My friends who run a fan website (w-inds. worldwide) for Japanese musical group w-inds. wrote a post with a survey for those of us who were in Japan during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami back in March, earlier this year.
Their post is regarding tourism in Japan and how it has been affected since the disaster. w-inds. worldwide wants to help out by spreading awareness about the issue (declining tourism) and to inform people that Japan is still a safe country to travel to. I want to help them with this task.
I filled out the survey, and I would like to share my responses with you all. Below the Word of the Day is a link to their website, followed by the survey with my responses.
Also, for those of you who haven't yet come to Japan, please fill out the second survey on their website. It'll help out with their project. Thank you!
Word of the day: アンケート "anke-to", which means "questionnaire" or "survey."
Why did you decide to come to Japan?: It has always been a dream of mine. Since I was a kid, I've been interested in Japanese culture, from history to modern society. Currently, I am here teaching English while improving my Japanese language ability. One of my goals while I am here is to further my skills in Japanese.
How long did you stay?: I have been here for about 15 and a half months straight. I haven't left the country, even during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
What did you enjoy the most about your time in Japan?: I am enjoying my lifestyle! I eat delicious food, drive my favorite car, and have a great job. I've made good friends, and I have fun every day. I am enjoying studying the language as well as learning about the differences between my culture and Japanese culture.
What, if anything, would you change about your time in Japan?: Time flies by too fast. As does money. But one can argue that I am making the most of my time here by investing the time and money into having as many experiences in Japan as I can. After all, I can make money when I return home.
Would you come to Japan again in the future?: Of course! Japan has become my other "second home" (so, my third home?). After my job is complete here, I will certainly make a return in the future.
Would you recommend traveling to Japan to a friend?: Absolutely! I recommend it all the time, whether it's to visit me or just to enjoy everything Japan has to offer.
Do you have any travel tips or advice (cheap airfare, hotels) to give to future travelers?: Use as many online resources as you can. While traveling in Japan and booking hotels, I frequently use websites such as Rakuten Travel (http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/) and Hostel World (http://www.hostelworld.com/). The best way to travel long distances in Japan, in my opinion, is the Shinkansen bullet train. Although it is more expensive than highway bus travel, the amount of time saved is priceless, especially for those only visiting for a few weeks.
Additional Comments: I live in Miyagi Prefecture, the prefecture closest to the epicenter of the earthquake (which was off the coast). And I can say that Japan is surely and steadily recovering from the disaster. There has been progress with clearing the tsunami-affected areas of debris, and there are rebuilding/replanting projects in the works. Life in Japan returned to normal just months after the earthquake. There is no reason for tourists to worry about traveling here, even to Miyagi.