Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Books at Narita, and Japanese Currency Exchange

I discovered last week that the new Tsutaya video/book store in Terminal 1 at Narita Airport has a good English-language section of books on Japan. One of the best I've seen, in fact. I picked up You Gotta Have Wa, by Robert Whiting; there were also books on Japanese swords, art, and architecture, to go with guide books and introductory language books (no advanced ones, though). The store is on the check-in level in the recently remodeled mall between the north and south wings, so if you want to check it out as you're coming in to the country, you'll have to work your way upstairs.

By the way, if you're travelling to Japan from the U.S. (say, for QCMC, just to give this posting a dash of quantum computation), change money once you get here, not in the U.S. I brought back some money on this last trip. At SFO (San Francisco), the exchange booths were offering 104 yen/dollar. At Narita, I got 115 yen/dollar, which is as good as you'll get at any bank. Traveller's checks are 2 yen/dollar better than cash. Remember, for the most part, using credit cards (especially American ones, with ever-changing security features) is very iffy outside of major tourist hotels. Mostly you still want to carry cash. Most Post Office ATMs here will accept U.S. ATM cards. I have heard that the exchange rate is good, but I don't have evidence one way or the other.

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