Announcing “Operation Visit Japan”

Ever since my first post on Jamaipanese.com it has been a goal of mine to someday visit Japan. It’s been almost four years now since I began blogging here and various plans to visit Japan have been postponed or have failed for numerous reasons. It is the beginning of a new year, with a lot of new possibilities and opportunities, although this plan has been shared with and refined by input of friends, family and some of my pals in the blogosphere it’s time to officially announce the launch of “Operation Visit Japan” a few weeks before I begin my fifth year of blogging about my interest in Japan.

What is Operation Visit Japan?

Operation Visit Japan is a well thought out medium term plan to put everything in place for a 3-4 week visit Japan. Unlike many other Japan enthusiasts or J-Bloggers it is not easy for me to just hop on a plane to the land of the rising sun. I am not saying that everyone who visit, live or work in Japan found it a simple task to get there as I have known a few people who have worked hard to visit Japan for work, school or even vacation. Operation Visit Japan for me is also a process, a test and a personal challenge. I want something and it isn’t helping to just hope and wait indefinitely so I prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve that goal. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, or in this case the first dollar.

Details of Operation Visit Japan

Tokyo is about 13000 kilometers away from Kingston and with no direct flight I’d have to make at least one connection which would make the journey over a day long. So how would I get from the capital of Jamaica to the capital of Japan? How would I afford all the costs associated with the trip? and How long with Operation Visit Japan take? I have done some extensive research and I have decided that the most important parts in this operation is getting to and from Japan, staying in Japan and getting around while I am in Japan, this translates to airfare, lodgings and railpass. So I have decided to focus on these three primary expenses and base Operation Visit Japan around them. Operation visit Japan will run for 15 months from January 2010 to March 2011 and the window for my planned visit to Japan sometime between June and August 2011, ideally just after the rainy season.

More on Jamaipanese.com:  New York City Vacation 2016

kingston-operation-visit-japan

Google Map of Downtown Kingston including the Airport

Lets Crunch the Numbers

At today’s prices a ticket from Kingston to Tokyo via New York should cost an estimated us$1400 if booked at least a month in advance. Super Cheap accommodation at a hostel or very basic hotel should be around $800 for 20 nights. A 14 day Japan Rail Pass which would allow me to ride most of the trains in Japan for free costs about $500. So my estimate for airfare, lodgings and railpass is $2700. I am bearing in mind costs such as visa fees, spending money, food and other expenses not to mention fluctuating currencies which I mentioned in my $1 JMD = $1 JPY post but as I stated earlier I believe that once those 3 major expenses are covered my moral and excitement will be so high everything else will fall into place, but just in case it doesn’t I am prepared to sell internal organs, limbs or body parts that are doubled up such as a testicle, an eyeball and a thumb.

So how will Operation Visit Japan be funded?

I am employed on a government plantation working for very little but giving thanks I am employed none-the-less, plus I have been inspired by an old Jamaican proverb – “one one cwoco full baaskit” which means no matter how difficult a task is it can be done through discipline, dedication and perseverance. When I did the math really It was kinda simple, if I saved us$100 from my monthly salary for 15 months I’d have $1500 which is my ticket to Japan and if while saving that from my pay check I continued blogging purposefully using the earnings from 2009 as a guideline I am sure I can  earn $1200 from advertising revenue on Jamaipanese.com from January 2010 to March 2011 as it is this same advertising revenue that bought me anime figures like Seravee Gundam, Heavy Arms Kai, Chibi Gundam Astray Gold frame and Yoko Littner not to mention an Otaku Encyclopedia and various other books and trinkets over the years! So what if I now saved most of that revenue up? That would be enough money for basic accommodation in Japan and a 14 day railpass!

More on Jamaipanese.com:  Winning Tokyo Olympics 2020 Emblem

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Google Map of Tokyo including the Airport

You are Awesome

If you read this far you are awesome and I welcome your feedback via a comment or through my contact page. If you were attacked by this text heavy post and just scanned through but still made it this far you are still awesome and I also welcome your feedback.  Operation visit Japan begins now, first of many monthly reports will be live in a couple days as soon as I finalize some issues with my bank.

