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Japan Travel Tips – Vending Machines October 19, 2021

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Welcome back to Japan Travel Tips, where we highlight some of the best independently produced videos about the beautiful country of Japan. We’ve touched upon Vending Machines in one of our earliest articles, but I felt we barely skimmed the surface of just how cool and unique Japan’s vending machines are. So sit back and relax because we have found so many great videos about vending machines that we had to devote an entire article to all of them.

First off, I want to re-highlight a video we featured in the previously mentioned article. Produced by the reference-quality channel Only In Japan, this is a great video to provide an introduction to Japan’s vending machines, how they work, and just what makes them so great and unique. Check it out.

Next, I would be remiss to neglect the legendary YouTuber Safiya Nygaard, who spent some time in 2019 traveling through the country. Here’s a video of her trying to find some of the country’s most famous vending machines and giving her thoughts about them.

I know what you’re thinking, “That sounds kinda cool, but just what can these machines do that machines in other countries don’t?” Glad you asked. The YouTube channel DancingBacons does a great no commentary video series where they highlighted some of Japan’s more unique vending machines. Did you know you can order a frozen Coke or Sprite right out of one of a vending machine? Watch and see for yourself.

And to follow up, here’s their look at a pizza vending machine.

Finally I want to highlight the spot that is probably the most famous row of vending machines in the entire world and highlight the original YouTube video that put it on the map. YouTuber Ericsurf6 highlighted this row of vending machines for his series Eric Meal Time. The food options of these machines have to be seen to be believed.

This video was so popular when it was posted it was actually highlighted on a Japanese late night tv show. Apparently I’m not the only person who thinks this is really cool. Here’s the clip.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s look at Japan Travel Tips. Did you like this expanded article on a dedicated subject? Post a comment below with your thoughts. I’ve gone through my archives and looked up several videos that I think could be part of further expanded articles. I don’t know if there will be a new article next week, but stay tuned because Japan Travel Tips will return!

Japan Travel Tips – Where To Learn How to Stay Safe During Natural Disasters October 12, 2021

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Welcome back on this Tuesday for a brand new Japan Travel Tips, where we highlight some of the best independently produced travelogs from across the internet intended to help those interested in visiting Japan. Today, we’re going to get a bit serious, but I can assure you it’s for a safe and practical way. It is a well-known concern that Japan experiences seismic and volcanic activity on a more frequent basis than other regions of the world. Because of that Japanese citizens are instructed by their government in how to best deal with dangerous natural events if it happens to occur by offering access to a fully immersive interactive practice disaster venue. I’m not kidding.

Free safety training is a valuable service made available by the Japanese government and typically can be visited by anyone ranging from tourists to schoolchildren on field trips. YouTuber Akidearest, who we’ve highlighted previously in this series, recently posted this video about her experience. It is something you absolutely should watch if you plan to visit Japan, enjoy.

Hope you liked this video! Stay tuned for next week where we will follow up with something we teased back when this series began. That’s right, we’re finally going to go all out on highlighting how cool Japanese vending machines are!

Japan Travel Tips – Camping in Japan September 21, 2021

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It’s Tuesday so it’s time again for us to share our Japan Travel Tips, an ongoing series where we highlight some of the best independently produced videos to assist people interested in visiting Japan. In the past we’ve talked about sights to see, things to eat, and local customs. Today, we’re going to talk about something gamers don’t typically do, camp. Well, not that kind of camp at least. Camping is a novel activity in today’s day and age, but it has its own charm. The countryside is beautiful and exploring it up close is an experience everyone should have. But, if you are planning to pack up and head out, what can you expect and what should you bring with you? Well, I’ve found two videos which should assist with exactly that.

First off, I wanted to share this video from Life Where I’m From, which produced this well-narrated video of what a camping experience with an entire family can be like in Japan. Seriously this video made me hungry.

Next up we’re going to highlight Tokyo Lens, which did this great documentary about their own experience camping. This guy got himself some modern amenities in the form of a van, so let’s see how he does in it. In actuality, this video is more about what the travel experience is like less than the actual camping experience, but I still felt it was a video worth watching.

Hope you have been enjoying our Japan Travel Tips! Due to the ongoing issues with international travel, we’re going to hold off continuing our weekly posting for the time being. As travel conditions continue to improve worldwide we will be happy to resume our weekly schedule. If there’s anything you’d like to see us write about in the meantime post a comment below!

Japan Travel Tips – How Japan Has Been Affected by the Pandemic September 7, 2021

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I know we haven’t done one of these in a while but it’s Tuesday and that means its time for a new Japan Travel Tips. In this series, I share out some of the best independently produced travelogs I’ve found from all over the web that can assist tourists from all over the world who are interested in visiting Japan.

