3x. Japan, England and Hong Kong. Athough Japan was really the only one that counts. Latter two, I just flew there alone and I have relatives to stay over with and to take me around.
In Japan, I mostly just plan a general area to visit a day or two ahead and then just wing it. Language barrier was a bit intimidating at first, but after awhile you will figure it out. And lots of facilities and amenities have ample enough English to navigate. Service people for the most part know enough to get you by, as long as you're in the big city and touristy areas.
But I was much more courageous I was then than I am now. Years of not doing much can put you back into the shell.
The truth is strictly what the ones in power perceives it to be.
Enjoy any good things, even the little and menial ones, as you will never know what impending distresses could descend upon you in a moment.