Japan 2012- 2013 Trip Plans/Thoughts/Reviews Thread

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Donza

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smitty484 said:
Could have driven
outtahere.gif
easy 60-70 mins to matsumoto.
 
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Vermillion

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smitty484 said:
Could have driven
outtahere.gif

If you didnt want to experience the culture and remain in your little Aussie bubble I guess that's an option. Maybe stop off for Maccas for that authentic feel, you wouldnt want to get sick eating Japanese food.
 
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Donza

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Vermillion said:
smitty484 said:
Could have driven
outtahere.gif

If you didnt want to experience the culture and remain in your little Aussie bubble I guess that's an option. Maybe stop off for Maccas for that authentic feel, you wouldnt want to get sick eating Japanese food.
Like when you were hitting up 7/11 for food?
outtahere.gif
 
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K@os

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Vermillion said:
smitty484 said:
Could have driven
outtahere.gif

If you didnt want to experience the culture and remain in your little Aussie bubble I guess that's an option. Maybe stop off for Maccas for that authentic feel, you wouldnt want to get sick eating Japanese food.

believe me - driving in Japan is a cultural experience all of its own!
 
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Vermillion

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K@os said:
Vermillion said:
smitty484 said:
Could have driven
outtahere.gif

If you didnt want to experience the culture and remain in your little Aussie bubble I guess that's an option. Maybe stop off for Maccas for that authentic feel, you wouldnt want to get sick eating Japanese food.

believe me - driving in Japan is a cultural experience all of its own!

Not disagreeing there. Driving through the snow in towns that dont get snow that often was scarier than Sunday morning up to Buller.
 
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Donza

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Vermillion said:
For breakfast in my brothers town because the local bakery was closed. 7/11 Japan in nothing like 7/11 Australia, you know that.
neither is maccas...though i'm not sure you know that?
 
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Donza

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K@os said:
Vermillion said:
smitty484 said:
Could have driven
outtahere.gif

If you didnt want to experience the culture and remain in your little Aussie bubble I guess that's an option. Maybe stop off for Maccas for that authentic feel, you wouldnt want to get sick eating Japanese food.

believe me - driving in Japan is a cultural experience all of its own!
and awesome fun.
 
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Vermillion

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Donza said:
Vermillion said:
For breakfast in my brothers town because the local bakery was closed. 7/11 Japan in nothing like 7/11 Australia, you know that.
neither is maccas...though i'm not sure you know that?
I only ate Macdonorado's once this time, and it wasnt that great. I had KFC at Tsugaike. After the colonel waved to me from the gondy I just couldnt say no.
 
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Vermillion

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Donza said:
K@os said:
Vermillion said:
smitty484 said:
Could have driven
outtahere.gif

If you didnt want to experience the culture and remain in your little Aussie bubble I guess that's an option. Maybe stop off for Maccas for that authentic feel, you wouldnt want to get sick eating Japanese food.

believe me - driving in Japan is a cultural experience all of its own!
and awesome fun.

Lights red, all arrows are green. What CANT I do?
 
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K@os

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Its the little things - the crazy wide hwys where everybody seems to speed. The workmen on the side of the road who all bow to you as you drive past, in fact I think there was a guy who's only job was to bow at passing motorists. The Japanese GPS. Filling up at a petrol station. Toll booths. Parking systems that lock your car into place. The politeness of other road users.......we used train and car last time. Highly recommend a car in Haks.

So where are all the TRs this year? I'm sure it will only depress me, but still keen to see what I missed out on. Next winter it's on (hopefully)
 

Donza

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Vermillion said:
Donza your post the other day about the dudes selling sweet potato from k trucks put that inane singing/whatever he's doing song into my head. It's driving me insane.
yakiimo
yaki-imo.jpg

Ishi_yakiimo_truck_by_bitmask_in_Tokyo.jpg
 
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Vermillion

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K@os said:
Its the little things - the crazy wide hwys where everybody seems to speed. The workmen on the side of the road who all bow to you as you drive past, in fact I think there was a guy who's only job was to bow at passing motorists. The Japanese GPS. Filling up at a petrol station. Toll booths. Parking systems that lock your car into place. The politeness of other road users.......we used train and car last time. Highly recommend a car in Haks.

So where are all the TRs this year? I'm sure it will only depress me, but still keen to see what I missed out on. Next winter it's on (hopefully)

I'll do one when I sort through the 1000 photos and 3 hours of video and get something decent out of it.

Dont forget the too-many people employed to wave an illuminated baton at you at all roadwork sites. Even if there is no one else on site, they are still there.
 
