Japan Society As Amusing As It Can Be

Sakura tree

Sakura tree

When we hear the word japan there are certain things which run into our mind like gadgets, cars and shinkansen. There are many things which people living outside Japan may not know and they can be amused by knowing them. So here, I am listing few things which might surprise you but exist only in Japan.I have been here around 4~5 years and I am summarizing my experiences in this post. The points here might be good, bad or neutral, so feel free to comments your own experiences to provide me more output to judge expectation vs reality.So here you go 🙂

Safety: I personally feel that Japan care about the people who are living here.Girls, women are safe, laws are strict so crime rate is very low. Enjoying night life upto any time is good and moving here and there alone is also considerable at any time.

Schooling: Schooling in Japan is very different from other part of the world.For the first few years children are taught manners and before giving them actual subjects. Students are very hardworking, you can see kids wearing school uniform on Saturday and Sunday and doing extracurricular activities(sometime classes on Saturday).Students need to clean their washroom and classes by them self.I asked few of friends and they told me that, in Japan we teach students to live life in tough environment to make kids more stronger with time.

way to fuji

way to fuji

Public services: Public services are one of the best in the world and always on time as per schedule.Trains are bang on time and will give you a delay certificate(yes it’s true you get a certificate !! ) in case the train is late which is very rare.Public services including everything like bank , bus services, post services etc are very arranged and very helpful.Special mention to the toilets which are problem in many countries but here they are ultra clean even in the busiest train station.

Salaryman: New to Japan? then let me explain you, salaryman is the term used by Japanese to define full time working employee.The trademark of salaryman is that they love to wear suit and have drinking party occasionally.Now you might start to think that, what about woman, so woman pronounced as office lady(OL).Salary man is a status symbol, and everybody want to achieve it one time in their career.

Last train buddies: Every Friday and Saturday nights, late night trains are full packed and you can smell wine whiskey beer and all. Some are dwelling here and there and some are just just sitting on the floor.You will always find buddy to talk if you are drunken too.One thing I should appreciate that whether they are sleeping or drunken, they all will get off on correct station.

Jinglish: Japanese people have their own english accent called Jinglish. Some time foreigners too, try to speak Jinglish with locals because here people prefer Japanese for communication. For example God will become Godhoo, Piers will become piasu, love love will become rabu rabu and so on. I am sure that you will like the video shown below, just be sure see upto the end.

Golden week and silver week: This concept you will find only in Japan, that holidays are named as golden and silver.Welcome of cherry blossom with 2~5 days holidays in May is called golden week. In japan there is special period to remember all your ancestor called obon holiday and some time if there is consecutive 2-3 days holidays , it’s called silver week.This year 2016 if you took 2 days paid holidays , you got total 10 days holidays and that’s why  it was called mega golden week by travel services.

shimanami cycling

shimanami cycling

Cycling: If you are health conscious and you are living near by your company in the circle of 2~3 mile then the best way to commute is via riding bicycle. Roads are good and safe. The points you would like to remember while commuting are

 

-Japan has some strict bicycle rule like you can not drink and drive with cycle. 

-Bicycles are a bit inconvenient during winter and rainy days as winters are very cold here and it can rain upto long hours.

 

Everything is oishii: Everything oishii(delicious) even water.When you invite someone on dinner the first word you will hear about your food is oishii and your Japanese is jouzu(excellent). One thing is quite noticeable if you see Japanese TV show, and host who tastes your dish will start praising with oishii, oishii,oishii mecha oishii (tasty, amazing and super delicious).What I feel that they do these thing to motivate people for making good food and foreigner to speak better Japanese which is somehow good.

Food: First time to Japan, get ready to eat most of the dishes with chopsticks like noodles, daily lunch etc. In a Japanese lunch you will find a main course dish, salad and a soup bowl.There are many restaurants and cafes which provide you healthy food with calories written on the menu.If you are eating Chahan(Fried rice), get ready to eat with soup spoon.Parties are super crazy here and the craziest part is that after finishing party, people still want to eat more and they will specially move to ramen shops.