[pole]

151 thoughts on “Announcing “Operation Visit Japan”

  1. Woohoo! This is awesome news!!

    I have to warn you, the second you see those shelves full of Gundam everything gets kind of hazy and then before you know it you’re back in your hotel room with 50 Gundam and no moolah so I hope youhave more self control than me :)

  2. おめでとうございます! Congratulations! I know how excited you must be– just like when I started planning my first trip to Japan. I am excited for you! 頑張って下さい! (Gambatte kudasai!)

    [japan]

  3. Good luck man. You can do it, and you won’t regret making the sacrifice. The rail pass is a godsend. Full shinkansen trips around Japan are awesome!!

  4. Nice stuff. Good luck.

    Trying to think of ways you can increase your income. I’m wondering do you speak much Japanese? I wonder if there is a market showing young Japanese tourists around Jamaica. I guess you could only do it in the weekend, but if you marketed in Japanese, offering tours around the ‘real Kingston’, then might work… this site looks like a guesthouse for Japanese tourists in Kingston – might be a kind of target http://www.aishahouse.com.jm/

    Anyways, totally impressed that you love Japan so much! I’ve lived here for 10 years, and its still mindblowing every day.

    Also, long shot, but Japanese TV loves doing crazy specials – if you can convince that you are the no. 1 Japan lover in Jamaica, you never know, they might come over and interview view and invite you to Japan.

    1. Good ideas.

      I’m moving to the Philippines soon and there’s a market there for English tutoring. Gonna use that to supplement my income. Always good to use whatever you’ve got to earn extra cash.

  5. I wish you the best of luck I possibly can. I’m sure you can make it, and at times when you feel down, listen to DJ KAWASAKI feat. Tasita D’Mour – You Can Make it… it’ll surely motivate you, and in case not, it’s just a helluva good son. ^^

    Anyway, がんばってね!

    Will definitely wait for you monthly reports.

  6. I’m kinda shocked about two things in your post.

    One is that the 14 day rail pass in Japan costs 500 bucks. That’s insane. A tourist in Singapore, expensive as it is, could buy a CEPAS card (the card used to enter / exit buses and trains) and only have to load it with about 70 SGD (about 100 USD). That would be WAY more than enough for 20 days. I suppose what you’re talking about though is a ride all you want, any distance, any time card, which includes travel across the width and breadth of Japan. In that case, it might be worth it, especially if you plan on bouncing from city to city.

    The other thing that shocks me is the amount of capital you raise from advertising on your blog. I mean seriously, I don’t know how you guys do it. I suppose Japan is a lot more enticing a reading subject than Singapore though, especially given that a lot of people haven’t even heard of Singapore before. Maybe my hits will jump up when I start blogging about the Philippines, especially if my enrollment goes right and I wind up going to college with kids who are half my age. LOL.

    I have to agree with James that you’re probably going to want to take about 800 USD for spending money with you. I just can’t see going all the way to Japan from Kingston and not bringing cash enough to take home souvenirs other than photos. If you’re really strapped when you show up, it’ll be hard looking at all those original items on the store shelves and not being able to buy them. But, I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’ve taken a few underfunded trips myself.

    Other than that, I applaud your enthusiasm and dedication. Good luck. I hope you’re able to keep your resolve.

    1. the rail pass will allow me to travel almost everywhere in Japan and will definitely pay for itself with a trip to Kyoto or Nara and back (maybe both ^^)

      The blog earnings was kinda surprising for me too when I did the math. Using various ad services and doing a lot of experimenting as not everything works. Saving for Japan instead of splurging on anime figures and such is a better idea.

      1. Well, if that’s the case then go for it. It’ll pay for itself and you might as well maximize your trip.

        What really surprises me is that I only see two ad-blocks on the site, so I’m wondering how they generate so much. I guess you must have a ton of page-views.

