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HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

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Scottsdale, Arizona
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HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

Need a little bit of info....

1) Language: I'm learning Japanese, trying to fit in as much as possible, how much Kanji is used over there - that's gonna be a pain for me. Also, when you go to restaurants, shops, etc, are the yen in roman numerals (1,2,3,4,etc), or Japanese characters (I ask b/c on japanese web sites they appear to use roman numerals a lot)?

2) What are some of the best travel guides you could reccomend, the trip is for business but i will have almost a week of tourist time?

3) Any secret spots or must see places i should know about?

4) Scenic or romantic areas? I have the option to bring the wife, but is it worth it?

5) Does anyone know of any hotels with outdoor heated pools at this time?

Thanks very much to everyone who replies, I've lived here in NY my whole life, if anyone wants info about here feel free to ask me.

Tokyo
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1. Re: HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

Kanji is used everywhere. Seldom will you see hiragana used except at train stations where generally the names of the station are spelt out in Kanji, hiragana and English. It isn't that common for the Japanese not to use English form of numbering.

I would recommend the Time Out and National Geographic guides. Time Out is for Tokyo, Nat Geo for the whole country.

Where do you plan on travelling for the must see spots - just Tokyo or elsewhere? In Tokyo, I would say Harajuku and Yoyogi Park are must sees on Sundays for a view of Japanese sub-culture. Also, the older parts of town such as around Asakusa and Ueno. Nikko is well worth a visit if you can as is Hakone for Fuji views which at the time of year you are coming should be reliable.

Hakone is scenic. Tokyo in general has lots of intimate and romantic restaurants so you wouldn't be stuck for evenings out with your wife.

I don't know about outdoor heated pools but the alternative is hot springs which again Hakone is famous for. These are segregated by gender unless you can afford to stay somewhere with private facilities.

Avoca, Australia
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2. Re: HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

It will be cold in Tokyo in January. It snowed overnight in mid Jan 2006.

Try to get to Kyoto or Nagano area if you have enough time.

Either way your wife will love it.

Aoyama Dori and San...
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3. Re: HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

Bring your wife. If she's open-minded, doesn't mind walking and adaptable to Japanese food then she will enjoy herself immensely.

<<< 4) Scenic or romantic areas? I have the option to bring the wife, but is it worth it?>>>

You will be hard-pressed to find any outdoor pools that are heated in Japan other than those at onsen (hot springs) and those are not suitable for swimming laps.

<<<5) Does anyone know of any hotels with outdoor heated pools at this time?>>>

Nara, Japan
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4. Re: HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

Tokyo may not be as freezing as New York, but is sure pretty cold at the time of your visit. Perhaps, except for Atami, the areas dotted around Mt. Fuji won't be attracting many tourists for that reason.

One of the topographical features in Kyoto tells us that the whole city is situated in a basin, and that means it gets incredibly hot in summer and terribly cold in winter.

If you think you'd be longing for mild climate, you'll be able to head way south of Tokyo.

I'm not really sure if you'll like what I suggest, but see:

http://www.seagaia.co.jp/index_en.html

Why bother spending your precious time, frostbitten?

Winter in Miyazaki is a dream-like place for most Japanese, perhaps comparable to Florida's.

You can definitely like the idea of swimming in their resort complex.

Also enjoying a round of golf with your wife might be a great idea. Tiger Woods will have enjoyed winning an international tournament there two years in a row a month before you play, though.

You sure get tanned before flying back in the United States proudly.

Aoyama Dori and San...
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5. Re: HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

I plan to be in Tokyo twice in December this year. The cold in Tokyo is somehow not as cold as the temperature indicates to me. I'm not sure why but it just doesn't seem that cold in December and January as the way that Japanese people complain to me.

What really chills me is wind much more than cold. I've been in the northeast US after a blizzard when the skies are blue, the sun is shining with strong wind and that is positively the coldest I've ever been in my life and I've been in Minneapolis, Chicago, Buffalo and Detroit in the middle of winter and nothing beats that clear cold wind after a snowstorm in the northeast.

If you keep your trunk, feet, hands and ears warm, you shouldn't have problems. Those little elementary school boys going to school in the dead of winter in short pants always crack me up. I don't like bundling up my arms and legs (instead layering with a vest to keep my trunk warm) and I've never felt cold in Japan except for when it gets very windy on a cold night which occasionally happens. If there is no wind then it's not that bad.

<<<Tokyo may not be as freezing as New York, but is sure pretty cold at the time of your visit. Perhaps, except for Atami, the areas dotted around Mt. Fuji won't be attracting many tourists for that reason.>>>

Scottsdale, Arizona
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6. Re: HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

Everyone,

I appreciate the help, just one more thing that i guess i wasnt clear about, when you go out to eat or to the shops etc, will the prices in yen be written in Japanese numbers or in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. I notice most Japanese web sites use our these numbers, my big concern is obviously spending too much cash.

Thanks to all who replied to the last one.

Toronto
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7. Re: HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

Most prices are written in 1,2,3,4 , except in better traditional restaurants where prices are written in kanji. So for everyday shopping where quick decision is required, it'll be in 1,2,3,4 :-)

Nara, Japan
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8. Re: HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

As far as I know, almost all the menues in restaurants/cafes/bars are written in Arabic with the exception of a few Japanese-style's.

I'm not quite sure if you are a type of tourist wanting to hang around a fancy "Aka-chochin(=Red lantern)" type of Japanese restaurants/bars, but in case you are, it won't do you any harm to put down the following in your filofax and look them up if necessary.

1) "一" for one "一(=ichi)" sounds like "itch"

2) "ニ" for two "ニ(=ni)" is like "knee"

3) "三" for three "三(=san)" "sun"

4) "四" for four "四(=shi or yon)" "she or yawn"

5) "五” or "伍" for five "五 / 伍(=go)"

6) "六" for six "六(=roku)" "rock or roque"

7) "七" for seven "七(=shichi or nana)" "she-chee or nahna"

8) "八" for eight "八(=hachi)" "hutch"

9) "九" for nine "九(=kyu)" "queue"

10) "十" for ten "十(=ju) "jew"

These are no less important.

11) "百" for one hundred "百(=hyaku)" is like "hjack or hyahck"

12) "千" for one thousand "千(=sen)" "senn"

13) "万" for ten thousand "万(=man)" "mon"

There's another series of figure like "壱" for one, "弐" for two, "参" for three and the like. But those are rarely seen except in bank notes or check notes.

To make things a bit complicated, they are written VERTICALLY, not horizontally most of the time.

The configuration shown vertically, for instance, in

'伍'

'千'

'七'

'百'

円(=yen)

can be put into '5700' yen.

Sometimes they write horizantally and use "0" for the decimal system as in "伍千七00" 円(=yen).

Take for another example:

If you buy something for "ニ万六千八00" 円(=yen), and hand over precicely three "一万円-bills", you must take "三千ニ00" 円 for the change.

Anyway, it's just in case.

So relax, and enjoy your stay.

Nara, Japan
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9. Re: HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

Sorry, I forgot to tell you an important thing:

Even if you overpay your meals, for example, one to ten they will return the surplus. I mean when you hand over three 1000yen-bills for 1500yen-lunch, you can expect to get 1500yen back for change.

But please don't do that on purpose. You can count on their sincerity most of the time, regardless of the place you go. I think I'm not overly permissive, just doing them justice.

10. Re: HELP Going to Tokyo late December/Early January... and.....

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