Japan 2010 - 2011 Trip Plans/Thoughts/Reviews Thread

Toto Warmlet

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PM you may have game keepers thumb, also happens to pole holders, get an xr.
donza, I'm really surprised, all the fuss all year, now you are there, no pics and bagging Hokkaido from Honshu?
are you having a bad trip?
 

cin

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game keepers (skiers) thumb is quite an easy one to pick, you basically cant grasp anything using the thumb.
I did it about 15 years ago, first just thought I hurt it, then went to pick up a beer at lunch and spilt it all over me!
laugh.gif
doh.gif

Bugger of an injury, need an operation to stich the little peice of bone back that the tendon pulled off.
When my plaster came off 6 weeks later my thumb was about the size of my pinky finger and took atleast a year to look anything normal in size. Actually looking at it right now its still clearly smaller but its my right thumb and I'm left handed, just don't know if that was how its always been as you don't really notice these things beforehand.
about the only good thing was the babe of a physio I had for a few months afterwards!
smile.gif

Best of luck with the injury but get an Xray soon as possible, you can do alot more damage to it in the interim if you don't have it secured / strapped.
 
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Donza

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hey Toto--nah great trip..
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combination of sunny skys, BC today and well my daughters camera
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I'm going to write a TR when I get back..

the caper is-i'm, not bagging Hokkaido as such...just the meat market that Niseko has become
 
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smackies

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Had quite a mixed bag over the last two weeks. Furano was lots of fun the first week, though we only rode there for 3 days. The ski patrol aren't quite as relaxed about ducking ropes as some people would have you believe. Spent a couple of days at Tomamu and loved the place. So very few people on the mountain and even less in the sexy yellow bib areas. We got a guide for one day and went to Asahidake after there'd been a nice little dump of snow. Bit of a white-out up top, so didn't catch any views of the steaming vents, though the visibility was good down in the trees. Easily the best day of the entire trip. Untracked snow right up until the very last run. Whilst extremely safety concious on the mountain, our guide was an absolute demon on the roads. I had to have a biru and a lie down when I got home.

Canned the Nozawa plans for week 2 and went to... the same place every other Australian frequents. Snow was great for the first couple of days. Excellent visibility on day 2 made the hikes up to the peak somewhat less painful on my weary legs. There were still some areas that hadn't been tracked out - not sure that the gates were open long the day before. Started to warm up after that, though the blue skies made for some fun times. Spent a day at Chisenupuri which was by far the best value money can buy.

We did an overnight ferry back to Honshu and I still have wobbly legs. Didn't realise a ferry that big could move around so much.

All in all, an excellent trip with an excellent crew. The planning for 2012 has already begun.
 
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Vermillion

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No problems smacks anytime, just a shame you didnt arrive earlier on the Sunday otherwise you would have had a ball skiing the fresh stuff. I will be Hokkaido-ing 2012 aswell (but probably wont do Niseko at all next time) so hopefully cross path's again.
 
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fattwins

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Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen and Myoko are always in the news and are not making money. I do not know what resort in Japan is actually making money. The resort model is based on the pre Olympic boom and the prices for everything has barely changed. Hotels like mine that were bought for a fraction of the cost, turn a profit because we are not in debt. Friends of mine that own hotels here owe hundreds of thousands of dollars and even if they sell they would still be in debt. A bargain here usually means that the other person is going through financial hell. There has to be a better way. Getting more people to the hill isnt really the answer cause the downhill capacity just isn't there. Happo at the end of a Saturday is a freaking gong show as are most other resorts.
 

Heinz

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You would think a big step would be get more people on week long stays, rather than just weekends, which does rely more on foreigners as the japanese have just never been big on taking a week off to go skiing. Easier said than done though...
 

damian

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Massive over investment with zero forward planning in a country with no culture of true recreational lifestyle, let alone skiing culture. It is a basket case made in Japan, as only the Japanese can make it (bless them, they get it very wrong quite often)
 

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damian said:
Massive over investment with zero forward planning in a country with no culture of true recreational lifestyle, let alone skiing culture. It is a basket case made in Japan, as only the Japanese can make it (bless them, they get it very wrong quite often)

"with no culture of true recreational lifestyle"

Most Japanese workers never get home before dark, summer or winter, so there's no time for a true recreational lifestyle!!! (at least in the cities)
 
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damian

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Sandy said:
Most Japanese workers never get home before dark, summer or winter, so there's no time for a true recreational lifestyle!!! (at least in the cities)

I know this well. Very long commutes are a part of the problem, but so to is the entrenched culture of work/company first, never leave the office until your boss does, sit around and do very little in the meantime, plus sadly, a poor family setting (most Japanese male career men do not share a bed with their wives)

My wife works for a successful company in Tokyo. She eventually negotiated working from Hakuba 2 days a week which allows her more productive working, less time commuting, more time with family, 8 hours sleep instead of 5, more happiness.

