Do You Need To Learn The Language?

After my co-worker learned about my travel hobby/obsession/blog, he asked me where I’ve traveled. I rattled off a few places, such as Japan and Austria, and he replied that he’d always wanted to travel overseas but never did because he didn’t speak the language. He asked if it’s possible to visit these places if you are unilingual. I replied with a resounding, “Yes!”

Don’t let the fact that you don’t know the language keep you from visiting a country. Now, I’m not suggesting being a proud idiot and going in expecting everyone in a different nation to speak your language, either. Understand there will be difficulties in communication, which will become greater the farther you explore from the normal tourist areas. These are some of the quaint things you remember about traveling. It’s a good idea to try and learn a few phrases before you go. Things like good morning, good evening, excuse me, please, thank you and the ever important I’m sorry.

Here are a few examples of places we’ve traveled without knowing the language and the memories we have.

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Exploring The Wacky Toilets of Japan, All In One Place!

Joe and I love Japan. I’ve been there 4 times and Joe 3, and we’re looking at 2020 for our 5th/4th visit. Now, if there’s one thing we can count on from Japan, it’s its quirkiness or even, if you’ll forgive us, its weirdness. Cuz really…for every charming thing like Hayao Miyazaki films, or amazingly fun thing like Tokyo Disneyland/Tokyo DisneySea, or gorgeous natural thing like Mt. Fuji, there’s the off-center thing like MXC (Most Extreme Challenge – I LOVE that show), an incinerator that looks like a theme park, or the annual Kanamara Matsuri, also known as the Penis Festival ( <– YouTube link is NSFW). If you haven’t figured it out yet, Joe and I really like off-center stuff (OK, maybe not the Penis Festival so much), which, yeah, plays a part in why we describe YMMV as, “A slightly off-center look at travel, hotel points, frequent flyer miles & other ways to save.”

So when I found out there’s a guy in Japan that has essentially made an art form of photographing quirky/weird public toilets in Japan, let’s just say I wasn’t the least bit surprised…

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