JAMEY – Travel in Japan – from Philippines

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Meet Jamey, a traveler from the Philippines captivated by Japan’s simplicity, culture, and cuisine. With multiple visits to Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido, and Okayama, Jamey cherishes the serene train rides, bustling shopping districts, and fresh, healthy food. Dreaming of living in Japan, Jamey navigates the language barrier while embracing the urban lifestyle.

Interview – Story in Japan

Q&A

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Philippines

WHAT DO YOU DO IN JAPAN?

Vacation and visited our best friend.

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JAPAN?

Japan’s simplicity, the usual minimalist aesthetic, cleanliness, and discipline are what made me fall in love with the country. They live with advanced technology and have created products that sometimes make me think…”who would’ve thought about coming up with this? Only the Japanese would.” One example of this is the very talked about Glico pudding with the little button under the cup. I wasn’t at all interested in Japan before and I wasn’t that excited when my parents had booked a stay in Tokyo back in 2018. But when we had landed, I knew it was a country I’d keep coming back to in the years to come.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STAY IN THIS CITY?

In 2018, my family stayed in Tokyo for five days, we were in Osaka and Hokkaido in late 2019, and my most recent trip was last 2023 from November to December and we stayed in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Okayama.

Tokyo was obviously a must for first timers to Japan and my parents wanted to bring us all to Disneyland. We have a knack for shopping so we were mostly in Shibuya and Ginza.

Universal Studios was on the top of my list when we were in Osaka but we first travelled to different parts of the Kansai area during the first four days; Fushimi Inari was one of the itineraries. We realized we hadn’t been to a temple or shrine when we were in Tokyo so we didn’t want to miss it! My family is more of a city and neighborhood travel kind, so we enjoyed going down random streets in Osaka. With influences of movies like Home Alone, we’ve always wanted to experience a White Christmas so we decided to book an Airbnb in a neighborhood in Sapporo and spent our holidays there. We went to visit local attractions like the Winter Wonderland to go skiing, unfortunately, it was closed. So we opted to go around the city as usual. We went back to Osaka for USJ and a whole lot of food tripping in famous restaurants and shopping in Dotonbori. This is where we had our first Don Quijote experience as well!

Because I was with friends on my recent trip, I swore I’d visit more famous sites this time. We had all been to Tokyo but we wanted to see how much has changed since our last visits (except for my friend who lived there, she acted as a tour guide). We also visited Disney Sea and spent a whole day there. We travelled by Bullet train to Kyoto and visited the Gion District and the surrounding area, as well as Fushimi Inari because my friends hadn’t been there before. In Osaka, we had to be at USJ again for the Super Nintendo World and other new attractions (also I needed to buy the Gryffindor cloak). We were around the Namba and Shinsaibashi areas as well and we had finally been to Osaka Castle which was a magnificent sight! My friend who lived there insisted we visit their family in Okayama and stay one night. At first, I thought it was a little out of our way but seeing the more provincial area made my heart flutter way more than I had expected. We stayed in an old, traditional Japanese house, and I’ve never been more in awe of how the Japanese lived.

WHERE IS YOUR LOCAL RECOMMENDATION IN THIS CITY?

Never miss out on Shibuya and Asakusa when you’re in Tokyo. In Kyoto, make sure to go to Arashiyama and Gion District for that traditional Japan experience. If you love shopping and food, Namba area is definitely a go-to but please don’t forget to see Osaka Castle!

WHAT DID YOU ENJOY THE MOST WHILE STAYING ABROAD?

The food is absolutely healthy and fresh! During the three times I’ve visited, I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed and it’s only in Japan where I can eat sashimi and truly enjoy it. Convenience stores offer a wide variety of food and I have had a lot of my lunch, dinner, and breakfast in 7/11, Family Mart, and Lawson (most times, I still go even after having a heavy dinner. The food is just THAT good!).

The views whenever I ride trains are so fantastic that even rides within cities, the views are nice. When we were in Hokkaido, the views of the houses covered with snow made feel at peace…and all I did was admire it from the window whether I was seated or standing. I had to turn off my music (something I never do when I am on commute) so I can fully absorb the sight. During my first ride on the Shinkansen, the first was to Kyoto, the next to Okayama, the view of the fields were so serene. I’m not saying riding trains in Japan are always smooth, but I have always found it relaxing whether I travelling to a city or a province.

Shopping districts are always crowded, especially at night. If I had the privilege of moving to Japan, my shopping days would only be during the day and on weekdays when there are fewer people. I’m not a fan of huge crowds but since I am a tourist for now and I rarely visit, I’d have to keep up with the crowds.

The unique food never disappoints! A gentle reminder that if you are going to Japan, you’d want to put your diet to a halt. If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on a lot!

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE BEING IN JAPAN?

The language barrier is a real challenge. Not all tourist locations have English speakers so my friend who I came to Japan with was really thankful our best friend lived there (she’s half-Filipino, half-Japanese) and she literally did the talking for us.

DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE AND FUTURE PROSPECTS?

There is little adjustments when coming to Japan, the most I would adjust to is the use of technology. The simple urban lifestyle is something I’ve always wanted to be accustomed to even before finding out that it was how the Japanese lived.

There’s not a moment in all of my stays that I didn’t wish to live the way they do. There’s more of an adjustment when going back to my country. Even in only a few days in Japan, I find it always so difficult to return to the lifestyle I have grown to live with; the food in Japan is always fresh and healthy and the commute isn’t a hassle. The air is clean and everything just seems so in place.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?

My dream is to live in Japan and continue my life and career there. It’s hard to look for a corporate job, especially since I haven’t mastered the language. N2 level or higher is the requirement and I’m still learning the basics. I love where I am right now, my job in the Philippines is more than I had prayed for and the only time I would resign is when I finally find the perfect opportunity in Japan.

I’d give anything to have occasional visits to Japan (assuming I have enough budget for a trip), but I really am hoping to live there if God is willing!

MESSAGE TO OUR FRIENDS WHO WILL GO TO JAPAN.

I’m pretty sure there are lots of other countries you’d want to visit but I hope Japan is on your list. From food to attractions to the people, you wouldn’t want to miss it!

Japan offers more than just amazing tourist spots and delightful food. Their way of living won’t disappoint you no matter what culture you have and I guarantee it’ll leave an impact on you more than you’d expect it would. No matter were you’re from, Japan is sure to give a memorable impression.

HOW DO YOU LEARN JAPANESE?

Download Duolingo and Bunpo. Use writing sheets to practice writing and download chat apps to help create and maintain conversations.


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