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Packing lightly...for a 3 month trip...in Winter?!

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Sep 2nd, 2012, 10:02 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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Packing lightly...for a 3 month trip...in Winter?!

Hello!

I will be traveling to Tokyo from September to December. I will mostly be on campus, commuting via train and urban walks, and coming home to a home-stay family. I did a trial pack last night and could not fit everything in my bag! By a long shot!

Can I have your advice?
1. Average temperatures will range from 80F with high humidity and rain to a cold 40F (though snow flurries are unlikely).

2. Japanese students DRESS UP. Plus, I'm a grad student so things are more professionalized than a tourist experience. On the other end, I'm unsure what kind of "house clothes" I can wear at a home-stay.

3. Since I'm at a homestay and Japanese people do not use resources with the same abandon as Americans, I am doubtful I can wash my clothes too frequently. I'm self conscious about being judged as a sloppy, dirty foreigner haha. Foreigners already stand out a LOT and are judged a LOT (even if with a smile).

tl;dr: I am struggling on how to pack lightly for a broad range of weather conditions and formality levels over a semi-long period. In this circumstance, I will need to look clean and more put together than your average tourist but I might not have easy access to a washing machine.

I was reading this long thread but it is for such a short trip compared to mine:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-in-winter.cfm
CheriPie is offline  
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 03:18 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Students dress In quite a variety of ways. Some dresss up, some wear nothing but sweats. Don't worry too much about dressing up.

Typically, laundry is a daily chore. Everyone I know does one or two loads a day. Machines are smaller and it hangs on the balcony to dry so if it's not done daily it'll pile up.

Layers for cooler weather. Go to Uniqlo and buy some heat tech.
KimJapan is offline  
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Sep 26th, 2012, 02:30 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
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I've been a grad student in Japan. The dress code is nicer than in the US, but not over the top crazy. I'd suggest planning your wardrobe around three or four pairs of slacks or skirts (whichever you prefer). Take a little less than you need and plan to buy some basic sweaters at Uniqlo (the one in Ginza is highly recommended) that you can layer. Once winter really sets in, send home your warmer weather clothes.

The one bulky thing you should consider is a basic suit. You can wear this for anything remotely formal relating to your studies (first meetings with important people, interviews, symposiums, etc.). Everyone else's suit will be black, so go with a dark, conservative color.

Casual clothes at home will vary by family. Remember that if the home is at all traditional you will spend more time on the floor than you do typically. For this reason, I find jeans and short skirts unbearable.

Like KimJapan said, laundry is going to be done every day at your homestay so you can get by with a smaller wardrobe. I know a Japanese woman who moved to the US for grad school with three school appropriate outfits and no plans to buy more. So, you could be safe with just a week's worth of clothes. If you are really desperate, you can always mail order something from the US.
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