A. Little to none. Service locations tend to be marked with English signage, and most restaurants include both pictures and English on their menus. Even in other places it’s rare you’ll find yourself completely at sea: the Japanese in general love to try out their English, and while most adults speak only rudimentary “eigo,” younger people are often amazingly fluent. If you’re lost, either look for college-aged folk or just stand there looking lost and someone will probably stop to help. Still, it’s fun to mix in with the locals, so keep a phrase book handy: they get all warm and fuzzy at the least show of desire to use their difficult language, and you’ll feel like a true polyglot the first time you order a curry (“karee”) and don’t get filet of sole (“karei”).
A. Cost of living is nowhere near what those ugly rumors want you to believe. Most of your daily expenses will be for food and drink, and as you’ll see from our Budget Saver Manual, you can make it on less than $10 USD a day. But why not live large and budget for $20? (Word to the wise: unlike convenience stores abroad, Japanese “combini” are brimming with healthy options.)
A. Yes, in supermarkets, convenience stores and most restaurants. That being said, Japan is still a cash-based country so make sure you have some cash on you on a daily basis.
A. Yes. Just as in the US and Europe, Japan’s major metropolitan areas all boast ever-expanding hotspot networks. The public transit system, fast food and café chains, as well as major department and convenience stores almost all offer free WiFi with easy English log on. So, no worries: when you want instantly to share the selfie you just took with passing cosplay maidens in Odaiba, a network is probably just a few steps away. Click on the links below for Tokyo’s comprehensive hotspot guide and Osaka’s WiFi network homepage.
A. None? A ton? It all depends on you and the company you work for. There’s no better way to understand the culture than to learn the language, but if the very thought of that curls your toenails, we’ll make sure to place you in a cozy almost-everyone-speaks-English environment.