Posted by Heliocentrism on June 12, 2015
Friday May 1, 2015
It’s summer already?
This day we spent mostly driving from the east coast of Chūgoku to the west coast. It didn’t take all day, it just felt like it did. Japan has a lot of mountains and to get anywhere here, you have to drive around one or two of them at least.
But before we went any wear, we stopped to get some new clothes. Everyone guessed wrong about what the weather would be like on this trip. Mark and I thought this early May weather would bring cold winds. We brought extra blankets, jeans, and long sleeve t-shirts.
The South Africans, living on Kyushu, thought that summer had already started. They packed shorts, light t-shirts, and one light blanket.
We were all wrong. It was hot during the day, making Mark and I miserable, and cold at night freezing Freda and Roland. The only thing to do was to go shopping. Mark and I would get some summer clothes and our friends would get some fleece pajamas. Since there was a Uniqlo nearby – there is nowhere in Japan where there isn’t a Uniqlo nearby – we went there.
Uniqlo is a clothing store much like Old Navy in the states. The clothes are not too expensive and not too flashy. It’s a great place to buy cardigans, jeans, khakis, and t-shirts. (There are a couple Old Navy stores here in Japan, but they are all in the big cities like Tokyo or Kobe.)
A lot of stores in Japan have a distinct feel to it, of who shops there. Like there are some stores that give off a kindergarten teacher vibe, or an adult who still dresses like a 6-year-old vibe. Uniqlo doesn’t have that. It has a more normal person type of vibe.
I’ve gone to Uniqlo with Mark a couple times. He has bought jeans, shirts, and even suit jackets there. I had never looked for anything for myself though. I’m 5’9″ and I am not super skinny, so I never thought I would find anything to fit me. And to be honest, I felt very uncomfortable just being in any clothing store in Japan. In my head. everyone is looking at me wondering what this big hulking foreigner is doing looking at clothes that is clearly too small for her.
And for most stores that would be true. …Not the people judging me, the part about the clothes being clearly too small for me. Uniqlo, it turns out, carries larger sizes. At home in the US, I’m a size L. Here, I’m an XL. Most stores don’t have XL for women, with Uniqlo being one of the few exceptions.
Not only did I find clothes in my size, they were on sale! I even got some summer business shirts for work. Of course all the shirts and blouses are short-sleeved. My arms are too long for winter attire. But, I fit into Unqlo’s summer shirts just fine.
Now, several weeks after this trip, every time Mark or I pass a Uniqlo, we pop in to look through their shirts that are on sale for￥500. UT shirts (Uniqlo T-shirts) go on sale every few weeks.
After getting to Uniqlo and finding most of the stuff we wanted on sale, we bought more stuff than we should have. Then we went to the onsen for showers, put on our new clothes, and headed for the next campsite.
How to get there:
You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.
Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.
- Emergency Numbers:
- Police 110
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Important phone numbers to know while in Japan
- Comfort Woman
- The Commoner
- Empire of the Sun
- Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
- Geisha, a Life
- Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission
- The Last Concubine
- Memoirs of a Geisha
- Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
- Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
- Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan. Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
- InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to askwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
- ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
- The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
- You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)
Hoshikami Star Park
(Hoshikamiyama Star Park)
- Coordinates 35°23’14.5″N 133°07’55.6″E
- For Camping per night:
- 300 Yen per person +
- 510 per tent
- and an additional 300 per night for use of the kitchen
- Bungalow one night basic charge 6500 yen
- 100 per non-timed shower
- Reception: 9:00～18:00
- Check-in 15: 00 ~ Check out 10: 00
- Reservations are needed to stay at this campsite. Call before you go.
- There are many in Japan, throughout Asia, Europe, and a few in North America.
Midtown Tower, Akasaka
9-chome, Minato, Tokyo,Japan
- Moderately priced clothing
- Things go on sale all the time
- There are 500yen ($5) t-shirt shelves.
- about 11:00-21:00 depending on the location
- In the store, sizes for adults start from XS and go to XL.
- If you go online you can get adults sizes up to XXL.
- Japanese sizes are one size up from US sizes.
- If you wear M in the US, you wear L in Japan.
- XS -> S, S -> M, L -> XL and so on…
- This is true for both men and women sizes.
- I don’t know about kids’ clothes.