20 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad In Japan

As you may or may not know back in 2006 I studied abroad in Japan. Now I’ll be honest there were bad times, times where I just wanted to go home, and I still till this day wish I had not stayed with a host family, but I’ll blog about why that is later.

For now I want to focus on the positive when you leave Japan good or bad you can’t stop talking about it probably because if you are an American especially you can’t really find a country that will make you feel strange, amazing, confused and vulnerable more than this one.

With that said here we go here are my 20 reasons on why you should study abroad in Japan.

1. The sightseeing. This is my photo from Osaka it’s the place where the gods came down.

Osaka Gods

2. You will come away with some amazing friends and some weird ones and you may or may not stay in contact, but you will always remember them when you remember Japan and all the crazy stuff you guys saw and did.

Friends Japan

3. 100 Yen Shops are amazing and you will want to live in it and bring it home with you. 

100-yen_shop

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4. They have the best high tech toilets ever. (Warning: Not all toilets are like this and most public toilets are holes in the ground…I recommend finding the closest McD’s for a Western Style toilet.)

Japanese Toilet

5. They totally respect older buildings no matter how awkward it looks with their skyline. 

SmallBuildingLove

6. There is Ramen everywhere and if you don’t like Ramen by the end of it you’ll love it and no this is nothing like the Top Ramen from the grocery store. 

Ramen Alley Sapporo 

7.  They have crazy amazing festivals like the Snow Festival in Sapporo.

sapporo snow festival

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For realz they got snow sculpture amazingness. 

Snow Festival Sapporo

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One more…

Snow Festival

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8. They are home to Pokemon and about a million other amazing anime type things and yes buses do exist like this over there. 

Pokemon Japan

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9. The temples. Steeped in history you will never find a place more immersed in culture and technology at the same time. 

Golden Temple Kyoto

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10. Your rail pass is a work of art. (Not sure if this is still the design, but it was when I was there)

Japan Rail Pass

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11. This is totally normal and real. A small boat ride from Hiroshima to an Island off the coast and you will be on an Island full of deer with amazing hikes and crazy Monkeys too. 

Deer Island

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12. SUSHI! duh!

 Sushi Japan

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13. Those crazy monkeys. One yes you can get this close. Two be careful in some areas they will rob you and no I’m not joking they have warning signs. 

Monkeys Japan

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14. Shibuya! The fashion district is amazing and if you think Halloween is crazy go during a regular time of the year girls will be all dressed in Lolita fashion and it’s like walking into a really edgy fashion magazine. 

Shibuya Halloween

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15. You will most likely get to go to a Tea Ceremony and wear a sweet ass kimono. 

Kimono

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16. The Castles. This one is Himeji and it was amazing. (Warning: Wear good shoes when at tamples or castles the stairs are usually wood and get really slippery so basically if you have bad shoes and are uncoordinated like me you will fall down…a lot.)

Osaka Castle

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17. They have a sense of humor and the penis has it’s own festival.

Penis Festival

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18. Cat cafes!

cafe-of-cats

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19. You will never go hungry. 

Snack Machines Japan

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Note on the food: when will you ever get to try this many flavors of KitKats?

japanese-desserts-sweets-10

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20. Seeing a guy with a pet penguin on the street is totally normal and in no way will you feel like you belong, but that’s the magic of it because you don’t really have too. 

penguin-japan

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Well I hope if you do study abroad you get way more photos than I did. In 2006 internet access wasn’t as easy over there just yet and neither were digital photos needless to say most of my photos are printed and with my mom in Michigan, but the experience is with me forever and if you are past the point where you can study abroad there just GO! It was an insane experience I will never forget and I doubt you would too.

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17 Photos That Will Inspire You To Travel

1. We all have to follow our dreams…
Don't Stay Fly Away

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The dreams in my head…in everyone head some of us will ignore them, some of us will find new dream and then there are those of us who will wander creating our dreams as we move to the next adventure.

I’m constantly inspired going through photos of travel so I thought why not share some of that inspiration with you. Most of these are pulled from my Travel Pinterest board, but there are a good few from Tumblr as well. I hope you enjoy them all.

2. Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. The places I wish to go. 

