"That was the first time I understood The Power of a Smile. The shopkeeper was an old Japanese with no English speaking skills and I had no clue of the Japanese language either"
'My Japan Trip'
Preparations before the trip that may help you
My Flight experience and First overnight stay inside an Airport
1. I booked Flight Tickets of China Eastern Airlines using Goibibo.com for Rs. 31,000 since it was the least expensive. For a direct flight, booking JAL (Japan Airlines) is the best.
Advice: Booking was done 90 days in advance. If you plan your travel well before your actual date, you may save lots of cash
2. Travel Insurance from policybazar.com for Rs. 1100 for 30 days.
Note: I only use policybazar.com for Travel Insurance, you will find multiple companies on this website selling Travel Insurance, and it's a very user-friendly website. My personnel choice is HDFC ERGO.
3. Accommodation: I did not book any Accommodation since my brother was already working in Japan and I had a place to call my nest in a very expensive country compared to India.
Note: I prefer using AIRBNB for booking my accommodation anywhere I travel
4. Visa: This is were my information may not be of much help to you guys. Since my brother was already living in Japan, he arranged for all my documents.
I went to the VFS Centre of Japan, to submit the fees along with the documents, and was given my Japan Visa within 3 working days.
Japan Visa fees: Rs. 1100
Japan Visa fees: Rs. 1100
Advice: Always mention the actual number of days (and not months) that you will be staying in Japan. I made an error and had to reschedule my flight.
You should always refer to the VFS Japan website for the list of documents before applying for the Visa, as the list gets updated regularly
My Flight Experience...
Before my travel day, people started giving me ugly reviews of China Eastern Airlines and their bad experiences with the staff; in reality, it was completely opposite.
I agree, communicating with a multi-language crew could be a challenge but I didn't face any difficulty on my flights. I myself work with multi-language people, so I respect the differences. My work experience did make me more understanding and I now see the airline staff from a different perspective.
I had a connecting flight from Shanghai, China to Nagoya, Japan.
At Shanghai airport, my flight to Nagoya got delayed by 2 hours because of a hailstorm and I reached Nagoya after 11 at night.
Note: On your flight to Nagoya from Shanghai, you will be served Chinese food. If you do not like Chinese or Japanese food, I would suggest you please pre-book your meal since there won't be any Indian version of the cuisine available onboard.
Also, explaining the airline staff could be tough because of the language barrier.
Spending the entire night at Nagoya Airport
Nagoya Airport gets closed around 10 at night and the last train from the airport to the city center is at 11PM. Since my flight got delayed by 2 hours, the last train had already departed and there was no train service until 5.30 in the morning. So, I had to spend the entire night at the airport along with my brother who had come to receive me.
My brother slept at the Airport since he had his office to attend and was also planning a 'Welcome Party' along with his Japanese colleagues for me the next evening, which I will be covering in Part 2 of 'My Japan Series'.
My brother handed over 1000 yen before dozing off at the airport and I very happily kept on eating Ice Creams the entire night. Even the shopkeeper started to look amazed as I kept going and asking for more cups.
Advice: Even if you don't have a sweet tooth like me, do try out Meiji Ice Creams. I still miss that smell and flavor
That was the first time I understood the power of a smile. The shopkeeper was an old Japanese with no English speaking skills and I had no clue of the Japanese language either. Though I still can't speak above 'Konichiwa' and 'Arigato'.
I used the language of Smile throughout my 30 days stay in Japan.
I went for a walk outside the airport and my first impression was, "Wow, it is so green and clean here".
Next, we boarded the train to 'TSURUMAI STATION' where my brother had lived then. On reaching this home, I got the real taste of what Technology is. Gosh, from the entrance of the building, till his flat on the 10th floor, even the inside of his house was flooded with technology. I started to have memory flashes from the 'Tokyo Drift' movie.
I took a shower using a touchscreen panel and signed off to bed.
Around the afternoon, I received a call from my brother saying, "A 10,000 yen bill and small change is kept next to your bed. Come to my office in 'KARIYA' and explained a few other things.