vaccinated won't magically give the individual vaccinee magical powers of a pre-2020 lifestyle, at least until someone comes up with a vaccine which a) provides guaranteed 100% percent effective protection and b) 100% guarantees the vaccinee won't be an asymptomatic carrier, particularly of some new more virulant variant. Getting a wide swathe of the general population vaccinated for the fabled herd immunity is what is needed, and that will take time.

 

Meanwhile the Japanese government is "requesting" carriers to limit passengers on inbound international flights to 100 people per flight from April: 入国者数「1便100人以内」 国交省が航空会社に要請.

 

Now officially confirmed: Japan to stage Tokyo Olympics without overseas spectators

 

In more hopeful news, someone has come up with the idea of using insulin syringes to maximize doses per vial.

Edited by railsquid
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  • railsquid changed the title to Japan (definitely not) opening to tourism in April 2021 on a trial basis
katoftw

I read this morning that a decision was forthcoming in April. But the outcome is all but certain.

 

And the 900K tickets from international travelers will be reallocated. Although I suspect thet wont be running event at full capacity crowd anyway.

Edited by katoftw
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disturbman

What triggers me the most in all this is: Will anybody will actually care to watch the Olympics when we all have to deal and worry about the pandemic? Will anybody care to see athletes compete in the current situation? It all seems a bit pointless.

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roadstar_na6
9 hours ago, railsquid said:

Well I think we've all learned by now that it's much better to be cautious rather than try and open up early.

Unless you're the German government 🙂

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katoftw
13 hours ago, disturbman said:

What triggers me the most in all this is: Will anybody will actually care to watch the Olympics when we all have to deal and worry about the pandemic? Will anybody care to see athletes compete in the current situation? It all seems a bit pointless.

Yes. People want to be entertained, and remove themselves from their current everyday lives.

 

They may even get a larger tv audience as more are stuck at home watching tv.

 

But depends on where in the world you are. Here in oz, life is pretty much back to normal. Other countries are still living the mid 2020 circus due to poor government plans and ill advised populas push backs to their freedoms.

Edited by katoftw
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