Giant Buddha

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3. Glowing Firefly Squids…I have no idea where this is from, but wow. 

Algae Glowing

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4. The most tranquil place I’ve never been. The Forgotten Temple of Lysistrata. Portugal

Forgotten Temple

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5. Cancun!  Xcaret’s underground rivers…I’m going to Cancun I hope I get to see this place. 

Mexican River

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6. Australia’s new Crocosaurus Cove Park. Who wouldn’t want this experience?

Swimming with Gators

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7. Crystal Cave – Svínafellsjökull in Skaftafell, Iceland. I would want to sit there forever. Maybe I will someday ;). 

Icy cave

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8. Chicago in the winter. Tip go while Christmas decorations are up and always remember one does not have to travel far in order to travel . 

Chicago Winter

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9. The Hanging Monastery in China. Terrifying that they built this, but wow what a site. 

Side of the Mountain Buddhist Temple

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10. Victoria Falls. This is nature at it’s finest. 

Victoria Falls

11. Japan. I’ve been here myself, but I need to go back in March when the cherry blossoms bloom. 

Fuji and Cherry Blossons

12. Sometimes a quote inspires us the most.

Happiness is Traveling

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13. The Fushimi Inari Shrine. You can get lost looking at Tori gates all lined up. 

Tori Gates Kyoto

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14. I have no idea where this is, but does it matter?

Italian Streets

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15. Machu Picchu…a dream vacation for sure.

Machu Pichu

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16. Beautiful visual somewhere in Indonesia. 

Gorgeous Beaches

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17. Remember life isn’t meant to be lived in one place. We were born with legs we should use them. 

Travel as Much As You Can

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What To Do? Going To Cancun!

 

Help! I’m having a slight dilemma. So I recently got a travel credit card with United Miles and I need to book my flight to Cancun. Well I decided to just pay for my flight going in because I wanted to be with the group since I wasn’t sure about how to get to the hotel and what not and it was a Red Eye and cheap for about $211.

Now I have over 37,000 miles right now in my United account to use. My question is this:

Do I use part of those miles and get a saver ticket for the way back?

Do I use 30,700 and go back on the flight with all my friends?

Do I use 30,000 and take two flights back via 1st class?

Or should I cut my losses and save the miles for the trip to New Zealand I’m doing next December?

I know that I could have very well used all the miles and done a saver both ways, but this would have lost me a full day and I wouldn’t have come in with everyone else and hell the inbound ticket was cheap. I feel like anyone who might have advice will say Saver and I think I agree with that a Saver ticket would be 17,000 miles and seems like the best deal. I don’t want to pay for the ticket back because I’m trying to save money and recover from tax season at the moment, but hell if any of you have an idea on this then let me know in the comments.

I could seriously use the advice…thanks to anyone who can help.

Also, if you guys know of any good deals for adventure type stuff to do there like scuba or anything please hit me up with a link below because so far no one in my group has really looked into what we will do when we get there…and we’re going in May so it’s coming up fast.

Thanks Guys

The Best Resources For Cheap Travel

This is probably going to turn into it’s own page, but basically I just wanted to list all the travel sites and Bloggers and Vloggers I enjoy visiting, reading and learning from so hopefully some of you find this list as useful as I did and yes I am also subscribed to all of their emails. 🙂

Cheap Flights and Hotel Deals

http://www.airfarewatchdog.com – a fantastic site that will send you notifications on cheap flights to cities you want to visit. It’s an easy sign up process so if your someone who only travels once or twice a year this is a great site for you because you can set alerts for say your trip home or to Florida or whereever you may want to go.

http://www.travelzoo.com – This site’s a given. It’s great and popular and I mainly use it for it’s fantastic list of local deals. I know sites like Groupon and Amazon do those deals as well, but so far Travel Zoo is the only one that has sent me offers I actually like and take.

http://www.getgoing.com – For the adventurer. I love this site because it allows you to pick two destinations of your choice to travel too and then it picks one for you. It’s basically like the Russian Roulette of travel. Do you dare spin the wheel?

WhichBudget.com – Just a fantastic resource site that will help you budget your travel. I haven’t had to use it too much, but it does come recommended by others.

Yapta.com – I’ve known about Yapta for years. If you are sick of your typical travel sites then this is a good option to search for and compare flights.