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hotsaki

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Donza said:
Vermillion said:
smitty484 said:
Could have driven
outtahere.gif

If you didnt want to experience the culture and remain in your little Aussie bubble I guess that's an option. Maybe stop off for Maccas for that authentic feel, you wouldnt want to get sick eating Japanese food.
Like when you were hitting up 7/11 for food?
outtahere.gif
I remember calling in at a 7-11 on the way back from a day at Rusutsu.I bought litle baitfish on a tray.They were delicious.My mates thought i had lost the plot.By the way I have never eaten Maccas in my life and never will.I saw the film Solient Green.
 
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PMG

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Sandy,
I'll direct this to you as you probably have the best chamce of answering it. At the start of our just completed trip we went to Kanazawa and the Noto Peninsula for a few days. Had a great time exploring that part of the Sea of Japan coast but we were also shocked by the state of the coastline around that area. Every part of the coast was strewn with debris and garbage. There would have been literally thousands of tonnes stretching from Kanazawa to the tip of the peninsula. Even Lamp no Yado hadn't been spared with green fishing netting and ropes entangled on the rocks in front of the Ryokan. Cleaning it all up would be impossible even for the Japanese and their application of manpower.

P1020403_zpsea431ad5.jpg


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Look closely at the high tide mark on the last pic. Has there been any typhoons in the Sea of Japan lately or is this normal for the west coast of Honshu? I've scoured the internet for any reference to it with no luck.
 
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Sandy

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I'm not sure about that part of the coast and around Kanazawa. I know that on Sado Island, off the coast of Niigata, the beaches a nice and clean.

On the Pacific coast, the beaches are not like those photos, but there is a little debris, particularly on the rocks, but nothing like that.

It may comes as a surprise, but water even around Tokyo Bay is quite clean. Not sure about the heavy metals, but it's clean enough around Yokohama for plenty fish, and a lot of mussels on pylons and concrete/rocks.



I have noticed this winter, from about the second week in January, that there's been a weather system come in about every 5 days or so, whcih has disrupted the normal winter northerly, and perhaps brought in a lot of debris along the west coast.
 

PMG

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I know what you mean about the cleanliness on the Pacific side from our trip down the length of Kyushu last year. The water and the beaches looked pristine.
Maybe it's come from China.
 

Sandy

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PMG said:
I know what you mean about the cleanliness on the Pacific side from our trip down the length of Kyushu last year. The water and the beaches looked pristine.
Maybe it's come from China.

There's been an abnormal frequency of westerly winds this winter, so that's possible.
 
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DeskRider

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PMG said:
Had a great time exploring that part of the Sea of Japan coast but we were also shocked by the state of the coastline around that area. Every part of the coast was strewn with debris and garbage. There would have been literally thousands of tonnes stretching from Kanazawa to the tip of the peninsula. Even Lamp no Yado hadn't been spared with green fishing netting and ropes entangled on the rocks in front of the Ryokan. Cleaning it all up would be impossible even for the Japanese and their application of manpower.
PMG said:
Maybe it's come from China.

I did a bit of work on this a few years ago. As you saw, the ocean rubbish is a massive problem along that coast, mainly comes from Korea, China (winds and typhoons) and local Japanese sources (mobilized during heavy rain/floods).. Ghost nets are also a big problem along that coast. Due to the size/weight of the rubbish machinery is often required, making the clean-up expensive.

Local councils have been working together with the government agencies to try and word out the best cleaning/clearing methods and the most effective way to use their small budgets. It is not an overnight fix though unfortunately.
Bit of an awkward situation because it is not the local governments fault that all the stuff washes up, but they have to foot the bill for clean up.
 
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Donza

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blutek said:
I've read that in summer, people just leave their rubbish on the beach when they leave.
What in Japan?

I'd be shocked if that was the case
these pics are from early march 2011
Niigata coast..
Seriously the cleanest water i've seen in a long time (i live by the beach here in Australia) The water, the smell and the shingle reminded me of NZ. No Rubbish at all.
You can just see on the waters edge how clear it is.

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DeskRider

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blutek said:
I've read that in summer, people just leave their rubbish on the beach when they leave.

I haven't seen too much of that.. might see it a little in front of the bars in Enoshima/Kamakura say, but not the norm. People are pretty diligent with cleaning up after themselves as a rule IMO.
 
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Donza

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DeskRider said:
blutek said:
I've read that in summer, people just leave their rubbish on the beach when they leave.