To improve their work performance she is almost forcing some of her employees to do the same (SOHO)... and the resistance is huge.

None of the workers in her company quite understand (nor respect) her drive to enjoy life so much. She is Japanese, a woman god forbid, she is very successful, and, I think, a role model for the salary men that are getting it so wrong.
 
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Sandy

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damian said:
Sandy said:
Most Japanese workers never get home before dark, summer or winter, so there's no time for a true recreational lifestyle!!! (at least in the cities)

I know this well. Very long commutes are a part of the problem, but so to is the entrenched culture of work/company first, never leave the office until your boss does, sit around and do very little in the meantime, plus sadly, a poor family setting (most Japanese male career men do not share a bed with their wives)

My wife works for a successful company in Tokyo. She eventually negotiated working from Hakuba 2 days a week which allows her more productive working, less time commuting, more time with family, 8 hours sleep instead of 5, more happiness.

To improve their work performance she is almost forcing some of her employees to do the same (SOHO)... and the resistance is huge.

None of the workers in her company quite understand (nor respect) her drive to enjoy life so much. She is Japanese, a woman god forbid, she is very successful, and, I think, a role model for the salary men that are getting it so wrong.

Sounds like she's doing the right thing
thumbsup.gif


My work hours are unlike Japanese work hours.... I get to the office before 7am, and leave before 5pm.(I work for a non Japanese company, but most of the Japanese workers still hold to the Japanese work culture) I look at my emails the next morning and I often see emails sent between 10pm and 3 am!!!!!
 
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churchy

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I'd love to live in japan for a time, but i don't think i could handle the work culture if i were to work "in industry" - i'd have to do something alternative or work for an international...
 

Vermillion

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Work less hours, but more productive hours is much better than working 10+ hours a day and doing very little in that time. Culture is slowing shifting though from the correspondence I get between the Japanese arm of our business and us here in Melbourne. In the past you could afford to have 'zero time' or 'non-value adding' time in your life, nowadays it's all about going like stink while you're there and then getting out of there to enjoy yourself or do something else. If I had to work 10 hours a day I would work less hard (good grammar :p) and probably get less done that the 8 hours I put in currently.
 

Sandy

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Vermillion said:
Work less hours, but more productive hours is much better than working 10+ hours a day and doing very little in that time. Culture is slowing shifting though from the correspondence I get between the Japanese arm of our business and us here in Melbourne. In the past you could afford to have 'zero time' or 'non-value adding' time in your life, nowadays it's all about going like stink while you're there and then getting out of there to enjoy yourself or do something else. If I had to work 10 hours a day I would work less hard (good grammar :p) and probably get less done that the 8 hours I put in currently.

I can't see it changing much here in Japan.....

We have "No overtime" on Wednesdays and Fridays, and it doesn't seem to work for most of the Japanese workers. Also, it's not like the people aren't working hard, at least here at my work, as we have HEAPS of work on.....

However, let's say in Australia, if you have a set plan of what you want to get done during a day, you might start getting frantic after lunch to make sure it's finished by 5pm.
Here, that trigger time is not around 1pm, it's more like 5pm, because by then you only have 3-5 hours of the working day left!!!!
 
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Sandy

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churchy said:
I'd love to live in japan for a time, but i don't think i could handle the work culture if i were to work "in industry" - i'd have to do something alternative or work for an international...

Work for an international company, unless your "in industry" is only a Japanese company.
 
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fattwins

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When I lived in Kyoto I put in 12 hours a day and got paid pretty well at first. Then the company wanted me to do the same hours without the overtime. basically changing the rules of the game. I would be paid for the time in the classroom. Go to a school in the morning, commute to another school and teach all afternoon. The commuting was considered non payment. The company however said that I could do the afternoon shift only for the same amount of money. Because I did that I became Madou Giwazouku. Which means the man that sits by the window or the man they are trying to push out. I quit and re-thought my lifes plan.

Life is just way too short. Try to make the best of it while you can. I think the younger Japanese are seeing this and they really dont want to get into the company craziness but in the end that is the corporate culture here.
 