When we first started Japan Travel Tips, it was to share what we had discovered about a country I badly wanted to visit. Of course, we started the series during a time when the whole world was literally forced to stay home due to a global pandemic, and unfortunately the videos I showcased up to that point did not reference that fact. I’m sure it was because the videos and tips we highlighted were produced before the pandemic, and due to international lockdowns, I’ll bet producing new video content was difficult.

Ellie, a new host at the YouTube Channel Only In Japan, has their full report on what Japan is like right now, not just for tourists but the country’s citizens.

Another concern I’ve been dealing with over the past few months is many of the businesses, venues and shops we’ve highlighted may be facing closure. Hopefully more content will be produced within the next year to keep us updated on the country’s progress.

Japan Travel Tips – What Games To Pick Up July 27, 2021

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It has sure been a while, hasn’t it? Welcome back to Japan Travel Tips, where we highlight some of the best independently produced travelogs for people who may be interested in visiting Japan some day. Today’s article is going to be strictly for the gamers, but hey this is after all a gaming website.

In one of our earlier articles, I mentioned something called region locking, where an electronic entertainment device (like a game console or DVD player) will literally lock-out a piece of content (like a movie or a game) for no other reason than it was manufactured in a different region of the world than the one that the person who wanted to watch it lived in. This is a despicable anti-consumer practice and thankfully over the past few years it has slowly been phased out.

However, while companies like Sony and Microsoft no longer choose to region-lock the majority of games on their modern consoles, Nintendo has traditionally chosen not to. While most of their classic handheld games could play on any region’s handheld for the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS generations, Nintendo would not allow DSi or 3DS handhelds play games from other regions. When I posted about Pokémon Centers, I warned tourists not to consider picking up any video games or game consoles from them, as I didn’t believe they would play on alternate regions. Then, a friend of mine sent me these pictures from games he has just imported from Japan.

It turns out the Nintendo Switch does NOT region lock, and Japan has some exclusive retail games you can’t get in the US. As a penance, I have decided to post an update in the affected article and wrote this new article. So let’s get started, shall we?

While shopping in Japan, it’s always a good rule to ask yourself, what game do you see on a shelf would you expect to import? More importantly, what can’t you get in your region that you can find in Japan? YouTuber MetalJesusRocks, who has a great channel where he discusses classic and modern video games, answered that question for me. Give it a watch!

Dragon Quest Day – Dragon Quest Island June 29, 2021

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Hope you’ve been enjoying Dragon Quest Day here on the site. Up until this point we’ve been looking at this franchise from a historical perspective, a fan’s perspective, and a technical perspective. Now, we’re going to be bringing Dragon Quest into the real world.

Right now, as I type this, Japan has opened its own Dragon Quest Island. In it, guests can enter the world of Dragon Quest and participate in a whole bunch of fun activities in the real world. The environment, the characters, and the enemies have been meticulously replicated from their 3D counterparts, and now we can explore it on our own.

YouTuber Kelsea Dyer was able to check out Dragon Quest Island and recorded some of her experience in glorious 4K for all of us to see. If you aren’t familiar with her work, she visits limited time pop-up cafes and other uniquely Japanese experiences. Her channel is a great reference for all the cool stuff Japan has done over the years. She isn’t able to show the entire experience, just some of what the environment looks like and some of the quest she went on. Still, this video could bring some long-time fans to tears.

A few years ago, my fiancée and I got to play the game Magiquest at Great Wolf Lodge, and this looks like what you would get if you took the technology from that game and cranked it up a million times.

Dragon Quest Island is located at Nijigen no Mori on Awaji Island. You can visit their official website here. Sadly I couldn’t find an English language option for the site. Fortunately, Kelsey revealed there is an English language option for the experience.

Hope you’ve enjoyed Dragon Quest Day here at GameXcess.net! I’m going to be honest with you all, I intended to feature this in a future Japan Travel Tips article, but when I discovered just how awesome the Dragon Quest franchise is, I felt this one exhibition merited a whole day to this video. Stay tuned as we could do this again some other time, and I’m sure more Dragon Quest news could be on the horizon.

Japan Travel Tips – Japan’s Museums June 8, 2021

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It’s Tuesday, it’s time for a new look at Japan Travel Tips. In this series, which has been going strong for several weeks now, we highlight some of our favorite independent videos from across the internet dedicated to helping out people interested in visiting Japan some day. Today, we’ll be highlighting some of the coolest, unusual and most important museums Japan has to offer.

