Newbies on the JET Programme usually come to Japan with a number of expectation. Some want to be the next big thing in English teaching, others want to confirm their deep held notions about Japanese culture, while a few just want to “find themselves.” Either way, let me tell you Japan has a lot to offer, so please do NOT waste your time here.
With that said, here are 30 shenanigans, adventures, experiences and haphazard disasters I recommend for you to try during your tenure in Japan!
1. Drink sake with the governor of Nara prefecture.2. Watch a mountain burn for a holy festival.3. Eat ALL the sushi.4. Freak the LITERAL HELL OUT about the size of spiders.
5. Fight naked against 10,000 naked men for “nice smelling” holy sticks – Hadaka Matsuri.
6. Go see sculptures and pig out on snow crab at Sapporo’s Yuki Matsuri.
7. Do JET community events like halloween hikes with local people.
8. Pay a visit to Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant…and leave forever changed!
9. Get lost in the Grand Fushimi Inari Shrine.
10. Visit the many amazing castles of Japan.
11. Go to a Pokemon Center and catch them all. 12. Go snowboarding in Nagano…in March!13. Try sake from every prefecture in Japan at Hiroshima’s Sake Matsuri!14. In fact, just go to Hiroshima! See the Peace Museum, see Miyajima Island, and respect the city!
15. Go to Tokyo’s Comiket convention and party with the cosplayers!
16. Help a Japanese neighborhood carry a 2 ton shrine up the stairs of a monastery – Hasedera Matsuri. 17. Go to Korea…seriously, it costs, like, $USD 80.
18. Compete in a mountain marathon-relay race against monks! 19. If you’re American, celebrate Thanksgiving with US diplomats in style.
20. Better yet, celebrate 4th of July at a national frisbee tournament with tons of different nationalities!21. Celebrate the first shrine visit (Hatsumode) of the new year at Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu!22. Visit Universal Studios Japan and have a butterbeer in Harry Potter World. 23. Visit the Tottori Sand Dunes; check out the sand sculptures, go sandboarding, and pet a camel. 24. Get locked down in your house for 3 days during a typhoon and realize that mother nature is a b!@#. 25. Go to Osaka and experience the gritty, yet beautiful capital of Kansai.
26. Visit Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion, Bamboo forest and go drink on river.
27. Travel to Thailand and jump over flaming ropes at Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party.28. Go to Mie’s Iga Ninja Village and live like a ninja for a day. 29. Swank up for a boat party on the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa. 30. Finally, head to Kansai and hit up a Why Not?! party…for the sheer novelty of seeing Gaijin fail at flirting.
With that, you have seen my suggestion for a bucket list of shenanigans and good times. Even if you don’t do any of these things there are a thousand and one different ways to experience Japan and always remember the one rule of JET; “remove no from your vocabulary.”
Have a great time in Japan.
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