  7. Congratulations on setting a concrete goal! For my trips to Japan in 2008 and 2009 I had to do the same thing … sit down and really think about how I was going to get my dream accomplished. As a single mom with a somewhat substandard income — I, too, work for the state : ) — it’s not an easy thing to do but I wanted it so I went for it. I’m definitely rooting for you. Check out my “chunky budget” blog post http://bit.ly/4EeMa1. Looks like we’re similar in our thinking! Again, congratulations and we’re all here to help you the best we can.

  8. Cool, man! Good luck and many blessings on your quest to visit that land. May fortune and providence shine on your path, sir.

  9. Go for it man! If you put your mind to it you can do anything.

    Your blog makes a lot of income from advertising :o

  10. I found this blog a week ago, and I thought you have visited or lived in japan. Because you know lots of things which I(japanese) don’t know. How do you get all knowledge about Japan.
    anyway,I got tell you this, The rail pass in not include Shinkansen.
    And one more thing, as you know Japanese can not speak in English, but japanese can read easy English. So, when you need to communicate with japanese, write what you want.
    I hope you will have good time.

    1. It’s only the Nozomi Shinkansen the JR pass is invalid for, all others are fine. The pass is great value for money and it’s shiny too!

  11. Brilliant idea to set a goal like this, I wish you the best of luck and keep at it, don’t let anything take you off your path!

    You’ll see it’s worth every cent, when I came home from my trip to Japan I felt like “floating” for weeks, as if I was in love :)

    いけえええー! [pole]

    1. I won’t let anything get me off my path. Thats why I stretched the operation over 15 months to ensure it isn’t much of a strain and I can manage.

      I can’t wait to experience that floating feeling!

  12. It all starts with a plan! And the more you research, the better deals you’ll find. Depending on the city you’re visiting, weekly mansion rentals can be a good option because you can save a lot of money on food by cooking for yourself. Search for it in Japanese and you’ll find lots more options, but those places might require someone to translate the rental contracts for you when you sign them. I’ve found places for less than $40 per night, and you have the comforts of an apartment (sometimes with your own washing machine) and many of the buildings have permanent local residents, which is maybe good for more of an immersion experience.

    The rail pass is good if you’re planning to ride the shinkansen a lot. Just use Hyperdia to add up the cost for any shinkansen trips you plan and compare it against the cost of the pass. We went to Hokkaido and went all over Tokyo, so it worked out to be a good deal for us, even with the other train fares on non-JR lines in Tokyo. But when I was researching for another trip, the rail pass would have actually cost more.

    We were on a really strict budget when we went last year, so we added up all the spending money we had, took out 10% for emergencies and then divided the rest by the number of days we would be there. Once we spent that amount, we didn’t spend any more for that day. It really strained my discipline some days, but we ended up being able to eat well and enjoy ourselves up until the very last minute without worrying about having enough money left over. I actually had little stacks of money with the day of the week attached. Sounds silly, maybe, but it worked for a super-tight budget and helped make sure that we stuck to it, even when confronted with things we really NEEDED in Akihabara! We used part of the emergency funds to pay for a taxi to Tokyo station when we were leaving so we wouldn’t have to mess with dragging our luggage around as much. And it was nice going home with a little bit of money left over. Not much, but still!

    So happy to hear that you’re actually taking steps to plan your trip. You’re going to enjoy it so much!!

    [japan] [love]

  13. Best of luck in your preparations as well. You should consider putting a Donate button through PayPal on your site to help raise funds as well. You never know if people will help out.

    33 [japan]

  14. Glad to hear that you’re finally going to make the trip. Your blogging partially inspired me to finally go last summer. It took me 15 years to get over there so you’re good to do it in 5 (wink).

    Now, maybe it’s because I’m a grown lady and expect certain amenities but I think a 3-week trip would cost about $5000 USD with all expenses included. I stayed 9 days and spent about $1500 USD. Now I’m pretty frugal and only bought about $200 USD worth of souvenirs (including an extra suitcase).

    That said…

    I wish I could have gotten more rice candies, more clothes for my kids, more wicked electronic gizmos (like the cute, dancing Sony Rolly) and just…more!

