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When you visit any city in the world, you are likely to be quickly overwhelmed by everything that’s going on – especially if you are used to living in a quieter, smaller area. The number of people, the number of buildings and the assault of your senses is enough to put most people off but if you know how to approach a new city, you’ll have a brilliant time.
So, here’s what you need to know.
Learn the Language
There is no better way to get to know a new culture than by learning their language. The nuances of meaning you encounter will likely reveal new ways of thinking and open you up to new ideas and experiences. Even if you only start with a few basic phrases and learn as you go, discovering a new language is a great opportunity and one you shouldn’t pass up lightly.
When you’re going to a major city, it’s useful to have a few key phrases to help you along. Being able to ask for directions is definitely going to be helpful! The only thing to be wary of is using a translation software to help you out as you may make a faux pas or get the wrong meaning. The genki books are great for helping you to learn Japanese.
Eat the Food
If the Dessert Museum in Manila can tell us anything, it is that we are hugely invested in our stomachs and what we put in them. But so many people worry about eating local food – particularly street food – that they can be surrounded by some incredible plates and still end up in a chain they recognise.
To transform a visit to any city, you should give yourself a chance to experience the street food. Yes, you might end up with food poisoning if you pick the wrong van but, choosing the right one is simpler than you might think. Looking at what and where locals are eating is a great recommendation and if you can see the food being cooked in front of you that’s a definite plus. Going veggie and avoiding salad is also a good idea if you are more cautious.
When you are in a new city, the last thing you need is to look up and realise you have no idea where you are. Being lost can be really stressful and yet, getting intentionally lost can reveal a city’s true beauty and character as you move beyond the busy tourist areas. If you want proof that this works, try it in your hometown. You’ll be surprised by what you discover in a place you have lived for a long time and how differently you feel about the place afterwards.
Getting lost in a new city will give you a chance to orientate your mind and give you a natural sense of direction that doesn’t rely on a map. Of course, if you need a backup plan, it’s a good idea to have a number for a local taxi number on hand!