First off, and following up from last week’s travel tips, let’s talk about Cup Noodles. Not just a food for hungry gamers who can’t cook, Nissin’s Cup Noodles has always been a staple of Japan’s grocery stores. It is a quick and easy way to eat while on the go, and you can find it for sale pretty much everywhere. Well, if you are a fan of it and want to see more, DancingBacons made a trip to the source of Cup Noodles, and got to make their own! Check it out:

Cup Noodles Factory is located at 2 Chome-3-4 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001, Japan. Check out their website.

Next up, we are looking more artistically. Undoubtably the work of Studio Ghibli and their Master Director Hayao Miyazaki has had a profound effect on animation today. He is responsible for such films as The Cat Returns, The Wind Rises, Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro. Now, following what I think is at least his third retirement, a Studio Ghibli museum has been opened featuring his artwork and giving exclusive access to the last short film the master director has worked on. There have been a few videos made over the years about the museum, but we decided to highlight one of the first, produced by the YouTube Channel Always, Ros.

The Ghibli Museum is located at 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013, Japan. You can also check out their official website. If you happen to be a subscriber to HBO MAX, you’ll be able to watch most of the movies from Studio Ghibli, as well as some documentaries. I honestly recommend checking out the documentary Never-Ending Man.

This next one…we will need to be in the right mindset for. In fact, I wouldn’t blame you if you skipped it entirely. A year ago, a YouTube reviewer who calls himself Bennett The Sage did a review of one of the most heartbreaking anime of all time, Barefoot Gen. Created by a man who survived the atomic bomb attack on Japan, the anime focused on how life went on after such an event.

Following his review, Sage mentioned his visit to the Hiroshima Peace Museum, which was built to honor those who were lost in the event, and to remind the world of what had happened. I can’t think of a better video to highlight it.

The Hiroshima Museum is located at 1-2 Nakajima-chō, Naka-ku, Hiroshima, Japan. Barefoot Gen is currently available on the RetroCrush service.

This article ended on a difficult note, but still an important one that we felt needed to be addressed. We’re taking a break for next week, but we will be back after that with a new article. Stay safe out there. If you feel we haven’t highlighted a museum you feel we should, comment below with one and we may feature it in a future article!

Japan Travel Tips – Ramen June 1, 2021

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It’s Tuesday, and that means a new list of Japan Travel Tips, where I share with you some of the best independently produced travelogs about the country. We have already shared with you tips on how and what to eat while in the nation, but we intentionally left out one of the most recognizable foods in Japan, Ramen. Grab a bib and get ready to slurp!

Every region in Japan will have its own take on the popular food. First off, I’m going to highlight the work of Abroad in Japan, who produced this incredible video on the city known as Japan’s Ramen Capital, Fukuoka! Not only does he take a look at the food, but also some of the coolest sights to see in the city. Fukuoka is known for its creamy Pork bone broth, which is a staple of their noodle soup. Honestly, my words cannot do it justice, you’ll have to see it for yourself.

If you like different ingredients in your Ramen, don’t worry there are different options all over the country. Next up I have to highlight the work of Only in Japan. Seriously, this guy’s channel has been an invaluable reference for this series. Only in Japan has taken a closer look at some of the kind of Ramen you’d find in back alleys and side streets. Here’s a look at a place famous for their Ramen Alley, Sapporo.

Not enough Only in Japan for you guys? If that hasn’t made your stomach growl, in this next video he takes a look at the Ramen in Kyoto.

If you want to see more, he’s also taken closer looks at the Ramen in Hokkaido and Fukuoka.

I’m sure you’re wondering, “What if I want something SPICY, can I get that in Japan?” Yes, you totally can! I want to highlight the work of Mark Weins, who has a love for traveling for food and all things spicy. Watch his expression trying out Devil Level Ramen while at an outdoor market.

Finally I wanted to share some real fire with you all. Apparently, the Devil Level is not the hottest Ramen you can get in Japan, there is a Ramen shop that will actually use real fire. The YouTube channel Twosome Travellers actually got to try it. I’m not kidding, you have to see it to believe it.

Things to Know:

  • Ramen is popular and Ramen Shops can be small. Expect a line, especially during lunch hour. Also a good idea to pay and leave as soon as you finish your bowl.
  • Menus will likely be in Japanese. If you don’t speak the language you can either point at a picture of what you want or use a translator app on your smartphone.
  • Always try the broth first with the provided spoon.
  • Slurping is allowed and encouraged especially if it is good.
  • Super Spicy Ramen could cost extra.
  • Do not ask for your Ramen to go.
  • Dispose of your leftovers in the designated bins.

