What To Pack
What Should I Bring? A positive attitude, a cheerful personality, an enthusiasm to teach, an eagerness to learn and . . . . . . A Few Other Ideas To Help You Pack
A-LIST: Passport Airline tickets*?(will be sent to you later from Gateway in L.A.) These two are the only items you will not survive forgetting. Do not pack your passport in your suitcase. Or other valuable items for that matter. *It is most likely your tickets will be “e-tickets” in which case Gateway will only email you the confirmation number for check in. You will not need a visa to enter Japan if you have an American* passport. If you are a citizen of another country* notify us right away to see if you need a visa – unless we have already been in communication regarding the visa.?On the airplane you will receive a visa waiver form to fill out for immigrations. Pocket money $300-$500 is usually enough if you are thrifty, but not if you are thinking of doing lots of shopping. You may want to bring part of your money in traveler’s checks, which are redeemable if lost, but also bring some Japanese cash as you will need to get to a bank to cash traveler’s checks or exchange U.S. currency. Avoid exchanging money at U.S. airports – their rates are usually terrible! ATM machines are available in the cities for major credit cards and debit cards. Health Insurance Verification If your health insurance does not cover you overseas, you will need a special travel policy. Most clinics here will not bill directly to overseas agencies, so you are likely to need to pay in cash and file the insurance claim when you return. Most fees are reasonable compared to the states and on the chance you need a large amount of cash to cover the fee, we can loan the money in lieu of the insurance claim. For more information on health insurance, click here.
CAMP WEAR: Camp fashion is very casual. T-shirts, shorts or whatever you find comfortable. There are washing machines at most of the camp facilities but it is best to plan on a 6-day change of clothes so you will not have to bother with washing at camp sessions. While we are not very strict about a dress-code at camp, please avoid clothing that may cause our Japanese campers difficulty in concentrating on their studies. You will receive two nifty camp t-shirts, but we will not wear them everyday.
FOOT WEAR: As is the Japanese custom, some camp facilities require us to take off our shoes before entering. These facilities usually provide indoor slippers, but I highly recommend you bring your own slippers or a pair of sandals to be worn indoors only. Also, we will often do activities in the gym, where shoes that are worn outdoors are prohibited, so a clean pair of athletic shoes will be nice. Finally, since you are constantly taking your shoes on and off in Japan, something easy to get in and out of would be best for your everyday use.
AT CAMP: Sun glasses Extra prescription glasses a/o contact lenses Sun block Towel(s), wash cloth Mosquito repellent A water bottle A fold-up umbrella or rain jacket Flashlight Toothpaste, shampoo, bar soap, etc Necessary medicines or vitamins
NOTE: The voltage here is 100v. Small appliances, such as hair dryers and electric razors, from America will work fine at that voltage and not require a voltage converter.
NOTE: You may, however, want to bring a 3-2 adapter for your laptop, etc. 3-prong plugs are rare in Japan. AT
THE HOST FAMILY: At least one outfit suitable for a nice occasion, in case the need occurs. You don’t need to bring any formal attire, but something that would not embarrass your own mom at a nice restaurant, church, etc. You may also get a chance for a dip in the ocean –a swimsuit could come in handy.
A PRESENT FOR YOUR HOST FAMILY: Bringing a gift when visiting a home in Japan is a common custom and please keep in mind that all of the host families have volunteered for this program. You need not spend a great deal of money but your thoughtfulness will make a positive first impression. It is the thought that counts!
CANDY, STICKERS, ETC.: Over the years it has been common for counselors to bring extra things for the program. At some school orientations you may have heard it is expected. It is not. That is a rumor that was started by ex-counselors. With that said, if you want to bring extra items for campers, it will go to good use. Bringing personal photographs is also quite fun for showing your campers.
FINAL IMPORTANT WARNING/RECOMMENDATION: Pack as light as possible! I have never had a counselor tell me, “I wish I had packed more clothes.” You are likely to be faced with all types of challenging transports with your luggage and those heavy suitcases with wheels are not so convenient when faced with stairs, hills and crowded trains or buses. My hero was the 90 pound female counselor who came and left with everything carried on her back last year. That is the way to go!