Matcha flavour: Japanese green tea is very famous around the world and here they have even particular days to celebrate tea ceremony with professionals tea presenters. Kyoto and other places can give you opportunity to take part in tea ceremony with the traditional way.You can see macha flavour coffee in Starbucks, biscuits, chocolates and other stuff which people buy for souvenir.

matsuyama castle

matsuyama castle

Social networking services(SNS) lover: Are you already friend with many Japanese on SNS, then you will notice that there are two types of people the first ones, who will never disclose their identity by their original display picture{DP}(always have cartoon character on their DP) and second who are ok with their DP but only on their corporate account.People love replying by emoji smilies in their chat conversation, cartoon characters or by GIF and sometime video describing their emotions.

Japanese Wedding: Thinking to join some Japanese wedding party? then be sure to pay at least 30,000¥~ while getting entry in wedding hall and you must confirm your attendance otherwise no entry.There is a kind of nijikai (second party) where you can join by paying only 10,000¥~ and enjoy the party till late night.

Tourism:  Tourism is one of the big industry in Japan revolving around Fuji, Sakura, Sumo and heritage sites.Fuji is always pride for Japanese people and everybody stop and click Fuji san’s (as it is called in Japan) photos, whether from sky or near by fuji five lakes.Cherry blossom is very beautiful in Japan and people do parties while drinking and talking under sakura tree.Coming to Sumo, the game originated from Japan and is being held round the year. Japan is always a place to see the mixture of rich culture, historical sites and even modernization.

Hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to comments here  🙂skitour

Getting Married In Japan(Expatriate Couple Wedding)

crazy wedding

crazy wedding

Indeed Japan is one of the most ordered place in this world. That’s the advantage, If you are working in Japan –  you should be aware of the busy work schedule, no personal time and minimum leaves. So what if you want to get married and you don’t have time to go your homeland. Well you can call your “to be” to Japan or get their signatures on all the needed documents and wowhoooo without even knowing your status will change from single to double.This may sound crazy.But yes it’s possible here as Japanese know the importance of time.

Note: In this post both bride and groom are not working in their home country. Bride is working in Japan with 1 year work permit and groom is in some other part of the world.

So, first and foremost  you need to contact your city office. I will outline the basic procedure but it may vary little depending on your city office. You will need the following documents. All the procedures are same for all nationality but I am describing below my situation as an Indian national.

  1. Passport of both parties (Parties means both bride and groom)
  2. Nationality certificate (Contact your country embassy)
  3. Fully filled and Duly signed notification of marriage.
  4. Sarujoshuso. Form 3 & 4 will be in Japanese and would be provided by your city office.
  5. Proof that you are single. This is known as marriage eligibility certificate or singlehood certificate. This should be apostille by the Ministry of External affairs and attested by your nearest Indian embassy(Your home country embassy). It would be better if this document is prepared by your parents and contains their signature as well.
  6. Sworn affidavit – Stating your age + your singlehood status + your intent of marriage that you are mentally stable. This document should also be attested by the Indian embassy(Your home country embassy).
  7. You might also be asked to submit your birth certificate.

Notice: You will need assistance from a Japanese friend in case you don’t understand Japanese. In wedding form you also need signatures of two witnesses so make witness who can sign for you.

Once you have all these documents, duly filled, signed and properly attested, please translate all the Japanese documents to Japanese. You may ask your friends or take help of professional translators such as Saeculii, a bit pricey but no choice if you don’t know Japanese(Help me by commenting for finding cheap and good translation services). You need to contact them by mail and accordingly they will send you their quotation.

All your documents will be ready within a week. After which you may proceed to your city office and submit all your documents. City office will take 2weeks to 3 months to process your document. Once they accept your application you will be considered as married man/woman. They will issue acceptance certificate for which you have to pay nominal fees(300~500¥).

If you are looking forward to add your  spouse’s name in your passport then you have to get your wedding certificate attested by MEA, Japan. You can contact any notary office for this purpose. Then you get this attested by your Indian Embassy.