    Since I’m going back this Fall, I’ll make up for it but it would have been nice to know the first time ’round. But that leads to another important matter for you to consider: cash on hand.

    Japan is still very much cash-based and the institutions that support credit cards are likely not the same ones you would be used to in JA. I got stuck in a cash bind because the hotel wanted ALL payment – up front – the 1st night.

    I could pay it but it meant that my spending money was dismal. Plus, I had business meetings to host!

    Either stick with Western companies where you can book and pay in advance from home (or in Japan using internationally accepted gift cards) or make sure you know your way to the ONLY MoneyGram in Tokyo.

    It’s in the fancy dancy Chiyoda business district and directions (by the well organized subway) will come in handy if you need a quick cash infusion from home. Getting money wired to you requires that you know someone with a Japanase bank account.

    The MoneyGram thing is especially helpful if carrying large sums of cash on you for days or weeks at a time makes you nervous (as it does me). Japan’s a low crime country but you still need to be prudent.

    As to language. The only words I know with certainty are “shimbun”, “mizu” and “miso” (the only 3 things I need for survival anyway) but I managed on my own for several days. You’ve been studying Japanese for a while and will do fine. Tokyo had a lot of folks who were comfortable with a few English words. If you’re going to the far-flung suburbs or rural then it would be different.

    Oh and lastly…from one Jamaican to another: bring a LOT of Vaseline/Chapstick for your lips (hard to find in Tokyo at least) and moisturizer for your skin (your brand’s likely not there). I don’t know what it is with the air over there but it will require your attention if you don’t want to be distracted by chapped skin.

    1. definitely going for mostly cash while in Japan. One of my local banks is in some kind of international alliance that am told should allow my card to work at thousands of ATMs in Japan, will still have cash though it case that turns out to be a fluke.

  15. As if my last post wasn’t long enough. To clarify…

    “Getting money wired to you requires that you know someone with a Japanase bank account. ”

    I didn’t mean getting a MoneyGram requires knowing someone with a Japanese bank account. If you wan to wait 5-9 business days for a wire transfer, then you’ll need to know a local.

    Also, if you haven’t already then you should hook up with this nice lady…

    http://tokyotopia.com

    Her name is Honor. She’s a fun, friendly UK national who’s been living and working in corporate Japan for several years.

    1. I actually know Honor via Twitter and her site and think her website is a very useful resource. If the finances allow I might even take one of the Helicopter tours she wrote about a while back.

  16. As someone who is often planning their own fake trip to Japan, as I have never had the opportunity to go either, I salute you and can tell that you are off to a great start with a solid budget and plan!

  17. Wow, my friend, you do have a great plan and I wish you all the best. I thought you will go to Japan this year, hehe. Well, now I understand your situation and your plan may certainly work. You know, if you had some friends in Japan (I’m sure you have many) to stay over, that’ll bring your cost down. Of course you needed some in every of the places you want to go to.

    I liked Michael’s idea, you should definitely send some emails to various Japanese TV stations and link to your blog and maybe you can write this plan of yours in Japanese, ask a Japanese friend to help you to write it well with a title like: I am the biggest fan of Japan in Jamaica. [jamaica] Please help me to come to Japan! Of course you need to be open about being a part of a TV show [gamer]

    It may happen, that we both end up in Japan next year, hehe. I also plan to visit Japan next year, if I manage to stay in Taiwan. Japan is so close, that should not cost me so much. We’ll see. I’d rather go in spring and see the sakura than in August [smile]

    Good luck!

    1. you should come go to Japan in the summer!

      I have a few friends in Japan but wouldn’t want to be a bother coming and going as I please in the wee hours of the morning and whatnot. The TV show idea might have to grow on me though.

  18. Excellent!! I’m sure you will have great success ^^

    It’s always best to have a plan as without a plan things can go wrong as I’ve found out not so long ago. I was gradually saving for a year trip to Japan was buying yen from the currency exchange each week so I couldn’t easily spend the money, had at least enough money saved in yen alone to pay for a month there.

