For those interested in studying abroad, I thought that it might be a good idea to give you some tips on how to pack for your exciting trip overseas. If you’ve traveled abroad extensively, or if you’ve studied abroad before, maybe this post won’t be so useful, but if it’s your first time keep reading!
Obviously you need to bring clothing. You want to pack somewhat lightly, but you also want to pack what you need. In my case I packed three types of clothing: the clothes that I tend to wear again and again, the clothes that I haven’t worn in a long time, and clothing that is easy to mix and match and pair with other things. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you. I chose clothing that I tend to wear again and again because I knew that I would wear it a lot while overseas. I reached all the way into the back of my closet and dusted off some clothing that I haven’t worn in ages so that when the time comes to leave Japan, I can simply throw those articles away, thus leaving extra room in my bags for the things that I’m bringing back. And I made sure to pack clothing that goes with just about anything so that, even though I only packed a few pieces, I wouldn’t feel like I was wearing the same thing again and again.
Of course Japan has shopping as well, so you can always pack super light and buy a new wardrobe while you’re out here! And clothing prices vary. There are high-end boutiques which can be quite expensive, ‘foreign brands’ such as H&M and Forever 21, and even thrift shops, so how much you spend on clothing all depends on you!
But. . . . .shopping may be more difficult for some than others. Specifically if you are rather tall or if you are plus sized. In my case I’m very tall, so pants and long sleeved shirts were out of the question. (Although somehow I was able to find a pair of harem pants that fit!) To my surprise, maxi dresses and over-sized clothing are popular right now in Japan, so I was able to stock up on some dresses, skirts, jackets, hoodies and sweaters. If you’re a taller or bigger person, I suggest shopping at American stores, or looking for clothes labeled one size or free size (they tend to fit everyone). Also, if you are a lady or gentleman with big feet. . . . .forget about it. Women’s shoes stop at 8 and men’s shoes stop at around 10 (I believe). So stock up on shoes! I brought sneakers, flats, boots, flip-flops, slippers, and heels. Just a little something for every occasion. I also suggest that you brings a pair of hiking shoes in case you plan to climb Mt Fuji like I did (the shoes get ruined by the terrain, for the record) and rain boots for the rainy season. I also suggest that you bring clothing that is easy to transition from one season to another, or clothing that can be layered.
You may also wish to bring your own toiletries. For towels and toilet paper, you can find that here pretty cheaply, but if you prefer to have a specific brand of toothpaste, bring it with you. And while your at it, throw in some deodorant, if you want to stick with the roll-on kind. The only DO that I’ve found out here is the spray on kind, and it’s just not to my liking. And ladies (guys. . now is the time to look away) bring your feminine products. You may have issues finding certain products because this society is a ‘one size fits all’ type of place, so there isn’t much variety in the ladies department.
(Guys, you can come back now)
Umbrellas, notebooks, paper, and cleaning supplies can be found at the hyaku yen ($1 store) out here so no need to weight down your bag with that extra stuff, and Japan has some good makeup as well, so ladies, maybe bring some eyeliner and mascara to start, the rest you can find out here cheaply!
I wrote about this on the ‘Dealing with Distance’ post, but bring some of your favorite snacks, the kind that you cannot live without! Japan has some pretty tasty snacks, but sometimes it just doesn’t do it! And if you have any specific hair, body wash, or lotions that you simply cannot live without, bring them along for the ride as well!
Another thing that I did (which may seem kind of weird) is I brought all of my holey socks, and bought some cheap underwear from Walmart. Why you ask? So that when my time in Japan comes to an end I can throw them out, creating even more space in my bag for all of the goodies that I’m bringing back!!!
OK, now you should be ready for your trip!! I can’t really think of anything else, so I hope that this was helpful! Until next time!!