Planning Ends Before Fun Begins

March 16

Tomorrow, my friend, 7, will come over to visit! I haven’t seen her since last year! Together, we will travel around Kansai (関西), but before she walks through the door, I need to tie up some loose ends.

This is Japan, not Sparta.

In addition to basic cleaning, I must beat the futons (布団), organize the trash, and spray the tatami(畳). Why? Tatami is like having a forest in your house, better yet, a hay stack. A tatami floor makes your house significantly more hospitable to insects and their ilk. To prevent dani (壁蝨, now there’s a kanji you never see), from crawling through the floor, creeping in your sheets, and crunching on your flesh, spray the tatami with bug spray and beat futons in direct sunlight. Annoying, huh? (Mendokusai ne?) Raise your hands if you still want tatami in your house.

Let’s talk a bit about travel in Japan. Most urban areas have trains and subways. I do 99.9% of my trip planning in Japanese, but these sites have English versions.

A Few Travel Resources

Bus Reservations

Train Schedules

Discount Train Tickets

    • Japan Rail Pass (best for travelling all across Japan, but must be purchased outside of Japan)
    • Kintetsu 5-day Rail Pass (best for travelling in the Kansai area: Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Nagoya, etc.)

Discount Subway Tickets (most big cities have one-day passes)

If you are travelling to/around Japan, I hope this list is useful. One final thought about preparing for visitors: bring something to the table! My friend is going to love this!

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Who wouldn’t want to eat Hello Kitty’s face?
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