    Then one thing led to another and now the yen is gone and I’m back to needing to pay debts off before I can start saving again [sob] oh well I will prevail this time [japan]

    Good luck and keep us all up to date.

  19. Sounds like the plan! Now if the response to this post is anything to go by, putting a paypal donate button on your page is a really good idea. I’m sure there are lotsa people that would enjoy seeing you get to Japan Kirk, me included.

    1. the donate button suggested by you and others will definitely be on starting with the first report. I don’t know how to explain but I was initially a little reserved as I didn’t want to come across as some kind of scammer.

  20. I support Brett on that notion, even if I can only help with a few bucks, it all helps in the end. You, Brett and Koichi/Tofugu has probably been my main driving force in getting there, and I finally did last year for Tokyo Game Show and it was awesome, and I would love to repay that somehow!

  21. Best of luck to you, hope your dream comes true! Will be following Operation Visit Japan avidly next few months, and maybe even start planning my own trip with all the good tips you are getting..
    がんばって:-))

  22. I read your first blog post and its good to see that you’re so dedicated to your dream. I also have a desire to go to Japan and actually started learning some Japanese but didn’t continue the lessons. I think I might start again.

    I know you will get there just stay focused.

  23. If anyone deserves to go to Japan it is YOU! I am so glad that you are determined to make this happen! You are gonna love EVERYTHING there and meet some extraordinary people! You’ve got my support and my advice when you roll through Kansai!

    Zee

  24. wooohooo! congrats duder. loved your comment about selling body parts that you have two of. lol. soon, your love affair with japan will be consummated.
    [tongue]

  25. Ah, when I commented I ticked to subscribe to the comments via email and damn I am so happy to see how everyone is cheering you on and giving you loads of support. Makes me want to do it once more here.

    The more I think about the idea Michael suggested, the more cooler it seems. And I don’t think that it really is impossible, I mean, think about it. Hehe, I so would love to see you wearing a tee with your own logo on it (the flags combined), shouting happily “皆さん、僕はカークです、よろしくお願いします~~! [jamaica]

    And the Paypal donation button is a definite must, this way all the people here cheering you on can help you even more. I don’t mind supporting you with a little amount whenever I can afford to do so, in fact I would feel better doing so rather than spending that on whatever nonsense I’m usually spending my money on.

    Anyway, once again, I’ll keep cheering you on and I’m sure you will succeed to make it happen. One day I’ll start planning on doing the same thing you are so I expect you to cheer me on in favor! [smile]

    1. the support via comments and through my contact page has been great, I’m on a high!

      The paypal donate button will be live with the first report. You will have my support as well at all times!

  26. Well, if you make it here before I leave, I’d love to meet up :)
    Also you have to turn me on to this advertising revenue goldmine ;)

  27. Hey man, I really wish you the best in getting all of your finances in order. Might I recommend that you also set up a PayPal account and let your readers contribute a little bit to your trip? I don’t know if there are any legal issues associated with this, but if they’re gifts, I can’t imagine they would be taxable.

  28. Best of luck! I intend on returning sometime in December and staying into January 2011, so maybe we’ll cross paths there?

    As for funds, it’s really all about timing and good planning. I tracked flight prices via Bing.com for nearly a couple months before finally just caving in and getting the lowest price (It was $690 or something round-trip). I gave myself a very limited allowance of $1k spending money in Japan, and only $500 of that (turned into just over 40,000 yen cash with the crappy USD->JPY exchange rate) was in cash.

    It’s very doable, now that I’ve experienced it. Transportation is cheap unless you go with the JR rail pass (which I advise against, lest you actually take full advantage of it and go all over Japan). Food is EXTREMELY cheap, so you don’t have to worry about that either.

    Not sure what else to add that hasn’t already been added! I guess if you have any questions to a person who just went on a maiden voyage to Japan, feel free to throw them my way?