That about wraps up our tour of some of the best Ramen options from all over Japan. Next week, we’re going to take a pause with our discussion of food and instead talk about some of the most unique museums you could visit in Japan.

Japan Travel Tips – Staying at a Japanese Hot Springs Resort May 25, 2021

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Welcome back to our look at Japan Travel Tips, where we share the research we’ve done for those interested in traveling abroad! Over the past few weeks we’ve shared great tips for food, transportation, shopping and entertainment, but we’ve barely scratched the surface for everything Japan has to offer! In fact, the purpose of this week’s article is to expand upon something we touched upon in one of the first articles in this series, a type of hotel accommodations in Japan that is truly Japanese, the Ryokan.

You’ve had a long and difficult year. You deserve a weekend with your family at a beautiful natural hot spring hotel. There, you can relax in the hot bath and all your meals are prepared. That’s the Japanese mentality behind staying at an Onsen, or Ryokan. Typically, a Ryokan is a destination resort. They are built in beautiful mountainous areas with natural geothermal activity. The natural heat from the earth can be used to warm the hotel’s bath water, and provide a perfect place for groups to stay.

If you’d like to know more about the ins and outs of a Ryokan, its history, and how it works from the perspective of a guest, I’ll let Life Where I’m From take it from here.

So what goes into the food? One of the big reveals about a Ryokan that made my father interested in traveling was learning that the food served was all locally obtained and prepared. Typically, Ryokans are located near major harbors which can provide a constant supply of fresh fish, but even if you aren’t a fan of fish they will still find ways to accommodate you. Here’s a video specifically dedicated to the food courtesy of Only in Japan.

So, what if you aren’t traveling with a full family and are just traveling with a significant other? A Ryoken can accommodate you both. Here’s what the experience was like for a married couple who run the channel Flying the Nest.

Hope you enjoyed this look at the Ryokan. Stay tuned for next week, because we are FINALLY going to be talking about Ramen!

Japan Travel Tips – Real Life Shenmue May 18, 2021

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It’s Tuesday, welcome back to a new Japan Travel Tips! For the past few weeks we’ve gotten into some of the biggest sights in Japan for gamers to see, and today that will continue! This is, after all, a gaming site. Let me take you back to the year 2000.

In 2000, SEGA released one of the most fondly-remembered cult classic games on the Dreamcast, Shenmue. The game was unlike any other release of its time, as while its story was a simple one, it presented the player an environment they could fully explore with a full day and night cycle. Today, that kind of concept is considered common but for its time it was revolutionary.

Most people recognize the original Shenmue as a work of fiction, meant to take place in the mid-1980s. However, few may recognize that while the game’s story is fiction, the game’s environment is not. The first game takes place in a real street in Japan, Dobuita, and recreated as it appeared in the 1980s. It is located in Yokosuka City in Kanagwawa Prefecture. Even in the year 2021 the street still has its earlier charm. It served as a shopping location for American Navy sailors, and claims to be the original source of the famous sukajan jacket. To Shenmue fans, traveling to Dobuita Street is a rite of passage just as fans of the Beatles are drawn to cross the famous Abby Road. Today, we’re going to be taking a closer look at several videos about gamers who took that very rite.

Here’s a great introduction video produced by RadioSEGA!

A plus to making this particular article is that since the release of Shenmue I&II HD, SEGA has produced several english-language documentaries about the area and its inspiration behind the game. Next up, I’m going to highlight an official video SEGA produced around the game of Shenmue 1&2 HD’s release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Hosted by Shenmue superfan Adam Koralik, this video shows the real-world Dobuita Street.

Next up, I want to highlight one of the most sincere videos I’ve ever watched on the internet. The late Roger Swan was a pioneer of YouTube, and as far as I can tell was one of the very first people I could find on the internet who visited Dobuita Street to document it and compare it to the game. Here is his video about his experience visiting in 2010.

Rest In Peace, Mr Swan.

Next, you’ll be happy to know that the street is absolutely beautiful in the winter time. While it may only snow in the game when your Dreamcast clock is set to December 25th, here’s a great video from Phantom River Stone about what it looks like when it snows in the real world.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this nostalgic look into the past, and were excited to see how the real world can inspire games. Next week, we’re going to take a step backwards and expand further on something we touched on a few weeks earlier. When discussing places to stay during our Hotel article, we mentioned the uniquely Japanese Ryokan, or hot springs resort. Next week, we are going to take a MUCH closer look at them!

Shenmue is out now for the Sega Dreamcast. Shenmue I&II HD is out now for PC, Xbox One and PS4.