I hope this information helps to all marriage aspirants in Japan.Please feel free to comment for questions and your own experience 🙂

expatriate wedding

expatriate wedding

Good luck and happy wedding!!

Are you ready for insanity ?? #HappyHalloween

No Idea

No Idea

If it’s October then it means it’s halloween time in Japan and you can feel the vibes in every sign board , cafe menu, shopping mall’s interior decoration and other things all are based on halloween theme.I cross Shibuya crossing everyday (My office route) but it’s completely different during new year countdown and halloween with chill pill cool breeze and yes that fall around always 30th and 31st October. You can see many police vans where someone is announcing in Japanese followed by English using big loud speaker and somehow well known as Dj police among local youngster.

Trump

Trump

When you are thinking about this event then first thing come into mind is costume.You can choose either to buy or rent.For buying costume you can go for Don Quijote and its cheap and the costume is easily available of your choice.There are many weird dresses with different mask and sound, so scary even when you see someone just coming out from trial room next to you.For renting costume there are many places in Shibuya and Shinjuku where you can rent a costume for a day, party basis or hourly basis. If you are thinking to buy some items for household like decoration, you can visit nearby supermarket like Aeon or Ito YOKADO they have many items for home decoration like light items , pumpkin flower and other stuff for children. For small items I have seen DAISO is also filled with halloween garland, pumpkins and mask too. Specially a lot of variety for the kids.

audience

audience

What I heard from many of my friends that 3~5 years ago halloween was not in fashion in Tokyo, it was just a part of clubbing and limited to only few foreigners who love theme parties but now it is growing like big event in Shibuya.Peak time for halloween is around 10:30 ~ 12:00 and the party is still on.Of Course Party is always well behaved as it is in Japan.

Many startup companies started to celebrate halloween party due to international collaboration and offices in overseas. Usually depend on size of company, people book one restaurant or pub based on halloween theme and hold party in salary man style like 19:00 to 22:00 with drinking cracking jokes and some competitions.

Gang of girls

Gang of girls

Insanity is accepted, and mind it more you are insane more you are accepted in halloween. If you love to dress up and cosplay then this festival is for you and if you just want to see come and be a part of mob while clicking pics.

I personally feel that if you really want to enjoy halloween in Japan then just leave the house midnight today(30 Oct) and move to Roppongi. There are many halloween party going on around specially Shibuya and Roppongi  are the main and I am dam sure that you will not get disappoint for the same.

I have been a part of Shibuya halloween mob last year stretching from Shibuya crossing to Dogenzaka, and then bending toward main street. Evening of Shibuya is crowded and you can see people clicking photos with different groups who are just in visit to Tokyo and don’t like get involve in wearing costume. First thing I noticed that many people moving in the crowd are in small groups.People in different groups are with some theme costume or with character costumes like mac Donald staff, skeletons or pirates of Caribbeans. There were some party going on in red and orange bus followed by some neon light motorbikes in Omotesando which was like hell people shouting and whistling and passing comments to each other for there costume.

scary-night

scary-night

If you are thinking to join some club activities in Roppongi or Shibuya to participate in costume competition just check out the events, and then you need to register or buy the ticket in advance as it’s difficult to get ticket on the same day and most of the time out stock. Most of the clubs in Roppongi organize dress competition, live singing and provide best halloween costume prize for the day. Each club has there own halloween day so just follow their line group, twitter account or FB page as they keep posting updates there.People do bar hopping in Roppongi and slowly move to Shibuya in the evening.

