**OPTION TO TRAVEL FOR PART OF THE TRIP IS AVAILABLE**
BEFORE THE TRIP
What part of my passport do I send to you?
Copy/scan/photograph of the first page (the one with your picture on it). Email this to firstname.lastname@example.org! If you don’t have a scanner, you can take a photo with a smartphone and send that. This will be due May 10.
How can I get in touch with other delegates before the trip?
We will create a Facebook page in May after the application closes! If the group is small (<4 people), there will be an e-mail chain sent out by Ann!
What are some good reading materials on travel for the trip
A few web resources are:
Engaging Books to read before/during/after the trip:
- Jeju Island: Reaching to the Core of Beauty
- Southern Exposure: Modern Japanese Literature from Okinawa
- Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II
- The Comfort Women: Japan's Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War
- Accidental Activists: Victim Movements and Government Accountability in Japan and South Korea
Do we need any special vaccinations or immunizations? What if we get sick?
No inoculations are required for travel, but health insurance is encouraged. The health system is good, so you will be well taken care of in case of an emergency.
What should we wear/pack?
The weather varies from about 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit in May in Jeju, 70-80 degrees in Seoul, and 80-90 degrees in June for Okinawa. Bring a light sweater for the evenings, a durable rain jacket, and your best walking/traveling shoes. Bring at least one set of nice clothes for high-level meetings -- no need to be very professional, but just wear something presentable. Most of the time we can be very informal. There's no dress code. Additionally, some people in Japan and South Korea still have taboos of tattoos, though this shouldn't affect your trip in any way, it is important to know!
Some things to remember or consider packing:
- Any medication you use; aspirin, pepto bismol/immodium just in case!
- Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste
- Sun-hat, visor, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Mosquito repellent!
- Day pack
- Ear plugs (in case you are a light sleeper and your roommate snores)
- Pink! :)
What will we need money for? How much should we bring?
You will need money for meals each day, bottled water, other beverages, private excursions, and optional cultural activities separate from the group. You might also need money for taxis if you go off on your own. Bring a minimum of $300.
Should we bring gifts or presents for the people we meet?
It's always nice to have something to give to people you meet or even for the folks in the hotels. In Japan and South Korea, gift giving is part of culture! Some suggestions are small items such as chocolate, cookies, misc. useful pink items such as bandannas, hand towels, etc. Try not to go over your baggage weight limit!
Emergency contact numbers (more to come):
*From outside the US, add 01 at the beginning in Japan
Can I arrive early or stay after the tour? Can I stay for part of the trip?
Please email email@example.com for more specific questions.
Where do we meet at the airport?
Ann will send out this info soon!
Will there be an orientation?
The official orientation will take place once we arrive in Seoul; however there will be plenty of time to meet and start getting to know each other while we wait at the airport. We will also give you a brief orientation in the airport.
Where do I get my ticket?
Ann and Alice will come up with a list of flights.
What documents do I need with bring with me?
DOCUMENTS NEEDED TO GET ON FLIGHT: You MUST have your valid passport, your plane ticket, emergency info, and any medication/insurance cards that will be useful to you on the trip!
What happens if I miss a flight?
We will try to get you on a flight the next day, but be prepared to pay around $150-$200, but we can't be sure what the actual cost will be.
What about luggage on the flight?
Largely depends on airlines but generally don't pack more than 50 lbs. If you want to travel with zero baggage fees, you may bring a carry-on bag less than 20 pounds and one personal item (ie. backpack or purse). Remember thinks of needs and what will fit going there and coming back!
ACCOMMODATIONS AND LOGISTICS
When will we exchange currency?
When we arrive, 10-20 people will be allowed to exchange money at the airport counter before you exit. Remember, they don't have many people working there so it's not a good idea to crowd them. Don't panic about exchanging money, there are plenty of places to do so in the city, including the hotel lobbies!
What is the name of the places we are staying?
*Ann will provide information
When will I find out who my roommate is?
You will be contacted by Alice as soon as the logistics are worked out with the travel company. We appreciate your patience.
What are the internet options?
Most hotels have computer, internet, and email access there is sometimes a fee for its use. South Korea is more wifi friendly though in both Japan and South Korea some cafes and fancier hotels will have wifi that you can use.
How do meals work?
Two meals a day are included in the cost of the trip-- most of the time it's breakfast and lunch. We will also give you a list of private restaurants and recommendations for dinner.
What about folks with special dietary needs?