    1. Thanks for your comment and tips Rene. I’ve been tracking flight prices for a while and will continue to do so. Will be flying to Tokyo via NY from Kingston. I do plan on getting out of Tokyo for trips far and wide so the railpass will definitely pay for itself

  29. Go for a ChipIn widget instead of a PayPal donate button. It still uses PayPal, but is visually more appealing and motivating – motivating for those of us that want to see you reach your goal!

    1. I am thinking about using the Chippin Widget but not sure if I want to limit the donations to a specific amount and if I did want to I can’t decide on a specific amount. I will be providing mothly statements with details from my bank account and donation updates sent via paypal.

      Thanks Nick, maybe I can meet you when i get to Japan as well.

    1. The itenary isn’t finalized just yet but Tokyo will be the base with a couple day trips to places like Kyoto, Sendai and maybe even Hokkaido among other places.

      Yup, my computer and gaming budget has been cut in half but games like Final Fantasy 13 will still get bought! ^^

  30. wow, this is a huge list of comments!

    My biggest fear is that you don’t have any great friends in japan? are you sure there is no one there that has an extra bedroom? according to your numbers it could save you a whole $800. Which would help if your planning on keeping base at a place that has the highest cost of living in the world.

    If I was trying to make money I would just try eBay, you have manga you’re holding onto for some weird reason while not reading it for years? you have also non-japanese related things also?

    I’m lucky that I’m still almost 17, so I really have no cost of living expenses, and if I play it right I could save $100 a week… but if you try hard, then you can do it :D

    1. I can be a pack rat with my possessions at times but ebay is not an option for somelike me outside America, Oz or some other country with a localized ebay site.

      Most of my friends in Japan are willing to put me up for a while but it’s not like an extra bedroom setting and I am sure you are aware of how cramp things are especially in Tokyo.

      Budgeting and managing my funds will be important!

      1. haha, I get your points, but it’s obvious you’ve already got a TON of support from everyone else. I’d reckon I’d be able to give a few dollars to your operations XD

  31. Hey man, good luck on your trip! Hopefully you get the funds and stuff, I’m rooting for ya. Thought i’d give you some advice which you can listen to or ignore as you like. lol.

    I was going to advise against the heat because it is summer…then I realised you live in Jamaica, which I imagine is very hot all year round, haha. Seriously though, it’s not the heat it’s the humidity that gets you in the Japanese summer. It’s awful, be prepared!

    First thing, travel LIGHT. I can’t stress that enough. Lay out the clothes you wanna take out and get rid of half of them. Find a coin laundry in Japan, put your clothes on, grab some lunch or something and go get your clothes back. Get rid of things you don’t need.

    Regarding the rail pass, if I remember correctly (it’s been six year since I last used one), but I think it’s only JR trains you can use (and shinkansen), so be careful where you want to go, because some places (especially kansai area) have their own set of local rail lines and you won’t be able to use it. Also, some shinkansen routes actually pass through private lines and I think there may be surcharges, I’m not too sure. Still, be careful, it looks like you’ve been doing the research on it though so good luck! Also, make a note of places you want to go where there’s no rail lines (i.e. most of the big places/shrines in Kyoto, which are best accessed by bus. 1 day bus pass works out about 500 yen, which isn’t bad but still it adds up). Budget a lot for travel. Oh and have a look at seasonal tickets that pop up, like the jyuuhachi kippu (18 ticket), which gives you 5 days of unlimited travel (which you can ‘spend’ on a day by day basis) on JR lines for about 11,000 yen. That ticket is available a few times a year, so check it out and others.

    Food isn’t really an issue as you’re not here for an extended period and I doubt you’ll want to eat foreign food here. Most places are real cheap, working out between 500-1000 yen for a meal, sometimes with different courses. And the selection is mind boggling. Conbini food/vending machine drinks all add up though (especially those damn vending machines in the summer, grrr!), so be careful.

    It might be worth asking some people you know in Japan if you can stay at their place when you go visit other places. Aside from making your trip that much cheaper, it also adds some companionship to the trip, which is always nice. Plus we’d like to meet you, haha. You get your own free local guide for a day or so too! I’m sure we won’t mind you stopping over, even if you come and go in the middle of the night! That being said, I’m not sure where I’m going to be next year, but if I’m somewhere close to where you want to go, then by all means you’re welcome to stay for a few nights.