If you are thinking to avoid joining a party with big mob, then just attend party in the mid of October. Go to some dance club street parade in Shinjuku, Omotesando, kawasaki and Ikebukuro.Among these kawasaki is oldest name in halloween.Above described places hold halloween party in third weekend of October and it is less crowded than end of the month party.Here is the news for disney fans the Disney-sea  also arrange halloween party throughout October. There are several events and night parade in halloween mood just try to avoid weekend as weekend is really crowded for each attraction and no space to see parade from near by place or might have to wait for 1 hour ~

Regarding to halloween craze in kids, I just remember the October 2015 when I had been a part of volunteering team in english camp. When I asked few kids about halloween most of them knew about that. One thing was so common that everybody was curious to have photo shoot with best costume player and even photo with their favorite character.Overall kids like halloween but not the part of Shibuya and surrounding.

english-camp

english-camp

Yes halloween is growing in Japan and as a foreigner I am quite happy be a part of it where insanity is on peak and work is on rest and now I can say somehow halloween has become fashion here.

Reduce your mobile bill to half #attention #newstudents

tintin facebook phobia

tintin facebook phobia

October and April are the months for new graduates as well as is a period of student admission.Once you are in Japan the first thing you may required, is communication with family and friends in some handful amount of money. Here I am listing few mobile carriers apart from common and giant service providers i.e NTT docomo, Softbank and Au , which provide sim card for you with your own handset or new handset with sim. If you want to purchase sim only, on that case your handset (iOS or android) must be unlocked or sim free for all networks.I hope this information will help new students and people who are looking for some cheap and good mobile plans.

Biglobe

Biglobe provide various monthly plans starting from 2130¥ ~ your limit. You have two options either you buy sim only or you buy sim with mobile.In case, you are buying mobile you have again two options
1- You can pay mobile set price with one time lump-sum amount.
2-  You can pay in 24 months installments.
One thing, I have noticed that while you are buying biglobe mobile online, they ask you about credit card details with mobile number associated with it. So if you remember your mobile number at the time you bought credit card ,then only you can apply online to buy their plans.
Website: http://join.biglobe.ne.jp/mobile
Price range (Sim + Smart Phone): 2130¥ ~

U-mobile

Umobile give you choice between prepaid and postpaid connections. For prepaid connection you can buy from narita airport, some hotels around tokyo or in some convenience store(like mini). If you are planning for postpaid connection you can go for sim which is used either on your existing NTT docomo phone or any unlock simfree phone. For more details you can check you link below.
Website: http://umobile.jp
Price range (Sim + Smart Phone): 1980¥ ~

Nifmo

This is the provider, which I heard from my colleague who was using their service. You can check simulator, which will give you fair idea about your monthly bill with minimum 3Gb data plan. You can go with maximum 10Gb monthly plan with some unlimited call options in just 4500¥. Once you complete 2 years no need to pay for mobile set so , you will pay only 1600¥ per month with 3Gb data.Currently, I am using this service with 5Gb monthly plan which cost me around 3304¥.
Website: http://nifmo.nifty.com
Simulator: http://nifmo.nifty.com/simulator
Price range (Sim + Smart Phone): 2604¥ ~

OCN mobile

I used to think that Ocn is an internet provider, but recently I heard that they sell sim as well as combo(mobile + sim) with competitive price. Ocn is a part of NTT telecom and provide you some selected smartphones with discounted price. Keep eye on their promotional campaign specially for people who use too much calls in a month.
Website: http://service.ocn.ne.jp/mobile  
Price range (Sim + Smart Phone): 2000¥ ~

Iijmio

Iijmio is good name in rental phone and sim for tourists. You can order there sim online using amazon and they too have simulator to check monthly bill.
Website: https://www.iijmio.jp   
Price range (Sim + Smart Phone): 2000¥ ~

UQ mobile

I have been seeing UQ mobile advertisements regularly on trains and youtube. They have some special discount for people who are living in okinawa.
Website: http://uqmobile.jp
Price range (Sim + Smart Phone): 1980¥ ~

Y-mobile

This is the last one, I want to introduce. You can see y-mobile shops in many stations. You can checkout their mobile phones on website and do online shopping for the same. They have 3 plans(S, M, L) with minimum from 2980, they will give you some family and first year discount, but the data limit start from 2Gb instead of 3Gb as other providers.
Website: http://www.ymobile.jp  
Price range (Sim + Smart Phone): 1980¥ ~

Note:  All data plan price range explained above are from 1Gb ~ 3Gb.

