Planning for Safety
For a truly fun and safe trip, the best plan is to have thought through what you might do if a problem develops. That way you are prepared even for unlikely contingencies.
Carefully consider this list of safety tips while living abroad:
Tell someone where you’re going.
When you go out, tell your plans to your host family, dorm staff, or friends. If nobody is around, at least leave a note. If you’ll be away overnight or longer, leave your family, dorm staff, or friends with the name, address, and phone number of your destination. If you plan to be away for three days or more, make sure the student coordinators at KCP have your itinerary.
Don’t travel alone.
If you are making an extended trip, it’s safer (and more enjoyable) to travel with companions. Be sure to plan in advance for long travel, hotel stays, and so on.
Develop street smarts.
In large metropolitan areas, you need to be more aware of your behavior on the street than in small towns or campuses. Be careful in unfamiliar environments. For example:
Ask questions of “safe” persons: shopkeepers, officials, students, or little old ladies.
Don’t put valuables in your backpack. Use a money belt or waist pack (with pouch in front) instead.
Avoid risky areas such as the red-light district.
Keep a low profile and stay alert.
Don’t look for trouble.
If trouble develops in the streets, resist your curiosity, and head in the other direction immediately.
Embassy bulletins, frequently updated, are posted on the main bulletin board. These tell about any current security issues. Be sure to check them.
Guard your passport.
While in Japan, you must always carry either your passport or foreign registration card (zairyu-card) as your official I.D. at all times. But be reluctant to give your passport to other people.
Precautions for Women Travelers
Women have had a long and proud history of travel to all parts of the world. There are clearly adventures to be had, but caution is in order to avoid being hassled and to stay out of potentially dangerous situations. Some of these points apply equally to men.
Don’t stay out alone at night in unfamiliar territory.
Don’t be overly friendly with strangers.
If you are whistled at or receive verbal compliments on the street, try not to take offense, but do move on quickly.
If your intuition tells you a situation is dangerous, you’re probably right. Act as if it is, and protect yourself.
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