I haven't seen too much of that.. might see it a little in front of the bars in Enoshima/Kamakura say, but not the norm. People are pretty diligent with cleaning up after themselves as a rule IMO.
Only 11 bins to pick from
laugh.gif
 
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Vermillion

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Yeah I would find it hard to believe the Japanese just leave their rubbish behind. I've seen quite a few instances of people picking up other peoples rubbish that they've accidently dropped, so I cant imagine they would deliberately leave it behind.
 

damian

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The Japanese, particularly farmers and coastal poor fishermen, are well known for dumping household trash. I've seen washing machines and tv sets on the beaches in Chiba. The west coast is well known for being littered with trash - a lot of fishing industry junk and endless pink and green plastic bottles, shoes and other floaty things. Mount Fuji has famously been a trash pile for years: http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jun/10/news/adfg-fuji10

I frequently see cars in Hakuba during summer stop at a scenic spot where there are no bins and drive away leaving a 7/11 bag tied at the top full of their lunch packaging.

When cars drive to the local incinerator and a bag of trash falls off the back of their small truck, other traffic carefully drives around it on the road, rather than stop and pick it up.

In spring I see beer cans in the mountains left in the snow.

The Japanese are famous litterers.

This has nothing to do with 'more westerly winds'.
 
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Tanuki

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When i was a liftie in NZ, the Japanese were the only ppl who safely disposed of their cigarette buts. They used little containers. Australians were hopeless up untill the 'Bin it' campaings
 

PMG

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That surprises me damian. Travelling around the country by road we haven't seen a lot of litter and most citys we've been to have been remarkably clean considering the density of the population. That's why it was such a shock to see the amount of garbage on that particular part of the coast.
You're dead right in your description of the variety of crap that's washed up. Everything from slippers to construction industry refuse. The number of green fishing nets and ropes we saw was mind boggling.
 

PMG

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blutek said:
I've read that in summer, people just leave their rubbish on the beach when they leave.
Been to any popular Sydney beach lately?
 
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2nd_String_QB

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Many years ago I spent two months doing a home stay in Unoke-machi, a small country town outside of Kanazawa. Along the coast and beside the roads I too saw heaps of rubbish dumped which went against everything I knew and had observed about Japanese culture. The family I stayed with were almost embarrassed by it (and of course were against it).

I have heard stories of garbage collectors submitting low tenders to win certain jobs, and then dumping the rubbish out in the sticks where no one would find it, rather than pay the fees of a tip or incineration. Doing this a few hundred times would soon spread the rubbish into streams and rivers, which would then push them out to sea somewhere.
 

damian

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PMG said:
That surprises me damian. Travelling around the country by road we haven't seen a lot of litter and most citys we've been to have been remarkably clean considering the density of the population. That's why it was such a shock to see the amount of garbage on that particular part of the coast.

I totally agree. It surprises me as well. But I do know after 8 years here that Japan is a country that consistently offers contradictions.

Also keep in mind that all household and industrial trash costs money to dispose of, the more you throw, the more you pay. Items such as a tv and things with no recycle value cost more. A tv can cost almost $100 to dispose of. Wood costs a lot as it has to be burnt. So the Japanese, especially farmers, find places to dump them. Beaches in Japan have hard sand and driving on them is easy, even in normal cars. So a lot of stuff gets dumped illegally at nighttime along the beaches. Same as along the quiet roads of Mt Fuji. I know of places where tv sets have been dumped in Hakuba.

As for littering with small items. I've often seen people in carparks open their door and drop a bag of lunch packaging then drive away.

The Japanese value saving face greatly, and doing the right thing amongst their community. But if away from home, or if you can not be seen or the item can not be seen, even if just covered with a thin layer of sand (or snow), then it doesn't exist. If you face can not be attached to the shame, then no face can be lost. The Japanese are surprisingly different people when they can remain face-less. An example is really pushy bad manners when driving a car.
 
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M_G

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Pretty much the same and very strict. Need seats up until 7 I think. Check Tocoo or the rental car sites. Should be on there.
 

Donza

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M_G said:
Pretty much the same and very strict. Need seats up until 7 I think. Check Tocoo or the rental car sites. Should be on there.
Yeah its the same as here.
Though I gotta say, Japanese are lax with their kids in the back seats of cars. I seen so many bouncing around without seatbelts. Let along car seats.
I'm talking toddlers as well.
usually the the big El Grand type vans.
 
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Sandy

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I've seen a kid sitting in the driver's lap in Japan......


Japanese drivers tend to be unpredictable, and because of that, can be dangerous.