Tips

Each service has there toll free number which works on saturday too, so you can call or mail them to get exact idea about your minimum monthly bill. Each provider will give you some discount for first year, while you need to pay for mobile set + monthly data plan for 2 year and after that data plan price only. All above service provider have minimum 2 year contract and you have to pay fine if you break in between.

Prepaid connection

There are numerous provider who serve you prepaid connections. It’s on you whether you want data sim with prepaid connection or simple flip flop phones. Prepaid connection cost you monthly 1000¥ ~ 2000¥ with less formality for 1~2 year contract. You can go for common providers like docomo, au and softbank. Many online services like rakuten and econnect-japan have prepaid option available with wide range of data plans.

Skype number

I think no body need much description, for setting number on skype. You can login with your skype account and manage features section, select Skype Number and follow the instruction to get your own skype number.You can subscribe for 3 ~ 12 months.Once your address and payment are verified, you can start using the number.

Special Tips

All above providers serve you sim only services too, if you have your own unlocked phone or you have bought unlocked mobile phone online (10000¥~). Sim only plan is always cheaper than mobile (1000¥~). Major electronic stores like labi, yodobashi and big camera have sim in there display. All these carrier are cheap if you are completing 2 year contract but can be expensive if you are breaking contract.

nostalgia

nostalgia

 

Looking forward to work or study in Japan ?ようこそ日本へ :)

Japanese Study

Japanese Study

Several time people ask me, that how to approach Japan for study or job. I was having same question few years ago. I am covering this post in two section i.e study and work. Before elaborating, my personal opinion is that if you are thinking to come Japan you should have interest in Japan or Japanese culture. If you are interested in Japanese way of quality working , then it will give you motivation to study Japanese and adapt environment around you.

Study Section

There are plenty of option while you are approaching Japan as a student.

1- Higher Studies(Graduate, Master or Doctorate)  

For higher studies you can apply for scholarship from your home country. There are many scholarships(company sponsored i.e Toyota, panasonic etc, president scholarship and government sponsored)  to come japan for higher studies. There is Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology(MEXT) ,  a common scholarship which I heard from many of my friends. MEXT  provide you scholarship for max 3+ years and session start from October or march.

2- Japanese Language Course

You can apply MEXT for Japanese language course too and for that you still need basic  knowledge of Japanese language. There are many private institutes in Japan which provide student visa if you are joining language course for 6 months + for pre-college studies. Osaka, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Okinawa, Nagoya and Hokkaido is the place where you can choose based on your interest and cost of living. Cost of living in Tokyo and Osaka is higher than others. Once you have conversational Japanese you can do part time job too (28 hrs in a week)

Job Hunting Section

Get set ready to read each advertisement and followup for the same, and you are about to get opportunity in job interviews.

1- Working holiday visa

You can engage in work  for the purpose of supplementing your travel funds. There are only few nationalities which are allowed to do work on holidays in Japan.You can check the link for more details ( work holiday links )

2- Online Job Hunting

Nowadays many companies allow applicants to have Skype interview. You can apply online through company homepage,  job consultant and online job hunting websites.Once you are hired they will sponsor visa for you.

3- Tourist Visa

You, can come Japan on tourist visa and give interview on the same time.You can not convert your travel visa to working visa. If you have job offer, then your company can apply work permit for you(Certificate of eligibility(COE)).Once  you get COE, visit Japan embassy in your country to get entry permit and be ready for your landing in Japan.

4- Short time Japanese  language course (Tourist visa)

If you want to brush up your Japanese while staying in japan as a tourist, you can join short term Japanese language course(3 months) and give interview on the same time. There are weekend startup meet-up too, where you will get opportunity to sharpen your skills.

5- Internship 

Many of the company provide internship for 6 months to 1 year.Internship give you opportunity to understand Japanese market and help you to upgrade your skills as per market need. If you are good at work and there is a vacancy in the company, further they can offer you long term employee position for the same.