If you have strong dietary restrictions, we recommend that you bring along packaged trail mix, power bars, or whatever packaged foods meet your particular dietary needs to supplement your daily nutritional needs. Although they do their best to accommodate vegetarians, soy sauce and other Asian foods have gluten. If you are vegan or have other food allergies, please take the necessary precautions to ensure that your dietary needs will be met each day.
GENERAL TRIP QUESTIONS
What is the exchange rate?
100 US Dollar equals 10801.50 Japanese Yen. 100 US Dollar equals 115781.50 South Korean Won as of 4/7. The best places to exchange currency is at the airport (it is cheapest there and convenient!). Remember, we won't have many places to stop and take out money so be prepared!
What is the electrical voltage and what plugs do they use?
Same as American plugs! Voltage is usually 110, like in the US. All iPhones, iPads, and laptops use now up to 240 volts, the main problem is hairdryers. But some of the plugs are the old-fashioned 2-prong outlets so you might want to bring an adapter plug (3-prong to 2-prong).
What is recommended for tipping?
Don't tip it can be considered rude! More info here.
Will all the meetings be translated?
Yes, everything will be translated to English.
Can we use our cell phones?
This depends on your carrier so ask them first.
Can we use credit cards?
*Ann will provide information
What can you bring back?
*Ann will provide information
Is there much theft?
While Japan and South Korea have very honest morals it is important to always keep your belongings closely with you. Please take extra precautions, as you would during international travel anywhere. A money belt, worn under clothing, is the recommended option for carrying your valuables during travel.
Can we go off on our own?
Yes, you don't have to attend every meeting. Given the size of the group, we hope that you will journey with us to all of our meetings but there will be some time to take breaks and do some self restoration. Just let one of the trip leaders know.
Will we get to go to the beach?
You will definitely be near waters and beaches in Okinawa and Jeju! Known for the beautiful scenery, coral reefs, and wildlife Okinawa and Jeju need to have witnesses for its beauty! As the bases on Jeju and Okinawa directly affect the environment it is key that we show our support.
Program Cost Includes:
Program Cost does not include:
- Travel to Seoul, South Korea, Japan
- Airport taxes
- Meals / Drinks
- Personal items/expenses
- Optional/evening activities and/or unscheduled activities
Be patient and flexible: Traveling in any group presents challenging, and this is especially true when spending so much time together. Number one requirement to make this a great experience is PATIENCE (something difficult for many of us!). Number two requirement is FLEXIBILITY. Plans change at the last minute. Speakers don’t show up. Buses break down. Shit happens. Make the best of these snafus by making new friends in the group, leading us in song, telling jokes. Have fun and bring up the spirits of the others, especially the grumpy ones!
Be courteous: Please be courteous to your fellow participants, our country hosts, guides, translators, waiters and hotel staff and those who choose to make presentations to our group. If a difficult situation should arise, try to think in terms of how you, as a member of the group, can contribute to a solution.
Respect and help the trip leaders: All of the trip leaders, both in the US and abroad, have been working very hard to put this trip together, and will be working REALLY hard during the trip. Many of the US trip leaders are not only volunteers, but have actually paid their own way!!! Please give all the trip leaders thanks, encouragement and assistance.
For reasons of safety or for the interest of the group, there may also be times when the group leaders will advise against a particular action. Please respect their request.
Punctuality: Please try to be at our meeting places on time. Being mindful about punctuality will ensure that the group isn’t late and/or you won’t be inadvertently left behind. If you miss an event you signed up for because you were late, take it as an opportunity to do something else!
Politics: Please remember that we are guests and in a different culture from that of the US, with a different (although intertwined) history. It is best to approach each new situation with an open mind. You’re there to learn.
There are different political realities in Japan and South Korea. During this trip, you'll be hearing from some amazing speakers and note that some of your best information about everyday life in Japan/South Korea/Jeju/Okinawa can come from interactions with your guides, the informal evening sessions, and conversations you might strike up with people on the street.
Press work: We would appreciate you contacting your local press both before and after your trip. We’ll be sending you a sample press release you can use.
Once in South Korea/Japan take photos that capture your experience and try to keep a diary so that you can speak and/or write articles when you return. We encourage all of you to share your experiences through social media, writing articles/op-eds, seeking to be interviewed in your local press, setting up talks at your community center/place of workshop/workplace.
Will there be documentation of the trip?
Parts of the trip will be videotaped, such as important guest speakers, but the entire trip will not be video documented due to the costs. We encourage participants to share their best photos and videos. You can add your photos to our flickr account, and also check out pictures from the last trip. You can also use the Facebook page to share videos.