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fattwins said:
When I lived in Kyoto I put in 12 hours a day and got paid pretty well at first. Then the company wanted me to do the same hours without the overtime. basically changing the rules of the game. I would be paid for the time in the classroom. Go to a school in the morning, commute to another school and teach all afternoon. The commuting was considered non payment. The company however said that I could do the afternoon shift only for the same amount of money. Because I did that I became Madou Giwazouku. Which means the man that sits by the window or the man they are trying to push out. I quit and re-thought my lifes plan.

Life is just way too short. Try to make the best of it while you can. I think the younger Japanese are seeing this and they really dont want to get into the company craziness but in the end that is the corporate culture here.

If you stay at that same company, those young people will find it hard to break out, as you say.....

You broke out because you decided "I'm not going to play that game anymore".... most Japanese workers can't see a way out of the system like a Gaijin can.
 
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K@os

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had a really unpleasant experience in Shinjuku........both my girlfriend and I think we were the victimes of drink spiking. No memory of anything, violently ill in the morning, all of our cash gone, large charges from 2 different clubs on both of my cards. Very scary experience. Disputing charges and have reported the incident to the Japanese Embassy. I just hope I can get my cash back
frown.gif
 
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Sandy

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K@os said:
had a really unpleasant experience in Shinjuku........both my girlfriend and I think we were the victimes of drink spiking. No memory of anything, violently ill in the morning, all of our cash gone, large charges from 2 different clubs on both of my cards. Very scary experience. Disputing charges and have reported the incident to the Japanese Embassy. I just hope I can get my cash back
frown.gif

Were you in Kabukicho??

How much cash & how much charged on the CCs?
 
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K@os

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I have no idea where we were. The last I remember is being led to a club. dont remember entering, dont remember leaving.

My gf and I both had around 20,000 yen each - all gone. $1500 taken from one CC, $3500 from the other.

So scary
 

damian

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Bad news, kaos. You are not the first group of foreign guys I have head of who go out on Tokyo and end up in the wrong places, and with some nasty trouble to deal with (sometime, really nasty)

Tokyo just doesn't have an obvious bar and nightlife like other western cities, so the almost unintentional path of least resistance is to end up in bad places that prey on tourists looking for a clean and good night out. Shinjuku and Roppongi are two such areas that have some dark corners that can end badly.

"Being led to a club": no help now, but rule #1 is never go to a place that is being touted on the street and requires a (usually black) person to lead you there.

 

churchy

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yeah, kabukicho is not the nicest place... i spent a few hours there one night with mates a few weeks back. we spent a while looking for somewhere to have drink and in the end we gave up and just spent the night teasing the bouncers/touts and wasting as much of their time as possible. good fun at the time, but probably not the best idea in retrospect...

sandy: electrical engineer working in instrumentation. the +1 works in finance/tax, so she's more optimistic about finding work for an international which would leave me free to play dad or find something outside the realms of my current career path....
 

Sandy

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K@os said:
I have no idea where we were. The last I remember is being led to a club. dont remember entering, dont remember leaving.

My gf and I both had around 20,000 yen each - all gone. $1500 taken from one CC, $3500 from the other.

So scary

If you were led to a club by a gaijin (often African guys), then you were in Kubukicho, which is off to the north east of Shinjuku station. Much of the activity there is controlled by the Yakuza. Hostess clubs are places where you pay through the nose just to talk to a pretty girl.
 
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fattwins

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Hey Kaos hope you are ok.

To anyone looking for bars in Japan never ever go follow the advice of someone on the street, never.
F@@k that is alot of money and that is the yakuza stealing it. cancel your cards right now cause
they might even have been copied. Hiro will be shocked about this and quite angry. If we can help
in anyway please contact me. Did you report this to the police?
 

Sandy

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churchy said:
yeah, kabukicho is not the nicest place... i spent a few hours there one night with mates a few weeks back. we spent a while looking for somewhere to have drink and in the end we gave up and just spent the night teasing the bouncers/touts and wasting as much of their time as possible. good fun at the time, but probably not the best idea in retrospect...

laugh.gif
Probably not the best thing.....

churchy said:
sandy: electrical engineer working in instrumentation. the +1 works in finance/tax, so she's more optimistic about finding work for an international which would leave me free to play dad or find something outside the realms of my current career path....

You could probably do it.... If your +1 is onto finance, there are definitely jobs with foreign banks around. Daveski (who was here for about 3 years) had a job with a Japanese electronics giant, and his wife found work in banking.

With an electrical engineering background, there are a few opportunites around in foreign companies....
 
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Sandy

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Kaos, what did you do the next morning?? Police? Did you think at the time that your drinks had been spiked?

