I can remember how excited I was when I first came to Japan. I landed in Tokyo and everything was new — new food, new sounds and new people. I have to admit, my excitement was tinged with a bit of anxiety, though. As a woman of color in my homeland of the United States, I've come to realize that my experience in a new place isn't always the one that is reflected in the guide books. I never really know how the locals are going to receive me.

Meeting other women of color here really helped with the anxiety, and, thanks to social media, it's getting easier and easier to make connections. Even if you can't meet them in person, the Facebook groups and Twitter accounts they manage offer enough tips to help us avoid hostile spaces and enjoy what this country has to offer.

Two women who've helped me take part in a fairly niche corner of Japanese pop culture are Instagram users Ebony Bowens and Tynelle Pozdnyakov.