I have always wanted to go to Japan but thought it would be essential to go on an organised tour because of the language differences. Booking a trip to New Zealand I was offered the opportunity of a stopover in Tokyo and thought I'd "go for it". I am so pleased I did and in fact I wish I'd been there longer and I can't wait to return.
My main concerns with visiting Japan were communication, transport and toilets. I needn't have worried about any aspect. Of course I can't speak or read Japanese but I did learn a few basic words and my attempts to use them were very much appreciated by all the extremely friendly Japanese people I met.
Hello konnichi wa
Thank you arigato
A lot of pointing, smiling and gesticulating took place but we managed to communicate with each other.
The transport system in Tokyo is integrated and very efficient but appears overwhelming.
So I come to my third worry - toilets. I had read on the internet about Japanese-style squatting toilets and the associated rules such as changing into slippers to use them. Every public toilet I visited had one or two of these toilets but also Western-style toilets too. In fact they were better than the toilets I am used to. They have warmed seats, built in bidets and even music! Bliss! I couldn't resist taking a picture of the one in the ryokan where I stayed, Ryokan Sawanoya.