    Also look at staying in hostels or capsule hotels, the capsule hotel especially for the experience even if it’s for only one night, They’re only a couple of thousand yen and usually have nice communal baths. Hostels are just cheap, although I’d recommend finding one with private rooms just to be safe. Japan’s one of the safest countries there is, but it doesn’t mean things don’t happen.

    Anyways, that’s all I have for now, I’m at work so I can’t write too much. If I think of anything later on i’ll post it up.

    1. wow another great comment with lost of yips and suggestions. where should I start.

      I don’t mind the heat and I understand that summer in Japan is even hotter than Jamaica. My decision to go in the summer has to do with me going when there is a break from school and also when my workload in my dayjob is less and I stand a better chance of getting a month off. Also if it’s not in the height of summer my only other free time would be in the height of winter and as someone from the tropics i prefer the heat over freezing cold any day of the week.

      I will be traveling super light and I have already done some research on how to use 24 hour coin operated laundromats as you suggested. I will not be lugging around too many suitcases.

      The railpass will come in useful and pay for itself for those overnight trips outside of tokyo and I have taken note that some trains and buses do not accept the pass.

      Not really an adventurous eater so I’ll be sticking with the basic stuff most of the time which equals cheap.

      I should be overnighting here and there with friends while in Japan but I don’t want to be too much of a bother for someone for too long. A hostel with private rooms is where I will most likely be staying. I have a list of about 5 of them in Tokyo area and it’s just a matter of decided which one based on location, price and amenities.

      Thanks again for your suggestions!

  32. I just informed Japan that you’re coming next year and it went freaking crazy. It’s pumped for your arrival.

    Stick to your goal ( I know you will ) and you’ll be in Japan in no time. Seriously dude! All your hard work up until the day you leave will be more than worth the wicked awesome experience you’ll have in Japan.

    Just remember you’re the man!

  33. This is good news! Let me be the millionth person to suggest that people would love to help make this happen for you – PayPal, ChipIn, or have you ever checked out Kickstarter.com?
    Good luck. Looking forward to to following the journey and cheering when ya get here!

  34. As others have said, the JR rail pass is a great value. You definitely want to see places outside Tokyo and thats the way to do it. Most city subway systems have 1 day passes available as well, but some cities have more than one subway system so allow some extra for unexpected costs. Train/subway stations all most nationwide have multilingual station signs so navigating is not too hard. Also be sure to wear shoes you can walk in all day.

    As for finance, credit cards work in many places but dont assume they work everywhere. As for ATMs the situation is worse. Your card probably wont work with any bank except Citibank ATMs and those are few and far between. On the positive side, 7-11 ATMs work with almost all international networks and they are open 24/7 and easy to find.

    If you plan on buying stuff, youth hostels are not the best choice for leaving things around. Japan may be safe but not everyone who visits is so considerate if you know what I mean. Also you cant leave things in many hostels anyway. My advice as painful as it sounds is look but dont buy most of the time. Your budget will be tight so just plan for a certain amount to spend on plastic crap and DO NOT go over that until the last day if you have some money left over. Lots of stuff looks neat and appealing but food and shelter are more important than anime junk. Some people you know here might be able to help out storing purchases even if they cant offer you a place to crash.

    Good luck with your plans!

    1. I will definitely be going for mostly cash when traveling around Japan and doing business. I will try to be disciplined leave the bulk of the shopping until just before I leave

  35. Once you get going if you need a place to stay a few nights or so let me know. No matter where in Japan you are – I have lots of friends who I’m sure wouldn’t mind putting you up and showing you around for a few days!

  36. Great news!
    I hope it all works out, as you know yonasu is there, and he of course should now be clued into what works out cheaper there in terms of hostel, travel etc.

  37. Oh, congrats! You know, I heard that some other bloggers were planning to make trips there. I don’t know the timing involved, but it would be neat if you met up with a few of them.

