by Frances Cha via “CNN“
“(CNN) — Japan isn’t a country to which you just show up and wing it.
For foreigners, the language barrier can be intense, the technology overwhelming and the prices terrifying for just about everything other than instant ramen.
The key is preparation.
We’ve taken care a lot of that for you with the tips below, leaving you to puzzle out the fun stuff, like getting out of a karaoke bar with your dignity intact and figuring out how to ask them to hold the katsuobushi at breakfast.
1. Rent a wireless router
Getting a prepaid SIM card with local calling service is difficult in Japan.
It’s better to rent a handy little wireless router, known as “pocket Wi-Fi” in Asia.
This will allow multiple gadgets — smartphone, laptop, tablet, Kindle — to connect at once with un-throttled, unlimited data.
Local calls are then possible via cheap Internet phone services like Skype.
You can rent and return one of these devices easily at the telecom company counters at most airports.
Booking online before the trip brings the price down even lower.
Global Advanced Communications, for example, offers a deal of ¥5,550 ($53) for a seven-day rental plan if you book before the trip.
They deliver the device to the airport/hotel/office for free the day before your arrival, and include a prepaid envelope for returns.
2. Book a Japan Rail Pass before arrival
Booking the flat-rate foreigner-only Japan Rail Pass, which can be used throughout the extensive JR train network on all four main islands, can save a lot of money for travel by . . . . .”