Japanese Culture Explained: Before Your Next Tour

It has been over 150 years since the country of Japan opened their ports to our western world after hundreds of years in isolation. Yet there are still things about this country that mystify us. Here are a few interesting things you may not know and tweets about Japanese culture.

• Christmas Is A Romantic Holiday

Christians only make up about 2% of the population in Japan, Japan Holiday Packages, so Christmas is regarded as a novelty in Japan opposed to a religious vocation. Elaborate and stunning lighting displays along with Christmas trees are very common. However, the majority of the population celebrates on Christmas Eve compared to Christmas Day. In addition, Christmas Eve is regarded as a date night in Japan similar to Valentine’s Day, with most couple’s that go out for a fancy meal and the exchange of romantic gifts.

• Omiyage Is More Than Just Souvenirs

The term is known as “omiyage” which is in most cases translated into the word “souvenir” in English. However, an omiyage is a lot more than just a souvenir. Unlike the souvenirs that travelers in most cases purchase for themselves, the omiyage are items that people buy for family, co-workers, and friends after their trip. The omiyage is usually specialty food items from various regions that are packed into bright and beautiful boxes. While the act of bringing back a souvenir in western cultures is regarded as a pleasant gesture, in the country of Japan, bringing back omiyage is expected.

• Women In Japan Used To Blacken Their Teeth

For hundreds of years, the act of tooth blackening which is referred to “OHA Guro” was a very common practice for the women in Japan, especially geishas and married women. This practice was regarded as attractive and was also thought to assist in protecting the teeth from dental issues and decay. The women used to use a variety of substances on their teeth like mixtures of ink and tooth wax so that the teeth would maintain a black appearance. This practice was done away with and banned in the later part of the 19th century in efforts to modernize Japan.

• There Are Specific Cues For Your Shoes

You may not be aware that it is a polite gesture to remove your shoes before you enter a person’s home when in Japan. However, it may be confusing to know when you should be removing your shoes in various other settings such as restaurants, shrines, and temples. Luckily, there are some cues you should keep a look out for. This includes slippers that are set outside the entrances, which are clear indications that the guests should leave their shoes outside and use the slippers instead. Another clue will include a raised floor at entrances, which is an indication that you need to remove your shoes before you step inside onto these raised surfaces. As a visitor to Japan, you may want to ask the hotel you are staying in or a tour guide for confirmation on the places that you should be removing your shoes.

7 Tips for the Solo Female Traveler

If you are Solo Female Traveler here are 7 useful tips for you:

1. Avoid flights that arrive late at night.

There is nothing more daunting than arriving at a strange city late at night. Very often public transport is irregular and taxis may charge you an arm and a leg.  If you can arrive before noon you have plenty of time to arrange transport to your accommodation in daylight hours.

2. Take advantage of cheap public transport.

Most cities have cheap transport within their city.  If you must take a taxi, try to organize it with your accommodation and ask them how much you should expect to pay.

3. Stay at Youth Hostels or Backpacker Hostels.

The great advantage of Youth Hostels or good backpacker hostels is the opportunity to meet others in safe congenial surroundings, but still remain independent. Very often they arrange group outings or excursions and you have the choice of a single room or a shared room.

4. Mix with the locals.

If you want to experience the real world, go to areas where the locals gather.  Most locals love their sport and great meeting places are football and cricket matches.

5. Unwanted attention.

Many single women encounter this problem. Here are some suggestions:
If you get unwanted attention from men, don’t say you’ll meet them later and try to get rid of them. They will turn up. Say “no” politely and firmly.

Wear a wedding ring and say you’ve got four kids, if anyone asks. If you’re only 23, make it two kids, but the message is the same. Yes, you shouldn’t have to, but sometimes it’s the only way to fend off unwanted advances

6. Situational Alertness

Being alert of one’s surroundings write for the reader is of high importance to determine the threats in advance. This is why people are teaching basic anti-surveillance to students. Offenders and predators may follow their prey for a short time prior to an assault to give the best opportunity of when to attack. With advanced observational skills and alertness, likelihood of seeing an attack or threat is extremely heightened and let a person time to respond. This is also beneficial in evading pick-pockets, opportunistic criminals, muggers and many other risks.  Here is a video that will teach you how to be more aware of your surroundings.

7. Plan routes

Whether you are coming home from a beach, bar or museum, think of the route you will take, you must avoid silent areas, passages or other perceived areas of danger. You must think about using a taxi and assure it is from a trusted company that you trust.

Visit Budapest Without Breaking the Bank

Travelling is something that many of us plan to do “someday”, we all want to see the world.  It’s part of taking life and grasping it with both hands and embracing the adventure.  Are you one of those people with a  bucket list of European cities that seems but a distant dream?

Well, look no further – Budapest will quench your thirst for that Europe dream. Often alluded to as the Paris of the East, this beautiful central Europe city will give you both a taste of old and new travel thrills without denting your pocket as is the case with most European countries.

Here is why you should add Budapest to that wish list of yours.

Budapest Glory

Why Budapest? Many will ask, good Budapest to start with is one of the largest cities in Hungary and also one of the largest European Union cities. Other than size, it is known for its historical and cultural richness, a blend of both archaic and modern charms that has elevated it to a status of one of the traveler’s most coveted destinations in Central Europe. Travel Publications through surveys has ranked Budapest as one of the cheapest holiday getaways (Top 25 Cities of World-Readers’ Choice Award)

Slash that budget in Budapest

Are you a budget traveler? Budapest currency makes it possible to cut that budget when you make payments using the Hungary’s official currency, the forint (FT, HUF). Making payment in the local currency is cheaper compared to using the dollar or EURO since you acquire more money once you change the currency compared to other European destinations. This significantly lowers the cost of accommodation, food (Hungary is praised for its food mastery), site fees, transit costs etc.

Budapest Cheap Thrills

Budapest is a blend of new elegance and old world charm for perfect thrills for travelers of diverse backgrounds looking for a good time. Experience the charm of amazing sites for free and be blown away by the meticulous architecture. Some of the economical delights are; free walking tours, the city parks, metro line 1 (one of Europe oldest underground passages) Kerepesi Cemetery, the house of terror, fisherman bastion, the numerous hot springs across the city make it a spa stop at every turn.

There you go, the currency favors you, the food is great and the sites are breathtaking. No reason not to put Budapest at the top of your must see list.