Let me tell you about my trip to Russia.
In mid October 2014, I went to the far eastern site of Russia. The trip from Tokyo to Khabarovsk was only an hour and 50 minutes. In other words, you can get from Japan to Europe in less than two hours!
Q: Do people in Russia speak English?
A: I found that few people in Khabarovsk and Vladivostok speak English. I don't think they learn English in School, so only those with a special interest study English. However, if you try to talk to people and ask for directions, most of them try to help you. I think I used my hands more than my mouth to communicate! I guess I look Russian, so many times, people tried to talk to me in Russian. When they realized I couldn't speak Russian, they were a little surprised. They then spoke a few words in English or just walked away. But I think
Q: How is the food?
A: The food isn't bad, but it's not very distinctive, at least not the food I ate. I'm sure there is some really delicious food, but maybe I missed it--too bad.
Q: How do Russians treat foreigners?
A: Under the Soviet Union rule, I think a lot of people were afraid of their neighbors, so I don't think that that Russians are known for being friendly. I'm sure this is because of their difficult history. However, I never felt in danger, and when people could understand me, they were very helpful.
Q: Was it cold in Russia?
A: I think it was about like Hokkaido, so in October, it was not freezing cold, but I needed a heavy jacket. However, in the winter, I think it is very cold. Most of the buildings looked they were designed for winter with thick walls, small entrances, and few windows. This video shows winter in Vladivostok. I think I'd avoid that season.
This video shows what Vladivostok is like in the winter.
I don't think my photos are the best, but I do recommend watching this video. It is well done and easy to understand.