View Full Version : ESSENTIAL items to bring from home when staying in Japan 3+
2003-01-20, 12:01 AM
I have a week before departure, and I'm pretty well packed up. But just like when I backpacked through europe for 4 months I always forget somthing. Would be curious what others who have made the trip would consider "hindsight" and recommend/suggest to a new comer to bring along.
Someone said the toothpaste tastes like it has suger in it! Should I bring my own colgate? What about other normal items like that? I'm a guy BTW, so I'm not bringing a special bag just dedicated to hair products :)
2003-01-20, 06:43 AM
What?? No bag special for hair products? No bag dedicated to face washing? And then another for make-up? Wow, I wish I was a guy!
I have the same problem! For three months in Europe I had no pajamas. When I studied in Japan I didn't bring a towel. They told me all linens would be provided...I guess I asumed too much. As far as items you may have trouble finding...
It is hard to find toothpaste with flouride in it, and I wouldn't be surprised if Japanese toothpaste did have sugar in it. The floride thing is a new idea in Japan and unless you can read the knaji for flouride I'd plan on bringing a big tube. Same goes for deoderant. They don't have antipersperants here in Japan. Slippers are a handy thing to pack too.
You didn't specify if this was for a holiday or for living/working... that can make a big difference in what you should pack. If you're a large gaijin you may want to stock up on clothing, shoes and socks.
Also where are you from? This also affects the things that you'll be longing for. A lot of brits complain about how hard it is to find baked beans. Do you like to cook? If so you might find brining along some spices, curry, basil that sort of thing. Really it just depends on what you need to keep you going.
Bring deodorant. The stuff here costs $12 bucks Can and it`s useless.
2003-01-20, 10:05 AM
Don't bother with spices, they are all available here, in supermarkets, specialist shops/ ethnic shops that reside in large department stores.
Anti-perspirant deodorant is about 500\ a bottle.
Towels and the like are easily found.
Shoes/ underwear/ L-S shirts are recommended if you are here for a while, though you can get from Lands'end. Good outdoor clothes/ rainwear, and sports shoes.
2003-01-20, 11:52 AM
Yah I am here for work. Im 6' 180 lbs, im bringing half a months supply of socks and undershirts from walmart to last me :) Is doing laundry expensive either?
I only have 3 pairs of shoes too, business shoes, clubbing/night shoes, and then a pair of walking/running shoes.
Can you buy real ketchup, and/or macaroni and cheese?
2003-01-20, 12:31 PM
you would be frankly amazed at how freely people will talk to a coin-operated-clown....
One thing my male foreign customers sometimes divulge to me is that they find Japanese prophylactics too small to accommodate them, and thus liable to split.
The COC, who anyway has no lower portions, has tended to regard this as a childishly simple essay in (implausible) self-aggrandizement, and to laugh the harder than he otherwise would. Still, unwanted pregnancy is no laughing matter, however shiny the coin, nor yet is a dose of the nasty.
You can by Heinz ketchup anywhere, and Kraft Macaroni 'n' cheese.
<no notes, please: I only take coins>
2003-01-20, 01:37 PM
I would recommend bringing alot of pants, sweaters. and dress shirts. You are tall and it would be very difficult for you to find pants and shirts long enough for you. As for personal care products (shampoo, lotions, soap) most you can find here. It is difficult to get deodorant so bring alot with you. Also bring medicine with you. The Japanese equivalent sucks big time. (based on weight therefore strength isn't strong enough)
If you can't stand the cold bring long johns with you. The ones here aren't very warm and they will be too small for you.
Where exactly will you be located in Japan?
2003-01-20, 07:20 PM
I'll be in Tokyo, in the Shinjuku area, have an apartment allready setup there for me. I'm from Canada so unless it hits double digit negative celcius temperatures, I'll be fine in my shorts and t shirt :)
I'm bringing two suits, so that should hopefully last me, along with all my dress shirts as well
2003-01-20, 09:10 PM
Bring slippers for sure. I got a great pair of those suede ones with wool inside. Best Christmas present ever. I wear them all the time at home and bring them along when visiting friends. You need to bring more shoes especially if your a size 10 and a half and up. Yea, you can find sizes sometimes (took me a year to find a 10.5) but they weren't cheap. Plus, the fact that your going to be working in a company, it will get hot and your feet will sweat and once your only pair of dress shoes get stinky...you're screwed. Get to Aldo and pick up a couple of pairs you can wear to work, clubbing and with jeans.
Also, deodorant! Lots of it. All they have for guys is the ozone-unfriendly spray stuff that works for maybe a half hour and costs about 8 to 10 bucks CDN. I have never seen a stick for guys in a regular supermarket or drug store.
What else........Neocitran, Tylenol, Contac-C, Pepto-Bismal, Stuff like that for colds, flu, headaches, sore throats etc. The stuff from home works better, cheap and you know what works and what doesn't.
Bring some books with you or send them by boat. Expensive for paperbacks here.
Anything else you think about after, get your family to ship it by boat to Japan. Takes about 6 weeks or so and cheap.
Good Luck, J
2003-01-20, 09:35 PM
Thanks for the tips!
I think I'll have to invest in a few more pairs of shoes
Man im gonna have to get a bigger suitcase too heh
2003-01-20, 11:47 PM
Good thread this.
I've got one suggestion. Some people, including me, recommend books on tape in your native accent. Great for chilling out and company when your cleaning your 6-jo palace. I find it hard to relax with Japanese TV. It's really in-yer-face-shouty stuff, which is fantastic if your up for it.
On the other hand, some people think that listening to tapes might generate a siege mentality, and given the living space, it might well. No good for the old culture shock.
Your thoughts sirs, madams?
2003-05-12, 10:23 PM
Oh, those wonderful little discs!