Special note:

You can register for Japanese language class online from your home country and join once you are in Japan. Institute will never change your visa type until unless you enter in 6+month course.

Shibuya Hachiko and Tokyo Station

Shibuya Hachiko and Tokyo Station

In both sections which I explained above need at least conversational level Japanese to broaden your way for Job hunting and Higher Studies. Better to research Japanese job market and list up companies which are ok with beginner Japanese level skills and business level english during work.

 

Remittance Services In Japan

nomadicpigy

nomadicpigy

In many groups, people are continuously asking about remittance system and providers in japan. Here I am going to introduce few of remittance companies which are used by me or in friend circle 😛

UAE Exchange

Few days ago, I sent money  via UAE Exchange, recently established remittance company based in shibuya tokyo. If you are interested to send money via them,  you need to register first by sending registration form with multiple beneficiary accounts details. It take around 2-3 days. Once you are registered, you can send money any time just letting them your customer id, amount  details and beneficiary name. In your welcome kit there is accounts number of UAE exchange, you have to deposit money in that account after that they will send money to the beneficiary which you will mail them.One thing I have noticed that they are quick responsive to your mail and have smooth remittance process. They will give you better rates if you are sending more than 50,0000¥ in a single transaction.

Note: First time remittance by each customer has service fee is 0¥(Promotional events on most of the time).
Website: They have website but not specific to japan yet (http://www.uaeexchange.com)
Email: customer.care@jp.uaeexchange.com
Telephone:  03-5354-5584

Brastel remit

This was the first company which I used for remittance and still using it. Registration for brastel is very simple, all the process  i.e. form filling, identity documents and multiple beneficiaries details are online on there website. Once they will verify your documents they will send you online user id ,password and dedicated account to each beneficiary. Now you can start sending money without any issue. You need to deposit money to dedicated account shown on your online user information(Brastel provide their own account number for depositing money connected with individual beneficiary) and they will automatically send money to respected beneficiary.  They give you more special rates if you are using brastel calling cards.

Website: http://brastelremit.jp
Email: imt@brastel.co.jp
Telephone: 03-6869-4851

SBI  Remit

Few years ago , I had opportunity to used this service. Exchange rates are quite competitive and registration process is very smoother, somehow similar to brastel remit. They usually contact via email for transfer and other type of communication like your account activation or delivery of  your welcome kit etc. Using this service you can find good rates in asian countries vietnam, Philippine, India etc.

Website: https://www.remit.co.jp
Email: mail@remit.co.jp
Telephone: 03-5652-6759

Kyodai Remit

I never used this service but many of my friends are using this service and they found good exchange rates and easy to process. You just need to submit your identity documents with current address as well as beneficiary details via post. Kyodai will provide you one post bank card and you can start sending money by using postbank card. Kyodai has many shops in tokyo so you can go there and do whole process manually too in the presence of representative.

Website: http://kyodairemittance.com
Email: info@kyodai.co.jp
Telephone: 03-6869-6003

Bank of India(BOI) & State bank of India(SBI)

We can send money using remittance service provided by the bank shown above but rates are a bit different than the above mentioned remittance services. You can open NRI/NRE account in India from here with BOI while SBI is under process this scheme. You don’t need to go to bank by person instead you can perform all process using email communication. Services are good and always welcoming.

Website: http://www.boijapan.com/  and  http://sbijapan.com/
Email: boitok@gol.com and  admin.tokyo@statebank.com
Telephone: 03-3212-0911 and 03-3517-3711

Special Tips – if you want to send money, then call or email for asking current rates to above remittance institutes and send with best exchange rates.Apart from above mentioned other banks also provide online remittance services by just registering with beneficiary details.

Blog Disclaimers: I am writing pros and cons of remittance of the company based on my my experiences and other people view whome I know, so it’s not related to any promotional event or defaming any company.If some company has issue with my post please leave me a message on my mail.