Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to Japan: Part 2
One thing that was really hard for me to get used to when I came to Japan was that people aren't afraid to sit alone in a restaurant. Japan has restaurants, like ramen or sushi places, that are designed for people alone to eat at but what I saw was that people aren't afraid to eat out alone. This was nice for me when I came to Japan because I couldn't always get food with my friends and it helped me learn to be ok with doing that. Eating a lone is not common in the US so it was nice for me to learn how to be alone.
People in Japan are constantly nicely dressed. I found it very rare to see someone in sweat pants or sweatshirts. Most of the time people wear jeans and t-shirts as the most casual outfit they have. I was really glad I had packed a lot of nice summer dresses and nice shirts to make my outfits look more dressy. So when packing for Japan keep that in mind.
The weather in Japan is polar opposites between the seasons. Summer is extremely hot and humid while the winter is really cold and windy. I went to Japan for the spring semester which started in March and I was not expecting it to be as cold as it was. I came so unprepared. I packed for Japan's hot summers, which I had already experienced, and didn't bring a coat. I ended up buying a coat there, so I would recommend bringing a light weight coat with you like the Uniqlo ones that fold up into a bag.
It's not hard to find american or foreign food while in Japan because it is becoming more popular, but it might a bit expensive. I found that it was always really good and easier to find then the ingredients to make it. I was really sad I could never find good Mexican food or Thai food while I was there for the semester. I hope by the time I go back I'll be able to find some.
Gift giving is a big part of Japanese culture, when you travel places in Japan you usually bring gifts back for your friends or work colleagues. So when you come to Japan for a homestay or for studying abroad I would bring some little gifts with you for the family or people who help you. I usually bring coffee, maple syrup, honey or jam with me. I know those are heavy things but it'll leave you room for gifts to bring home and they're all things you can't easily get in Japan. Also items specific to where you are from is nice to bring, things that can create conversation are nice.
I hope all of these were helpful and keep an eye out for more tips and advice before going to Japan.