What I’ve learned from this trip:

Food in Japan is great, and has spoiled me forever.

The US needs to take a page out of the Japanese book about how to be nice to foreigners. I did not encounter a single Japanese person who was not nice to us.

The Japanese culture overall is one based on politeness, for the reason of - there’s a lot of people, in a small space. veryone needs to be nice to each other, or else they’d drive each other nuts.

Japan needs to learn how to integrate foreigners better - every single time Leon spoke som e Japanese (which he picked up a lot in the time we were here), he got an almost astonished look. That’s because they are completely surprised that someone could understand their language or their culture. As it turns out, while they are very nice to visitors, if living in Japan, it’s very hard to get anywhere as a non-Japanese person.

Plan out your day, and stick to it - it’s hard to get around here sometimes without really good maps.

Make sure you have an up to date guidebook - the Lonely Planet guide for Tokyo was way too old, though the Japan book was reasonably accurate.

Japan is a beautiful country, but the Mountains make everyone live in small areas.

The Japan Rail Pass is definitely worth it if you take the Shinkansen at least once. You NEED to use JR all the time. We didn’t use the subway nearly as much as I thought, and even when we did, it was cheap.

There are a LOT of people in Japan. It was a huge sea of people leaving each train at the JR station.

There’s a dollar store everywhere in the world.

Don Quijote is the place to buy ANYTHING in a pinch.

Tokyo is not as advanced as everyone thinks - they’re a little ahead of things, but not so out-there any more.

It’s nice to have trains which tell you how long to each destination, and make it there at that time.

Japan loves little musical jingles to go before any announcement. The trains are the best.

There are vending machines EVERYWHERE.

I intend on going back, not sure where to go next time.