CDs and DVDs are essential anti-culture-shock items. Being immersed in Japanese is great, but sometimes you just want to sit back and chill with some music or movies in English, instead of settling for what Engrish you can find on Japanese TV.
Rush and the Simpsons have saved my sanity many a time. Gods bless Amazon!
Oh, and if you're larger than average even for a gaijin (like me - 6'3", 220), clothing of all kinds is an absolute necessity.
2003-06-11, 11:06 PM
DVDs - do ___ dvd players play all regions? australians and brits and europeans can't bring videos because we dont use the NTSC system. i have a few US dvds, and videos. but iis it hard (and is it expensive!) to buy a dvd player that plays all regions?
2003-06-13, 01:54 PM
3 months worth of antidepressants.
2003-06-30, 12:33 PM
I live in Tokyo, have done for 3 years....I think books are fairly cheap second hand, there a re at least 2 shops here for that. Deodorant I agree...expensive and usually spray...food is easy if u want to pay a bit more for imported stuff.....i order baked beans!!!!!
For those organic food people try a search for Tengu foods....wicked.
Mail me if u want more advice...have to get off pc before I am fired!!!!
2003-07-16, 03:34 PM
I agree, this is a good thread!
What about for us girls? is there any items in particular that are hard to get a hold of?
Ladies products, shampoo's etc.....
Also, are Tv's and stereos expensive?
2003-07-18, 03:16 PM
About ladies' products...
well, if you like brand name cosmetics like Lancome, Clinique, Estee Lauder...I would buy them in your country before heading here...cuz the prices are about 2x or 3x more. Even with drug store cosmetics like Revlon or L'oreal, you're still looking at paying twice as much. Atleast this is the case from me in Canada. This is the same with perfume. Buy at home!
If you like lipglosses, it's better to get in Japan cuz their's is soooo much better!
Feminine hygiene products..hmm..unless you can read Japanese well, or have a Japanese female friend, I would suggest bringing your own...you know what works best for you and it will save you a lot of hassle having to read all the different "types"...
The hair care products are better in Japan as well as their bodysoap. I'm partial to Kanebo and Shiseido bath products!
Stock up on toothpaste and toothbrushes, I don't really like their toothpaste nor their brushes, even if it's a NA brand..I find the bristles too hard!
I could go on forever talking about these things cuz I'm such a girl...but I'll stop now, for all you bored people!
2003-07-20, 12:14 AM
2003-08-12, 08:16 AM
Hair: i like kanebo and hanaoh. there are 2 hairtypes ^_^ shittori for oily or thick and sarasara for fine hair (i bought for the wrong type once and my hair was not happy). be careful with home coloring kits. japanese hair takes to chemicals less, so the home products tend to be a lot stronger than their US counterparts! they have great stuff for lightening/coloring black hair. regardless, be sure to do the little hair test with hair from your brush, to see how long you should keep it in your hair without frying it.
make-up: if you don't have sensitive skin (bring a brand you already use if you do have sensitive skin) or like to try out new stuff, there are lots of cheap little japanese makeup kits and eyeshadow compacts. i love the lipgloss and creme and glitter eyeshadows. revlon and Covergirl aren't cheap as they are in the states. for those with oily skins the 300-500 yen blot papers rock! and are just as good as the Shiseido ones that sell for $12 a pack in the states.
feminine stuff: bring from home, until you can read enough to buy from japan. go with what you already know (in agreeance with Canadian)
bras: they run a cup smaller than the US. so if you are a C-cup or plus, bring some from home or pay a little more for the larger bras. also if you past a certain centimeter point it may be difficult regardless of cup size.
2003-08-12, 10:17 AM
NO Vicks inhalers
Customs WILL take them and grill you about why you brought them. They took all mine and I wasted 30 minutes explaining I have hay fever to them at Narita.
2003-08-12, 10:52 AM
you took viagra for hayfever? yeah right.
never had any problems birning medication on my travels. if you have a large quantity you need a note from your doctor - this is standard in ALL countries customs.
my question is about shoes in japan, i'm a size 8.5 UK/Aus i'm hoping this means that all the good shoes will be aailable for me cos most japanese girls will want the smaller sizes. or does it just mean i have ot go shoeless?
also make up - i use a body shop foundation - very pale - should i pack my own?
oh and definitely pack your own undies!! the japanese have tiny asses apparently.
2003-08-12, 03:50 PM
I also have very pale skin so I have a stack of foundationprepared for my trip, especially as my skin colour is hard enough to get pale enough for over here (U.K).
It's very likely that the foundation shades are not quite right for you (undertones will be wrong).
There are Body Shop branches apparently in the larger cities but they are more expensive.
2003-08-12, 05:02 PM
Calamine lotion (really helps if you get eaten by mosquitoes and you can't buy it here), Blue tak (never seen it here), Bring some magazines if you have room, you can buy them over here but they are about US$12 or more.
It's not really worth bringing a few US dvd's if you have to buy a region-free player just for that. Not unless you want one anyway. They do have a couple of divx compatible players. You might consider divx converting your DVD's which would give you some freedom in how you want to watch them. This is not the place for debate on regional encoding etc etc, but it sure does get in your way when you want to bring a few videos with you.
Customs WILL take them and grill you"
I would _hate_ to be grilled by a customs agent who'd just taken viagra. Specially with the amount of pent-up stress those guys have.
2003-08-15, 11:59 PM
I'm considering teaching English in Japan through NOVA, you heard anything about them?
What would you recommend to bring, being a girl i don't mind long lists!
From what I gather, you should bring plenty of resumes so you can apply for another job once you arrive! Good luck!
2003-11-11, 09:58 PM
Bring a load of high grade skunk..orange bud if ye can...The spliff here is cack!