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recreation in japan

outdoor sports and activities

If you are going to be living and teaching English in Japan then I highly recommend that you take up some form of outside recreational activity. There are many kinds of outdoor sports and activities one can enjoy in Japan. The ones easily available to you will depend on where you are living. Such outdoor activities include, amongst others: golfing, hiking, kayaking, tennis, cycling, rafting, surfing, windsurfing, rock climbing, scuba diving, skiiing, snowboarding, and going to thermal springs, or onsen.

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indoor sports and activities

You can enjoy indoor sports and activities, such as basketball, volleyball, swimming, aerobics, badminton, table-tennis, and weight training and yes, even ice hockey! You can either go to local city run sports centers or join at any of the many fitness clubs located near most big train stations in the city.


japanese culture

To really get the most out of Japan, I recommend studying some aspect of Japanese culture. Studying Japanese will make your daily life here much easier. I highly recommend it from the start. It is a very good investment of time and money. Not knowing Japanese will prove frustrating. Japanese people normally speak very little English (if at all). Knowing at least elementary Japanese will save you both a lot of time and stress. I recommend learning more than just the basics to really get the most out of your stay. There are many Japanese language schools available in major cities. You can also try to find a Japanese person to do language exchange with. You teach them English, and they teach you Japanese in exchange.

Other things Japanese one can study include (amongst others): Japanese flower arrangement, the Japanese tea ceremony, martial arts (such as karate and kendo), Japanese opera (kabuki), calligraphy, Japanese paper folding (origami), Japanese manga (printed comics for all ages), and anime (animated film). You can also watch a movie at a movie theater (Japanese or foreign). American movies are often shown in English with Japanese subtitles (but are sometimes dubbed in Japanese, so you have to check).

Drinking is also an important part of Japanese culture. Coworkers often go out after work and drink together. It is also a form of entertainment. Drinking is done on many occasions, almost anytime something is being celebrated! Examples include hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in the springtime, when the beautiful cherry blossoms on the cherry trees bloom, or at year end parties (bonenkai). From what I've seen, Japanese people love drinking! Trying special Japanese drinks such as sake and ume-shu (plum wine) is an interesting experience. You can go out drinking at one of the many izakaya (Japanese bars), or at western style bars.

Karaoke is also very popular. Karaoke places are all over the place. These places offer rooms to rent, equipped with all the equipment you need, where you can sing with your coworkers or friends in private. Although most songs available to sing are in Japanese, there are usually some English songs as well. Songs from the Beatles and the Carpenters seem to be popular. You can even order food and drinks from the room. A night out can be a trip to the bar, followed by karaoke.

Japanese food offers a huge variety for all tastes. There are rice dishes, seafood dishes, nabe dishes (hot pot dishes), yoshoku dishes (Western food adapted to Japanese tastes), bean dishes, etc.

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