TripAdvisors.com – I mainly just use this site for the reviews…I find it to have the most accurate of reviews when looking for places to stay.

Email: Expedia Travel Deals (I like to use this during heavy travel time like Christmas when deals are limited)

FlightFox.com – Recent find sent by MyAsmine. It helps you find the cheapest travel by aligning you with a resident travel expert. Probably best for those that don’t like to hunt down deals themselves. It also considers using mileage as well which is nice not a lot of sites will help you plan out trips like that and know how to maximize your miles.

Places To Stay

AirBNB.com – This is a given. If your sick of hotels use this site to find people who are renting out their apartments and homes for short term stays.

CouchSurfing.org – This site is a lifesaver for nomads. You can sign in and create a profile and you can also lend your couch, but be warned your more likely to find a couch to stay on with the more favorable reviews you have and yes people do review you and it goes both ways.

Ski Trips

http://www.liftopia.com – This is a recent find. The Michigan snow lover, Colorado college girl in me loves this one. Basically you put in your location where you want to ski and it finds deals for you I find this perfect for the ski traveler who may not have an amazing 5 mountain pass (Oh! How I miss Colorado) The only warning I have is that be fast in the purchase process because the deals can run out fast especially during the holidays.

Travel Hacking

http://chrisguillebeau.com/ – He was my first Travel Hacker I ever found. Right after I was looking for ways to travel the world I found him.  I find him to be an inspiration for anyone who wants to pursue basically anything in life not just travel which is basically what his site really focuses on.

http://thepointsguy.com/ – This guy is awesome and very very well known. Basically his site is a great resource for people looking for the best travel cards and latest deals to redeem rewards points often used in Travel Hacking.

http://www.travelhackingcartel.com – This is my favorite site. It does charge you, but I find it worth it because it will send you emails and daily alerts for new offers on how to gain more points and or miles from your credit cards and other methods.

http://www.johnnyjet.com/ – Johnny has some of the best blogs I’ve read. He often interviews other people and gives out great advice to others looking to travel hack or just enjoy travel in different ways and means.

http://millionmilesecrets.com/ – This is another site that actually reminds me a lot of The Points Guy site mainly because of the credit card ads, but that’s no big deal. What he offers is another perspective on gaining points and how to travel for basically nothing. Put all these resources together and basically you have the best guides in the business helping you to also travel for cheap or free.

Bonus

http://www.mealsharing.com/ – I just heard of this site, but I love it. If your traveling and looking for a good meal try it out and then let me know how it goes because I haven’t tried it yet, but boy am I looking forward to doing it soon.

For even more travel fun I totally recommend checking out some of these travel vloggers/bloggers.

http://www.youtube.com/user/nayders07 – She’s just ridiculously fun. She doesn’t always travel, but when she does she has a way of capturing the fun that is traveling and I really like that.

http://www.youtube.com/user/intransitTV – I love this guy. PDROP is his other user name he basically sets out to travel the world in different means than ordinary like canoeing down the Mississippi River instead of driving down by it or taking a train across Russia. I can’t wait till his next adventure his zest for different types of travel is inspiring.

http://www.youtube.com/user/soniastravels – Just awesome and quick tips for the novice and sometimes non-novice travel. Hey we can all use a refresher course from time to time.

http://youngadventuress.com/ – She’s got a spunky truth about her that I can relate too. She’s not everyone cup of tea, but here’s the thing I am a female who loves to travel and a lot of what she writes is relateable to the female traveler.

If you know of more you would like to add just leave a comment. I’m going to keep this list updated as I discover new and interesting sites.

Kate In LA: 3 Tips To Enjoy Venice Beach

This is the beginning of a little vlog/journal for me and yes it’s mainly for me. I want to travel more and I want to actually take some video. I always get jealous when I see travel videos and when I was a kid I wanted nothing more than to be on the Travel Channel (obviously that didn’t work out), but thanks to technology and a full time job I’m actually in a spot I can do it on my own so I am.

The video itself is a little shaky and needs some work, but I think with time and practice I could get not bad at it…I hope.

If you have any questions about the video or Venice Beach or anything really just leave a comment below and I’ll check it out.