Packing for a trip is generally very easy for me, just pack the necessary clothes plus my laptop/tablet, phone and camera. All of my trips thus far have been relatively short, or the weather was pretty constant and therefore packing was very simple. This time around I am heading to Kyoto, Japan where they have all 4 beautiful seasons; I hear it is similar to North Carolina’s weather so it shouldn’t be too bad, but packing is a different story. In addition to the difference in climate, there’s the culture too; Japan being quite unique. Thus, I researched what I needed to bring; I already spent the past couple weeks researching other cultural differences, save that for another time.
As with anything unknown to me, I started to research on the Internet. I started with YouTube J-vloggers; I spent days watching videos on random topics related and unrelated to packing for Japan. After realizing that I spent too much time on YouTube and that I had an incomplete packing list, I resorted to a simple Google search. I do not know why I didn’t start with Google like I always do.
Anyways, below are the most important and common items that I came across and a brief explanation as to why people included/mentioned them on their lists/videos:
- Deodorant – it is not common to wear, and the only available products are spray
- Shampoo – medicated kinds like for dandruff are unavailable
- Cologne – not part of the culture nor sold in stores
- Rice cooker – even used ones being sold are more expensive than those in America
- Can opener – apparently can’t be found easily
- Spices – bring favorites as not all are available in stores, even import stores
- Presents – for teacher colleagues at schools as it is a custom, typically edibles like candy
- Hand Towel / Hand Sanitizer / Tissues – for public restroom use
- Bug spray – expensive
- Apparel and Footwear – larger sizes are unavailable, if you’re larger than an average asian then prepare; keep in mind the culture too, like switching into other shoes/slippers entering buildings
You may be thinking, “EWWW they don’t use deodorant?!” Yeah, it’s true. I heard that the Japanese only started selling spray deodorants not too long ago. I haven’t heard any complaints about distinct body odors though; the way I think of it is it can’t get worse than the summer evening rush hour in NYC on the 4 / 5 trains from Grand Central to 14th St Union Square!
Anyways, in the end I packed everything above except the can opener. I kind of forgot about it and did not bother because I’m sure I can find one! Hopefully…
Might do a part two to this post in the future if there’s a need!
Feel free to comment if you have questions or concerns or just email me at email@example.com! Don’t forget to subscribe for further info; won’t just pertain to Japan! My next post may be about some magical world… 🙂