    This sounds pricey but, as you said, worth it to realize a dream. Best of luck with everything!

  38. Awesome. Good luck in your plans and I hope all goes well towards achieving your goal. In my opinion it will be well worth the time and money. You will have a blast.

  39. Good luck Kirk, I hope everything will go as you plan. [japan]
    From my experience, the key to maximize travel experiences and minimize expenses in a trip like this is careful planning in advance.
    Well, when the time for planning will come, if you’ll need any advices, keep in mind that you can always count on me (and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of help on this matter…) ^_^
    [love]

  40. I am also planning my trip to Japan (Ive been planning since third form so I know how hard it is) just stick to your plan and you should be on that plane in no time ^^. I also was planning on going next year july/august for my b-day. I hope you succeed man!

    GAMBATTE KUDASAI!!!!! [japan]

  41. It’s a real shame that you don’t get to just ‘hop on a plane’ as you say. I’ll be going again in Feb, and then again in May, and somehow I feel a little guilty that in the last four years I’ve been more times than I can count…

    I hope this all works out for you matey, it really is the most amazing place on earth.

  42. You’ll make it. :) Go ftw!

    I know of some guys who had just come back from Japan (travelled north to south). What they did was go with a tour group and just extend their ticket to come back much later on their own. This worked out cheaper for them instead of going free and easy all the way thru.

  43. Hello,

    I came accidently to your blog and I was fascinated of your love to Japan. I wish you all the best for your dream. And maybe, we meet in Osaka (I am living there) by accident.

    Best greetings from a German living in Osaka,
    Steffel [jamaica]

  44. When I found your blog last year I was surprised a Jamaican knew so much about Japan and was interested in the culture etc.

    Bro I really would like for you to make that trip. I think life is about making things happen. You have put the plans in place and you will achieve them.

    If it is one thing I want you to do is to visit Japan.

    That will make all your readers happy. [jamaica]

  45. Seriously man congrats on your grand plan for japan.. It’s not easy but it can be done! Saving is themost important thing. Even my short trip this year was due to saving up. I wish you nothing but the best, and I know the actual trip will be very much sweet! More so since it will be your first trip!

    Keep focused on the goal and YOU WILL MAKE IT.. GO OPERATION JAPAN!

  46. I also want to visit Japan and I need to do it quick before my son is too old and I have to pay full price for him. I am happy for you and hope that one day soon I will be in Japan.

  47. Hey! I know this post is a bit old, but I stumbled across it randomly and think it’s wonderful that you’re willing to work hard to make your dream come true! Since you’re planning on budget traveling (which I’m a huge fan of myself) I wanted to recommend couchsurfing.com. It’s a sort of social networking site where people offer up their couches (or futons, spare beds, etc.) to travelers for free, no strings attached. Not only do you get a free place to stay, but it’s also a great way to meet locals who can show you around and take you off the beaten, tourist track. There are hundreds of couchsurfers, both foreign and Japanese, in Japan so you’ll have a lot of options if you want to try it out. I highly recommend it, and GOOD LUCK with saving for the trip!

  48. I hope you reach your goal :)

    Visiting Japan was something I always wanted to do as well. I intend to do it, just not sure when it’s going to happen.

    Goodluck!!!

  49. Oh yeah, and I know Tokyo is the big city that everyone gets excited about. But, don’t sell the Kansai area short. Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Himeji, Lake Biwako, Nara, etc. Great sights and great times to be had :-).

  50. They should make japan airlines come to jamaica airport because it cause a lot to stop and go and stop and go but congratulation doe.

  51. I sort of ended up on this post again thanks to a spam notification. The timing is ridiculously cool, though – in two weeks I’m having my first trip to Japan. I’ll keep it as a Tokyo-exclusive trip for the first time… I’ll try to make some more time for other trips ahead but for now, it’s Tokyo. I’m excited – just as you were. Remember how we said we’re just gonna break down in tears once we get there… I think that’s just what’s gonna happen, haha.

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