You were probably lucky that you only had 20,000yen cash each. Do what fattwins says, and cancel the cards.
 

K@os

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we had to catch a flight, so had no time to contact police.

We were both violently ill and as soon as we woke up we knew this was no normal hangover. We both said when we woke up that we thought we were drugged. I dont remember entering or leaving any club.

We tried to make it to the Narita Express Bus, but could not walk, so we caught a cab and paid around $300AU to get to the airport. My gf threw up all the way there and had to seriously hold it together to get on the flight........it breaks my heart to think about the danger I placed her in, I should have been smarter than that, even though I have no idea what happened....quite emotional right now.

I have reported it to the Japanese Embassy in Melbourne as per the Australian Embassy's advice. I have canceled my debit card, which is linked into my savings, but my Credit Card provider advised that it probably isnt necessary to cancel the card as usually it is just one huge charge. I will also need to be able to use something in the next 5 days. I guess if another charge comes up that will be proof that the transactions weren't authorized. They said this kind of thing comes out of Tokyo every week.

I'd love some help FT, but I really don't know what can be done.
 

Snorkler

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fattwins said:
When I lived in Kyoto I put in 12 hours a day and got paid pretty well at first. Then the company wanted me to do the same hours without the overtime. basically changing the rules of the game. I would be paid for the time in the classroom. Go to a school in the morning, commute to another school and teach all afternoon. The commuting was considered non payment. The company however said that I could do the afternoon shift only for the same amount of money. Because I did that I became Madou Giwazouku. Which means the man that sits by the window or the man they are trying to push out. I quit and re-thought my lifes plan.

Life is just way too short. Try to make the best of it while you can. I think the younger Japanese are seeing this and they really dont want to get into the company craziness but in the end that is the corporate culture here.

I'd probably call you the man with cognitive thought.
 
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fattwins

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I dont think you ever meant to put your girlfriend in danger. You more than likely got slipped a date rape drug which is scary.
Did the card company give you any idea of whether you can get the charges/transactions dropped or canceled. If you need any language help you know how to get in touch and please do so.
 

Sandy

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Bloody hell K@os.....
In some respects you were lucky, because the Yakuza are more intersted in the money, than violence to foreigners.... So did you get back today or yesterday?


.....So even if you CC transactions are nulled, your still down maybe $800!!!
 
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damian

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K@os said:
we had to catch a flight, so had no time to contact police.

We were both violently ill and as soon as we woke up we knew this was no normal hangover. We both said when we woke up that we thought we were drugged. I dont remember entering or leaving any club.

We tried to make it to the Narita Express Bus, but could not walk, so we caught a cab and paid around $300AU to get to the airport. My gf threw up all the way there and had to seriously hold it together to get on the flight........it breaks my heart to think about the danger I placed her in, I should have been smarter than that, even though I have no idea what happened....quite emotional right now.

I have reported it to the Japanese Embassy in Melbourne as per the Australian Embassy's advice. I have canceled my debit card, which is linked into my savings, but my Credit Card provider advised that it probably isnt necessary to cancel the card as usually it is just one huge charge. I will also need to be able to use something in the next 5 days. I guess if another charge comes up that will be proof that the transactions weren't authorized. They said this kind of thing comes out of Tokyo every week.

I'd love some help FT, but I really don't know what can be done.

This is seriously unacceptable. So sorry to hear how your holiday ended. Japan is not the land of ethics and kindness that people want it to be, but that is no excuse for good-intentioned people to suffer like that. Sadly, it wont change as the local authorities will do nothing to solve the problem. Clearly there needs to be a stronger effort to warn foreigners away from the dark corners of Tokyo, and what the warning signs of trouble are.
 
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smitty484

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Maybe a blog in wikiski from those in the know?

And that is really shit kaos, sounds like something you would expect in Bali, hope you guys are ok.

Must admit I've never heard of this happening before, but I have never spent time in Tokyo before. When I do I'll be much more careful after reading this.
 

K@os

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thanks ft, will do. I'm hoping the embassy helps me out and the fact I've reported it to them will go in my favour when the credit dispute is investigated.

We got back yesterday morning and I'm at work today, luckily long lunch breaks arent a problem, just spent 90 minutes at 2 banks. I only discovered the charges when my bank sent me an sms stating my card had been suspended.

The banks werent prepared to tell me what the usual outcome is, despite saying that it is a regular occurrence. They just said they would investigate and ask for evidence regarding authorisation of the transaction - no idea what that means if they find a receipt with my signature on it......if I did sign something I would not have known what I was doing or was coerced into it. Thats the hard thing - I have no idea what went on - nada, zip.

