As I wait for my plane to head home to Canada for Christmas, I thought I’d record some final thoughts at Narita International Airport on this leg of my trip.
One of the questions I see asked most often on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Forum message boards is whether or not Japan Rail Group’s Japan Rail Pass is good value for money. It’s a great question which you’ll often get a subjective answer to.
There are so many variables and personal preferences/biases which can determine whether or not the pass is right for someone.
In this guide, I’ll share my experience and offer suggestions to those looking to ride the rails in Japan.
What follows is a bit of a 180 from many of the tales I’ve told about Japan. It’s a topic which – while talked about in hushed tones over here – isn’t considered polite conversation. But to paint a real picture of this country, it’s an important thing to discuss.
High speed commuter trains not only get people to and from work or school every day. They also provide a venue for those who’ve lost a battle with their own mental health to end their lives – and to do it in rather gruesome, exhibitionistic fashion.
We start the show on a sonic journey through Tokyo. Not the entire city mind you – there are so many unique sounds that we could fill up the Internet with all the recordings. What I want to focus on in this episode of the show are the sounds you hear regularly – everyday – in Tokyo, which seep in to one’s consciousness because they become so routine. Yet, to foreign ears – they can be fascinating!
After we explore what sounds like Tokyo, we visit with someone who knows the sounds of Nara! Janne Forsyth moved to Japan from Canada 13 years ago, and now calls the Kansai region home. We talk about living as an ex-pat and how Kansai differs from Tokyo in a great conversation over coffee!
Christmas isn’t a religious holiday in Japan. People don’t even get December 25th off from work. But that doesn’t stop businesses, towns, and individuals from celebrating the season. And, because Japan always puts its best effort forward when doing something, the decorations are pretty amazing.