For example, last night on the expressway back from Nagano, I was in the middle of 3 lanes (doing about 110kph) coming up towards a slower car. A car in the fast lane was passing me at about 125kph, so I pulled out after him(with a good gap) and he then proceeded to slow down to 100kph, and eventually hit 85kph
doh.gif

I pulled back into the middle lane to attempt to eventually go to the slow lane around the "blockage", and the guy gunned it again and took of doing about 130kph...... I think he was texting
mad.gif




Other tips:
- you may not have noticed, but many trucks don't change lanes smoothly, but swerve suddenly to change lanes. I always get past trucks as fast as I can.

- On 3 lane expressways, the cars that "intend to go fast" almost always STAY in the fast lane, even if the slow lane + the middle lane have less cars. So often on a 200m stretch of expressway, you might have 2 cars in the slow lane, 5 in the middle lane and 10 in the fast lane(even if the fast lane is going slower than the middle lane!!!!!). The end result is that ALL of the traffic goes slower because the road is all blocked up.

- In the situation above, you are often tempted to overtake in the slow lane to get past the blockage. However, be very ALERT if you do, because the Japanese drivers have the expectation only SLOW cars use the slow lane, and they may change from middle lane to slow lane without checking to see if there is a car going fast in that lane.

- Watch out for motorcycles!! They do not know that a car has a blind spot, and many of them will invariably find the blind spot!! They often don't stay right in the middle of the lane, but at the side. This is worst on a 3 lane road, as they will often sit at the right hand side of the middle lane, so if you're in the fast lane you cannot see them in any mirror and often right where the pillar of the car is. I once saw a motor bike approach behind, then after a couple of minutes, I couldn't see him. I looked in the mirrors, did a head check.... still couldn't see him. I asked the passengers if they could see him and he was right in my blind spot, even though I knew he MUST be there somewhere.

- A general rule of thumb. Drive very carefully. If there is an accident, they will believe the Japanese driver's account. Also, if there is some contention about what happened, the police will invariably assign blame to the larger vehicle.
e.g Truck > Car, Car > motorbike, motorbike > pedestrian.

- Traffic lights. Japanese drivers run red lights. Sometimes 3 -4 cars. If the lights change to amber just before you get to the lights, check your rear vision mirror. If there is a car behind you, then run the light. Otherwise the car behind is expecting you to run the light and may run up the back of you!!!!

- Turning right in back streets. I always check my rear vision mirror first. One time, I had stopped at stop sign to turn right, when a scooter overtook me across the intersection without stopping at the stop sign, and I almost cleaned him up (along with his Shibuya girl on the back) I n this case the bigger vehicle rule would have applied and it would have been my fault!!!!

- Watch out for confusing traffic lights!! Sometimes there is a cluster that has a solid red, plus green arrows left, straight and right. I still don't know what that means!!! However, because there are many traffic lights that have both red and green on almost all the time, you are conditioned to see both red and green.... if you are not paying attention, you can easily mistake solid red/green straight for solid red/green right.
 
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Donza

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My Tip.
Better seperation than you do in Australia. Sudden braking is a japanese habit.
Pass kei trucks, whenever possible
agree turning right. Ive been undertaken by motos turning right.
Always give way to bicycles.
traffic lights..
laugh.gif
- what sequence? what madness.
 
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Sandy

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Oh, and one other thing....

On last Friday night, I got up to near the border of Yamanashi & Nagano prefectures just north of Nirasaki on the Chuo Expressway, when I was directed off the expressway. It was closed, seemingly because of snow and ice. There were no detour signs, and NO help whatsoever, to direct you to anywhere else. Effectively just dumped out into the middle of Japan, not knowing where you are exactly!!!! The Nabi (GPS) doesn't help because it redirects you back onto the expressway again. A sign on the expressway mentioned route 141, which paralleled the expressway for a while, but actually directs you into the bowels of the nearby mountains!!! Snow, icy roads, dark.... not nice. we spent more than 1.5 hours driving around to the next interchange, then onto lonely dark road...... In the end, we went back to the interchange..... and the damn thing was open!!!!
mad.gif


I think in this situation, stay put, weigh your options and maybe head for the nearest big town, even if you have to go back.



Classic signs of these road closing scenarios are:
- Raining in Tokyo (possibly followed by snow, but rain means wet roads BEFORE snow on the high ground on Chuo expressway)
- Snow forecast for the resorts in central Japan.

The rain before snow means a glaze of ice under the snow, closing the expressways. There was a big one in mid January, that closed most of the expressways in southern Nagano & Niigata, & Gunma Prefectures.
 
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Donza

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I would do all my "big" drives in Japan during daylight hours.

Your scenario sounds like Hell with a family.
 
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