I can live with $800, $5k is going to make paying rent a bit tough this week though
frown.gif
 
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Sandy

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smitty484 said:
Maybe a blog in wikiski from those in the know?

And that is really shit kaos, sounds like something you would expect in Bali, hope you guys are ok.

Must admit I've never heard of this happening before, but I have never spent time in Tokyo before. When I do I'll be much more careful after reading this.

It's safe enough to walk around Kabukicho (or any other places for that matter), but it's another thing to go in somewhere off the streets there, in ones or twos....

What people need to realise is that when you see those African guys trying to entice you into ANY place, the alarm bells should be ringing....
 
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K@os

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smitty484 said:
Maybe a blog in wikiski from those in the know?

Must admit I've never heard of this happening before, but I have never spent time in Tokyo before. When I do I'll be much more careful after reading this.

after researching it, the US have put out travel advisories and I have read in several forums many tales of the same thing happening.....yes more ppl need to be seriously warned on the dangers.

I feel shattered, have had to keep my emotions in check several times today. After such a wonderful trip with so much kindness from many Japanese, it really is a tough lesson to learn and a bitch of a way to end a great 2 weeks
 
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damian

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A lot of males head out in Tokyo thinking it is the land of a million hookers and busy clubs and bars, like in Singapore where a guys night out is usually harmless - just really drunk flirting with girls who are great at trying to get your personal attention and money (and, I hear, some do!). They are everywhere there. So when people come to Tokyo, they look for the same kind of night out in the absence of any obvious drinking scene in the (abundant) safe and normal areas. And it ends badly, like black thugs forcing you to take out huge cash from an ATM just to pay for drinks you had with a girl you met at the bar.

But preying on guys and girls like Kaos got is taking it to another level.

BTW - I am not at all saying Kaos and his girl were after that kind of night out. Just saying why stories like this come out of Tokyo so often. The number one type of crime in Japan is preying on peoples weakness, trust and naivety.
 

smitty484

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Actually it just reminds me of something. My next door neighbour and his wife were in Japan for a friends wedding in September. On the night of the bucks party all the guys went out and partied and I remember my neighbour telling me that when he returned to Australia there were credit card payments of multiple thousand dollars on his CC. These are payments he never knowingly or willingly authorised. I am pretty sure he was able to contact the bank when back in Aus and have the payments cancelled.
 

rangerider

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Bad stuff can happen anywhere though the African guys running many of the clubs in Tokyo are pretty dodgy types. There are quite a few very pretty foreign girls who hang in the clubs who are caught up in the local cocaine trade and all that goes with it who are worth avoiding. Mind you, you'd be a hell of a lot more likely getting rolled in other parts of Asia.
 

Sandy

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One thing to note about CCs in Japan, it's often the case where they don't take a signature... in the supermarket, for example.
So it's quite possible that the CCs were swiped and no signature was taken. I would NEVER use a CC in Kabukicho, or Roppongi.
 

K@os

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South Australia
We were just out for a bit of fun - 1 more hour of drinking after splitting up with our other 2 friends....we should have gone home with them. I do remember being told something like 3000yen for 1 hour of drinking, which we agreed to but like I said I cant remember entering or leaving any club, just being led somewhere. I think we got home in the early hours of the morning....so much later than our intended 1 hour of drinking. I do remember being incredibly relieved we made it to the hotel - that thought sticks in my mind, which makes me think I was threatened or something. I dont know how we made it back, but I think we were led back. My friend says I was smashing on his door and he had to let me into our room, but again, I remember nothing.

Now I just have to wait until I hear back from the banks and embassy. The embassy should call back today. The banks will acknowledge receipt of my dispute within 10 working days, but it can take 6-8 weeks before the investigation concludes and I know if I get my money back or not.
 

Sandy

Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
Moderator
Ski Pass
Jan 1, 1998
72,589
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Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
K@os said:
We were just out for a bit of fun - 1 more hour of drinking after splitting up with our other 2 friends....we should have gone home with them. I do remember being told something like 3000yen for 1 hour of drinking, which we agreed to but like I said I cant remember entering or leaving any club, just being led somewhere. I think we got home in the early hours of the morning....so much later than our intended 1 hour of drinking. I do remember being incredibly relieved we made it to the hotel - that thought sticks in my mind, which makes me think I was threatened or something. I dont know how we made it back, but I think we were led back. My friend says I was smashing on his door and he had to let me into our room, but again, I remember nothing.

That's bloody scarey K@os....

You may remember more later.
 
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