When going to a foreign country, it’s quite common to wonder if you’ll be able to use your appliances, because there’s no way of testing it on your own, right? Well, the answer to this question does depend on which country you’re coming from. If you are from the United States, the answer to this question is…YES! I am from the U.S., and every single appliance that I brought from home (my electric shaver, cell phone, ipod, Sonicare toothbrush) was able to plug right into the wall with no fuss.
However, I did have one issue with a hair trimming device. I plugged it and the device did turn on, but suddenly I heard this extremely loud buzzing noise. I ended up having to go to my local electronics store and buy a small transformer to change the power into a form my trimmer could use. Sucess…for the most part. But I did find that when I use the trimmer for too long, even with the transformer, I have the same problem. So for Americans coming to Japan, you shouldn’t have any trouble with the vast majority of your appliances. But please keep in mind that not all electronic devices are created equal. Just because an item’s plug fits the outlet you’re using doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. You don’t want to fry your appliance’s circuits, right? So in those cases where an item may be doing something weird, like my hair trimmer example, it might be a sign that you need an transformer.
What is the difference between a transform and an adapter? There are many plug shapes and sizes from place to place, and adapters make your plug compatible to that of a foreign country’s. A transformer on the other hand, deals more with changing voltage. Again, you may have a plug that totally fits, but that doesn’t mean the voltages are compatible.
I know I’ve mentioned alot about American appliances because that’s my experience. But what if you’re from another country? Well, I honestly can’t say for sure if your gadgets and gizmos will work because I haven’t tested plugs from other countries. But there is hope. Japan is one of the most wealthiest nations in the world, and when it comes to electronics Japan is second to none. If you’re worried about not being able to use your appliances, rest easy because Japan is home to some of the best electronics stores in the world (dare I say even better than the United States?). If you know what to ask/look for, you can find just about any adapter, transformer, or plug that you’re looking for.
Unfortunately, I’m not an expert when it comes to voltage, cycles, etc., so if in doubt, you may want to consult your local electronics store professional to be certain. Some other resources that may want to consider are wikipedia.com, the mighty google.com, and online forums as well (places to get specific answers to your questions).
Until next time,